Duck Dynasty's Miss Kay, the matriarch of the Robertson family, released her first children's book this week, with D Is for Duck Calls, which takes children on a journey through the alphabet as they learn about the world of Duck Commander.
Some women grow up dreaming about becoming a noted author, but Miss Kay never had the desire or the belief that she'd one day author not only one book but three, among them being a children's book. But when she talks about the fond memories she has of her childhood library in Ida, Louisiana, and the library she created for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren at her home, it's easy to see how it is that Miss Kay has added children's book author to her ever-growing list of titles.
"When I was a little girl I hung out at the town library. I came from a town of 250 people. We only had maybe four buildings that we considered in the town and one red light. So that little library was one of my favorite places to hang out. I loved it," Miss Kay shared with The Christian Post in a recent interview.
"I always loved books, and I took my children and grandchildren to the library. But then I decided to create a library for the children, grandchildren and the great-grandchildren by transforming the blue house, which used to be the office for Duck Commander before Willie moved it, into a library. And they love it," she said. "They think all grandmothers have a library, but of course, I try to explain to them that they don't."
Miss Kay told CP that she never thought she'd pen a book, even though she loves children's books and maintains a collection of them for her family.
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While sharing her passion for books, Miss Kay commented that she'd like to meet fellow book ladies former First Lady Laura Bush, who was a librarian and is the co-founder of the annual National Book Festival, as well as Dolly Parton, who has donated books to hundreds of thousands of children through her Imagination Library program.
"That's one of the neatest things I've ever heard of in my life," Miss Kay commented about Parton's book program that delivers free books to children's homes. "If you have enthusiasm for books, you can pass that down. There's just nothing better in this world to me than that. And I love illustrations, I love words, I love everything about children's books. I always have."
Miss Kay's book, which teaches children the alphabet by illustrating events from episodes of "Duck Dynasty" as well as the people she holds dear in her life — her relationship with God, family and neighbors — also reflects her family's patriotism.
The book starts off showing Miss Kay in a classroom surrounded by children, all of whom are looking up at the U.S. flag as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
"We love and support the military," she said. "And we know that we live in a nation that people have given their lives for, or we wouldn't have the freedom that we have. My children, and most of my grandchildren, have gone to third world countries on mission trips, and they know what we have here in America, and they appreciate it."
She continued: "Last summer Willie and Jep got to go on a USO tour and represent us, make the troops laugh, and to also tell them about our family and about the Lord and all the things we talk about — I've never been so proud of them in my whole life."
As Miss Kay spoke about her children and the enjoyment that's derived when parents and grandparents read to their families, she shared a personal anecdote to illustrate the educational benefits of reading.
"There's closeness and a bond that forms when you read to children, and it also helps them in school. Jessica and Jep's oldest daughter, Lily, had a little bit of a speech problem. My niece, Melissa, who's a speech pathologist, was going to work with her on speech, and she said, 'Aunt Kay, if you will just read and read and read that's going to make my job easier.' I didn't know that, so I read and I read."
"Finally, Melissa said, 'Aunt Kay, I love that you read with Lily and you're really helping her, but Lily has to tell the stories back, and I'm so tired of animal stories. Do you read anything other than stories about animals? You know I'm not that much of an animal lover.' And I said, 'But I am. So if I select the books that's what they're going to be.' And she said, 'OK.'"
In her book, Miss Kay writes about her dogs, ducks, deer and opossums, but the animal that children ask her about the most is the alligator that almost bit her son, Willie, who was trying to coax the reptile off the Robertsons' property while his mom cooked a pot of gumbo outside.
But they also want to know about Uncle Si.
"They always want to know if Uncle Si is really as crazy as he is on TV; and I always say, 'No, he's crazier than he is on TV.' And they get a big laugh at that. They also ask about Bobo and Jay-Jay," she added.
Her greatest joy in writing D Is for Duck Calls, she said, is seeing that it's a "perfect representation" of her family, and knowing that it will enable children to learn more about the Robertsons through the enjoyment of reading.
"They can have fun, they can laugh. … Every illustration, every word, is just true Robertson. It couldn't be stated better and the pictures couldn't be prettier. It's just like us. And that's what I love and am proud of the most."