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The Bear Facts

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Author Sean McKenna’s Daughter Wanted Bear Stories So He Made Up His Own - The Bear and the Hare

By Michael Heath /

Sean Mckenna knew he had a fruitful imagination so when his toddler daughter was specific about hearing bear stories before going to bed, he created his own. She so loved the tales that he wrote them down. A year later he took the writing and attempted to create a children’s book by matching up the words to his own illustrations. It was not long before the author realized that if weaving a children’s tale was a strength, illustrating a book was, well … another story.

Call It Serendipity

Friends of the author knew he had a book in mind but needed a collaborator. At an evening party, he was introduced to illustrator/art teacher Whitney Burns. Intrigued by the project, she offered to provide some sample drawings. Sean loved the work so much that he queried dozens of publishers. Some admired the work but informed Sean of the difficulty in entering the traditional children’s book publishing world without a track record or celebrity name. One executive suggested they do a series. If successful, it could create a bigger interest with children’s book sellers.

Self-Publishing Became the Solution

With no luck in partnering with a traditional publisher, the author/illustrator team self-published The Bear and the Hare to rave reviews. Local parents and children alike were enamored by the artwork and story that evoked emotions through an important message. They went on the road to do book fairs and craft shows where people who perused the book tended to make a purchase. Even some local bookstores stocked it.

A Book Becomes a Series

With such positive feedback two more books were produced: The Moose and the Goose and the Loon and the Balloon. Sean and Whitney enjoyed the same successes as the first title using similar marketing efforts. Sean’s wife is now encouraging him to write a fourth book. He has an idea for it that he is keeping a secret. No doubt there are many parents and kids out there who want to see this series continue.

Any of the McKenna/Burns books can be ordered from:

For a signed copy contact Sean directly at:

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