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Quick Q with a Creative: Josie Safir

Nathan Safir, Bob Benson and Josie Safir.jpg

Josie (right) wrote the book with help from her brother Nathan (left) and grandfather Bob (middle). 

Josie Safir, a freshman from Overland Park, released a children’s book called “A Special Gift” that she co-wrote with her brother Nathan and grandfather Bob Benson.

A Special GIft

The cover of A Special Gift, written by freshman Josie Safir. The book follows the special bond between a boy and his dog, and through that bond the boy realizes the dog has a special gift. 

I STARTED WRITING [“A SPECIAL GIFT”] WITH MY GRANDFATHER AND BROTHER WHEN I WAS JUST SEVEN – so many years ago. The book itself, it’s about the special bond between a boy and his dog, and through that bond he kind of realized that the dog has a special gift.

I REMEMBER SITTING ON THE COUCH IN MY LIVING ROOM IN MY OLD HOUSE WITH MY BROTHER AND GRANDFATHER. He was just brainstorming topics until we decided on a story about a boy’s special relationship with his dog. I remember just writing down anything that came to mind…then we had to narrow down the idea and string a couple of them together. Anything in the brainstorming stage is good to get on paper. 

WE NOTICED A KIND OF GAP IN THE BOOKS THAT WERE AVAILABLE TO ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN. There are books like “Sally Slid Down the Slide” with really simple sentences for beginners, and then there are chapter books kind of geared towards students with a lot of reading experience. But there’s not really a whole lot of books in that middle range between them. So we set out to write a children’s book with an adventurous and engaging storyline [and] reasonably complex vocabulary that would entice young readers.

WE ALSO HAVE SOME KEY MORALS IN THE STORY because we didn’t want it to just be like a fun and adventurous story. Some of those morals include the power of communication, friendship and diversity.

FROM THE END OF GRADE SCHOOL ALL THE WAY UNTIL I WAS A SENIOR, THE BOOK HAD BEEN WRITTEN. It was always kind of like, “Okay, we’ll get it published one day when everything works out.” Then I was like, “You know what, I want to get this published before I graduate [high school].” So then I finished the drawings and was talking to my grandpa and my brother, and I was like, “Okay, we’re going to do this…a decade later.”

WE NEEDED TO GET IT ILLUSTRATED TO ACTUALLY PUBLISH IT. So when COVID hit, I realized that I had some extra time in quarantine… I said, “You know what, why don’t I digitize all the drawings?” So after a couple months, I finished all the illustrations and it was time to get it published. 

IT’S HONESTLY SO FUN TO HEAR WHEN PEOPLE SAY, “WE ENJOYED THE BOOK.” It just makes me so happy because we put so much work into it. It’s been a decade-long process. Now, it’s finally done, and people can enjoy the book. That’s really what we want – we want little kids to love reading the book. We want them to learn things from reading the book…There might be a sequel on the way.

CHALK Talk graphic

Person 1: This song slaps.

Person 2: Your mom slaps.

Person 1: Thank you, my mom is a kind and wonderful lady.

 Person 1: I’m so sick of alcohol.

Person 2: I don’t know, I’m getting stronger every day. I love it.

Person 1: Do you do the vegan wrap here?

Person 2: We can do the chicken wrap with no cheese?

Person 1: I’ll take the Beyond Burger please. 

Person 1: Oh my God! I feel like I know you somehow…

Person 2: Yeah, we went to high school together. 

Person 1: Oh! *walks off*

Guy 1: Is the black market even real? Has anyone ever been on it?

Guy 2: I tried once but I couldn’t figure out how to get on.

Guy 1: I stayed up until 2 am watching Disney plus

Guy 2: I told my girlfriend I fell asleep but I was actually watching the Mandalorian.

Girl 1: How long have you guys been dating?

Girl 2: Since the summer, well actually for like two years but it’s a long story.

Girl 1: Who are you looking for?

Girl 2: This guy, wait I found him. Fanny pack boy. He flipped off my professor after a test and ran out of the classroom.

Girl 1: How did you choose KU? 

Girl 2: Honestly, I flipped a coin. 

Boy 1: Did I tell you? I think I had a threesome this weekend.

Boy 2: Woah, hold up. You think?

Boy 1: I was born a Phi Delt.

Boy 2: Please don’t ever say that again.

Girl 1: How do you get your boobs to look like that?

Girl 2: I don’t ever wear a bra? I don’t know. 

Girl 1: I just really want a guy to bend me over you know?

Girl 2: How do you know? You’re a virgin!

Guy: Sometimes I wish I could just be a dog and sleep all day. 

Girl: You wake up at like three every day. 

Guy: I know.

Girl: So…

Guy: So does that make me a dog or something?

Girl 1: I wish I was a little bit taller.

Girl 2: I wish I was balder.

Girl 1: I wish I had a...wait, wait, wait balder?

Guy 1: Let’s slap dicks

Guy 2: You ever pee and it feels like throwing up?

Woman 1: *holding baby* He would have been safer at the Hawk

Woman 2: Oh absolutely.

Girl 1: I would never date that guy.

Girl 2: Well, it depends how much money he has.

Girl 1: I’m going to the doctor to see if I have bronchitis before I hook up with him again.

Girl 2: Yeah that’s smart so you don’t give it to anyone else. 

Girl 1: No I mean I want to make sure I infect him.

Guy 1: I'm cutting some of my unnecessary costs, starting with Juuling.

Guy 2: Ight man, good luck.

Guy 1: Actually I might just start chewing

Guy 1: How was work?

Guy 2: My manager was chastising me for not dressing up in a Halloween costume, she doesn’t understand I’m strictly here to get paid.

Guy 1: I am so tired of this week, man

Guy 2: Dude it’s Monday

Guy 1: I know

Person#1: I want to be on the first ship to mars

Person#2: Not me, I doubt they have Wi-Fi

Perons#1: Yeah but at least they’re evolving up there. We’re all just devolving.

Girl 1: Um, I don’t eat pig.

Girl 2: You eat bacon all the time, bitch.

Guy 1: You better get going. 

Guy 2: Yeah, see ya. I’m off to get some Adderall.

Girl 1: Are you home right now?

Girl 2: Yeah, why?

Girl 1: I bought a cat

Girl 1: I just don't understand what fishing is for.

Girl 2: I don't know. Food, maybe?

Guy: I’m just gonna have to like carry an entire box of spiders up the hill tomorrow.

Girl: What?

Guy: Yeah, just like a hundred spiders in a box.

Guy 1: Sometimes ya just gotta give yourself a haircut.

Guy 2: Dude, you shaved half your head. That’s not a haircut, that’s a mess.

Girl 1: Can you eat fruit raw?

Girl 2: How else are you supposed to eat it?

Girl: That class is killing us. ​But they say rest is for the dead.

Guy: Well, at least we'll be rested.

Girl: She's not in class this semester.

Guy: Maybe she's dead.

Girl: Or studying abroad.

Girl: They're like oil and water.

Guy: Wow, you're so good with analogies.