DALLAS — With a nation divided, roughly 78 million to 71 million by the latest count over the election of President Joe Biden, there is at least one thing we can all agree on: a children's book about the the president's dogs is already a best seller.
"It was on the Saturday morning he was declared the winner," Seattle-based author and playwright Joy McCullough said. "I was so happy and felt like celebrating."
The author of several books and stage plays celebrates by writing. Only this time, her idea was for a children's picture book based on the story of President Biden's German Shepherd dogs Champ and Major.
Major is now the first shelter dog to call the White House home. The Bidens fostered the dog through the Delaware Humane Association, and adopted the dog two years ago.
"Picture books usually take about two to three years from the time the publisher buys them to when they come out," said McCullough.
But this time her book "Champ and Major: First Dogs" was ready in just two weeks, thanks in large part to the rapid artwork of Sheyda Abvadi Best.
Released to coincide with the inauguration, the book is already a best seller.
"People are just so excited for a change right now," McCullough said. "They are excited for some hope, you know, and brightness. And I think there's nothing more positive than dogs."
Some of her other works, including her debut novel Blood Water Paint, carry much darker and more difficult themes. But this children's picture book was a welcome diversion.
"There is so much darkness," in the world right now, she said. "It's nice to have dogs, or whatever it is, you know, that brings you joy."
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, WFAA's Kevin Reece has known Joy McCullough for a very long time. A couple decades, or three or so, ago she was the flower girl at his wedding.
"I don't know with my hair if people will believe that I am young enough to have been your flower girl," she laughed, sweeping her salt and pepper hair over her shoulder.
But now the established author and playwright has a much, much better and more legitimate claim to fame: a best-selling book, not intended to be political, but just to carry a simple message.
"That when you bring a rescue dog into your home, you are showing compassion and love for somebody who needs a home," she said. "And so, bringing that into the White House is kind of symbolic for the welcoming and hopefully loving attitude that this administration will bring to the country."
"But more simply, it's about dogs moving into a new home and being excited to be there. And hope in a new chapter," she said.
A new chapter that a nation of dog lovers, ordering the children's picture book in record numbers, is clearly celebrating too.