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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating

Directing Professor

Dr. Claudia Mills


Where there are forests, there are places to be explored and adventures to be had. Somewhere in the intersection of childhood and adulthood, between the safety of adolescence and the wildness of maturation, is my story. In Tailless, I set my shy kid self against the backdrop of a sprawling forest through the character of Twig, the tailless new squirrel in town. The illustrated middle grade animal adventure follows Twig leaning into the wildness of friendship, community, and reaching out beyond one’s safety net. The essay, TAILLESS: An Illustrated Animal Middle Grade Novel That Views the Forest Through the Eyes of One Fearful, Word-Loving Squirrel further delves into the novel’s themes of exploration beyond one’s fears and finding confidence in oneself. By revisiting beloved stories that have influenced Tailless, the essay examines how one’s childhood has profound effects on the concept of self well into adulthood and maturity (so-called maturity, anyway).

Contact Information

Purpose Statement

The purpose of preserving this thesis document is to provide a definitive record of student progress upon completion of the degree. This text will not reflect any revisions to the manuscript made after degree completion. For the most current version of the work, please contact its author.