Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 8-8-11 |

Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 8-8-11

I don’t know about you, but when I was little, I made myself a bucket list. One day on the school bus, I spent the drive home pondering about life’s big meaning and creating a to-do list that would capture some of life’s most. Of course, I added the obvious ones to the list first – skydiving, bungee jump and ride in a hot air balloon. Then I added more meaningful ones – go to college, study abroad, fall in love, get married, have babies, and buy a house on a hill, with a white picket fence and rolling pastures in the back yard. Yes, I was specific. The list ended up being pages long, and I’m surprised at age 23 how many I have checked off the list. And, although I won’t be skydiving anytime soon, I recently completed one goal that I’m particularly excited to share with all of you through this column.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Not just a columnist or a journalist, but a published author. That dream came true last week for me as I published my first children’s book titled, “Levi’s Lost Calf.” The book, (ISBN 1463514425), was released July 29, 2011, and it offers young readers a glimpse of life on a working cattle ranch.

Here’s a sneak peak at the plot: When a young boy, Levi, rides out one autumn morning with his family to roundup the cattle and bring them home from the pasture, he quickly sees a number of familiar faces. But, Levi was surprised to learn that one calf was missing – Little Red, his favorite red heifer calf. Determined to find the calf and prove his independence, he begins to search with his horse Pepper and trusty dog Gus. The trio search high and low, all over the ranch. They examine the barn, the grain bin, the corn field and many more places you would imagine a calf might hide. In his hunt for Little Red, Levi discovers a whole world of fun, playful animals living on the ranch, and Levi invites the reader to help solve the mystery and find the baby calf before the sun goes down.

In a time where today’s consumers are three generations removed from the family farm, this book introduces kids to ranchers who serve as stewards of the land and the caregivers to the many animals. Readers will get to experience a real-life cowboy adventure, complete with horses, cattle and a new understanding for where our food comes from. Parents will enjoy the positive message of the book and might be reminded of the good old days when they may have visited Grandpa’s farm.

The book features original illustrations by fellow cattle rancher and farm wife, Michelle Weber. The book is intended to inform and entertain young readers while helping them to understand what life is like on a cattle ranch. The book also features a kid-friendly recipe for my “Hungry Cowboy Tin Foil Dinner and Dessert,” along with a glossary to help explain ranch terminology.

I’m so proud to announce that after months in the making, my new book, “Levi’s Lost Calf” is now available through me e-store, The book will also be available through other channels such as Amazon later this summer. You can learn more about the project and the cowgirls behind the book on Facebook at “Levi’s Lost Calf by Amanda Radke and Michelle Weber.”

Now, that I’ve crossed this off my bucket list, I can once again focus on what the real aim of this project has always been – to educate moms, kids, families, teachers, the media and consumers about who we are as farmers and ranchers and what we do on a daily basis to raise a safe product. I will be actively involved in sharing this message in schools across the country this year, and “Levi’s Lost Calf,” is going to help me to do just that. Check out the book and let me know what you think!

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