Learn more about Do Unto Otters, the 2015 Michigan Reads!

Otter on a rock

Laurie Keller grew up in Muskegon and have always loved to draw, paint and write stories but had no idea then that she could one day have a career doing those things. That all changed when her friend brought her to a student art show at Kendall College of Art and Design. She was so inspired by the students’ work and excited to learn that there were career opportunities in the art field. Laurie began taking classes the following fall and graduated several years later with a BFA in Illustration. She got a job as a greeting card illustrator at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. One night, while falling asleep, she thought of an idea for a kids’ book. Over the next few weeks she wrote the story and hopped on an airplane to New York City to try to find a publisher. No one seemed interested at the time, but Laurie fell in love with New York so she decided to quit her job, sell her house and move there. Six months later as Lauire was packing her things to move, Christy Ottaviano from Henry Holt and Company, called to tell her that they wanted to publish her story! It was a happy day – one of the happiest in Laurie's life. Christy is now her editor and they have a lot of fun working together. Lauire really liked living in New York City but now she lives back in the “Mitten State” along Lake Michigan.