Karla Lee Zemler was inspired by Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she would run for the White House to create book Hillary Goes to the White House. “I’m passionate about politics,” Zemler says. “And I’m passionate about kids.”

How do those intersect? The Hillary in the title isn’t the current secretary of state (at least not directly), but Zemler’s cocker spaniel in this children’s book about “pawliticks.”

Zemler, a new author and dog lover, is also a Dallas psychotherapist and openly gay. As much as she enjoys children, she’s mostly been meeting their grandparents who’ve been buying her book at events like the Texas Library Convention and last week’s Dog Bowl at the Cotton Bowl.

“The book is something someone would want to share with their kids,” she says. “You pick it up and it reminds you of the 10-year-old inside who believes anything is possible.”

Of course, neither Hillary made it to the White House, but Zemler says that’s the lesson. While Clinton’s campaign  for the presidency was the inspiration, the book is politically neutral. Hillary, the cocker, is called a yellow dog, but she doesn’t understand the term because she’s chocolate and white.
“And every vote counts,” Zemler says.

Zemler calls voting “the great equalizer.” No matter who you are, each person gets one vote that counts the same as every other vote. “For kids, it’s so disappointing when you get a ‘no,’” she says.

But Hillary can explain it.  After getting a “no,” she said it’s important to teach children to step back and learn a lesson.

“Things do not always turn out the way we expect, but that’s OK,” she shows, with photos of the cocker barking up the wrong tree. Maybe that’s the point

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 11, 2012.