Chicago 7-year-old wins Book of the Year award for story about the family dog

Maura Lane is taking her new fame in stride but shyly admits the attention sometimes feels a little weird. Already an award-winning author at age 7, Maura is busy with book signings and appearances, her writing and, of course, playing with her dog, Sabu.

The Chicago girl’s book, Sabu& Me, is catching on in a big way. It was recently named Creative Child Magazine’s “Book of the Year” for 2010 in the children’s picture book category and is now at Barnes& Noble stores and online at amazon.com and borders.com. Written for little kids and early readers, Maura tells the story of her early memories with Sabu, the family dog adopted from a shelter.

Her dad, Jeff, remembers Sabu really wanted nothing to do with the baby when he and his wife brought Maura home from the hospital, but he’s watched the pair become inseparable.

Maura, who is always writing and drawing, decided to write a book about their story. She also decided she wanted to donate proceeds from the book to PAWS, a no-kill animal shelter in Chicago, to help other animals. She visits PAWS about once every six weeks.

Maura is already working on the plot of her next book, Sabu& Friends, in which Sabu teaches a “crazy”-acting golden retriever named Lizzy how to behave properly so the other dogs will play with her.

Why did you want to help PAWS? “I love the animals there. I love my dog. How come I can’t love the other animals?”

What do you want other kids to know about you and Sabu? “I love my dog.”

What else do you do for fun? “Write stories and play with my dog and my friends.”

Have you read the book to Sabu? “No.”

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