Not a Cat
A MemoirAuthor Winter Miller Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff ISBN 9780884488798 Binding Trade Cloth Publisher Tilbury House Publishers Publication Date March 01, 2022 Size 216 x 279 mm
Inspired by (some even say dictated by) the adventures of her real—life cat and best friend, debut children's book author Winter Miller's Not A Cat is a funny and affirming picture book that showcases the power of being yourself. Gato's confidence is a fun reminder for children that our identities are ours to choose and that labels don't define who we are.
"People say, 'Gato is like a dog,' or, 'he's like a human!' I simply say, 'Gato is like Gato'. Who are we to decide how a cat should act?," says Miller.
Guided by Danica Novgorodoff's laugh—out—loud illustrations, readers will love following Gato through life as he explores the many sides of his personality and charms everyone along the way.
Children and parents alike will enjoy this joyful celebration of self—empowerment, acceptance, and belonging.
Winter Miller is a playwright who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is a former journalist who has worked in the editorial department of the New York Times, the newsroom of Fox News, and at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, and in anthologies edited by Eve Ensler, J. Courtney Sullivan and Courtney Martin, and Lizzie Skurnick. Winter and her work have been profiled in The New Yorker, Bomb, New York Magazine, and on NPR's Brian Lehrer Show and All of It with Alison Stewart. A graduate of Smith College, she holds a master's degree from Columbia University. Not a Cat is her first picture book. Learn more about Winter at wintermiller.com.
Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, and graphic novelist from Brooklyn, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky. Her graphic novel Long Way Down (Atheneum; adapted from Jason Reynolds' novel of the same name) received starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, BCCB, and Booklist, which raved, "Far more than just an illustration of the events of the novel, Novgorodoff's iteration powerfully cultivates the tone and mood of its source material, demonstrating just how effective and artful comics can be." Her other graphic novels include The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Refresh Refresh, and Slow Storm from Macmillan, and the self—published A Late Freeze. Her art and writing have been published in MoMA Magazine, Best American Comics, The Believer, Artforum, Esquire, VQR, Slate, Orion, Seneca Review, Ecotone Journal, The Arkansas International, and others. Novgorodoff lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be found online at www.danicanovgorodoff.com.
I wrote Not a Cat to celebrate my best friend, Gato. It is a story about living joyfully as you are, without the limitations or expectations of how others may see you. Gato was many things. He was never confined to narrow boxes of behavior or interests.
I met Gato in September 2008 when he was sitting in a cage in a shelter surrounded by dozens of cats. It is unclear which one of us chose the other first. I had never met a cat like Gato. He was like a tiny, furry mayor, bringing people together. He was so well—behaved and curious that people just fell in love with him. From the first time we stepped out on the streets of Brooklyn, it was clear that Gato was a magnet for people. Watching their faces light up when they saw him was one of life's greatest joys.
In 2018, Gato was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and given a very short time to live. But Gato decided that "a very short time" meant three years?a lifetime for a cat or anyone else?and he packed those years full. He needed medicine morning and night, so we were never separated for long. He was my constant companion through the pandemic. I took him with me all around New York City. He went to the theater, he traveled to California, he went to writing residencies in the Adirondacks, and he swam in ponds, lakes, and swimming pools.
I did encourage Gato to be what other people might call "dog—like". But as it turns out, cats too can be friendly, generous, and play well with others. Some cats do like wearing clothing, and they might even let you walk them on a leash.
In Not a Cat, the fictional Gato has many of the same adventures as did his real—life counterpart. This raises the question, how can anyone be certain that Gato isn't a duck, dog, bunny, cow, horse, or a person? Maybe he doesn't have to choose. Do you?