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  • Writer's pictureBriana Soto


Although we Floridians know a great deal about alligators and of course, hurricanes, we could also learn a thing or two from a bear named Smokey and the fight against forest fires! Recently, a friend of local Boca Raton author Karen Signell stopped by and found one of Signell’s books in-stock! It is entitled, Smokey Bear: The Cub Who Left His Pawprints on History. Fortunately, I was able to contact Signell and ask her a few questions about her novel…

Q: What inspired you to write a book about Smokey Bear?

K: “I saw him [in person] when I was 15 years old. He had been in a terrible forest fire and he had been rescued by firemen up high in the mountains. What had happened was they took [Smokey] to the local vet in a little town who always [cares for] injured wild animals for free to try and save their lives. They weren’t sure whether [Smokey] would live since he was badly burned. [However] he did live! The man who rescued him took [Smokey] to his home where he and his family took care of him. It was decided, as [Smokey] got a little bit older that they had to be careful with him due to his growing strength. There was an offer from the Head of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to have the him as “Smokey Bear” and as a symbol to everybody to be careful with fires. He was sent there by an airplane and I had heard he had come to town, Washington, D.C. which was the town nearest me (20 miles away from where I lived in the woods).

“I went to see him, and he was just a little bear sucking his paw and he had looked very sad! And I thought maybe I should write his story. At first, I was sketching him and I thought no, I should write his story! I was only 15 [and an avid writer] but when I finally retired, I wrote the book.

“He was a champion for people to be careful to not start fires.”

Q: What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

K: “Well, I hope they care about wildlife and care about not starting careless starting fires [and how] Smokey Bear made a difference when he was publicized back then. Thousands of people visited the zoo when they heard about him and he did cut down on carelessly caused fires. So, the reason that I wrote it was because I care about the forest…it just makes you feel terrible seeing the devastation and what happens to the wild animals [during forest fires]…I care about the wilderness and I’m hoping this would reach readers.”

Q: Where can you find your book?

K: It is currently available on Amazon!


Paperback: $17.43

Kindle: $3.99

Both versions include 60+ photographs of Smokey BUT the e-version has them in COLOR!

Or, come on in and grab your copy today for an even lower price!

Smokey Bear by Karen Signell at the Friends bookstore

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