Katherine GotthardtSep 21, 2023 08:05AM ● By Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy
When a child has to move because his parents get new jobs, there’s a dilemma. He doesn’t want to move, but a crane called Steve becomes a valued friend by teaching how he handles new jobs and the process of relocating. This unlikely friend isn’t a bird—he’s the large, tall machine used for moving heavy objects. “A Crane Named Steve” was written by Katherine Gotthardt and provides children with a way to handle change using a friendly crane, while Patrick King’s illustrations are a treat for children and adults.
The story was conceived when a crane became a local sighting on Interstate 66 near Manassas, Virginia, and commuters would see him working during construction. With the daily traffic grind the commuters faced, the crane became an instant hit with them. Steve was so popular that Digging & Rigging, Inc., crane owners, published storybook and coloring book versions of Steve the Crane.
Gotthardt uses proceeds from the book to support local nonprofit organizations and initiatives for disadvantaged communities. Some of the nonprofits that have benefited from the book sales include ACTS (Action in Community Through Service); Hope and Serenity Farm Sanctuary, an animal sanctuary that nurtures and is home for more than 250 animals in Nokesville, Virginia, and Giving on Another Level. The author has also donated hundreds of gift bags filled with art supplies and copies of the book and coloring book to needy communities.
“The idea of Steve doesn’t really belong to any one person,” says Gotthardt. “So, I think it’s appropriate that anything we do with Steve goes back to support the community.”
From the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area, Gotthardt promotes writing as an art. She has earned numerous awards for her poems, articles, flash fiction (very short story) and books. She began writing as soon as she learned to read, and her first published poem, “Remembering Thoreau,” was in “Eclectic Literary Forum” in the 1990s. From there, her work has appeared in “Yankee,” “Haight Ashbury Literary Journal,” “Frogpond” and other publications.
Gotthardt was a Prince William County Poet Laureate nominee and winner of “Inside Nova’s” 2019 and 2020 “Best of Prince William” author category. For her poetry and prose book, “Get Happy Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motivated in an Often-Unhappy World,” she received a Silver award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. While “A Crane Named Steve” ascended to number one in its category on Amazon in 2019, her piece, “Discussion Topic,” took first place in the free verse category in the Loudon County Library Foundation’s 2020 “Rhyme On” poetry contest.
Gotthardt supports a federal government agency as a full-time writer for a contracting company. The author of 11 books, she is the current co-president and a founding member of “Write by the Rails,” the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club; a member of the Poetry Society of Virginia, the Prince William County Arts Council; and a member of the Gainesville-Haymarket Rotary Club.
For more information about Gotthardt, her writing and her work with nonprofit organizations and the community, as well as to purchase “Steve the Crane,” visit katherinegotthardt.com.