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The Story Behind the Story of LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY (and Contest)

Written by Linda Whalen

Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Sleeping Bear Press

What is usually red, a home for animals of all sorts, doesn’t have wheels but travels across the country? A little red barn being moved, of course. At least that’s what happens in Little Red Rolls Away. Raised in a big city I had never seen a barn much less the animals living in one. All that changed when I married a farm boy from the mid-west. The first time I went to visit the family farm I was excited, curious, and fascinated by all the buildings, especially the barns. My in-laws had a huge red barn, a milking barn, and a winter barn they called a loafing shed which was big enough to hold the herd during winter. I turned into a kid again and explored every one of them. Bet you can guess which one I fell in love with. The old red barn held all sorts of nooks for me to explore. Even the strange smells couldn’t stop me.

While visiting the surrounding countryside, we hopped on a highway. It was there I saw the most unusual thing, a farmer driving his tractor into a culvert under the highway. When I asked my husband why, he explained that some farms were separated into two sections for the Hwy and the engineers fixed a culvert so farmers could reach the other side. I wondered for a minute then asked what if there was a barn in the Hwy’s path. My heart sank when he said it would have been torn down. The thought of the barns being crushed bothered me so when I decided to write children’s books, I made sure one would be about a barn being saved, if only in my imagination and ta da… Little Red Rolls Away was born.

I decided to take Little Red on a discovery journey of sorts to places a barn stuck in one spot wouldn’t know about. I started out with a mix of familiar and unknown things so he wouldn’t be too anxious. Children have always been a huge part of my life and career, so I incorporated those emotions into the text.

Little Red Rolls Away is fortunate to be endorsed by Joey Travolta (John’s brother) who works with special needs children through a Movie Boot Camp. I admire his regard for these children. The book also has endorsements from Lynne Thomas, LCSW who has been a family therapist for years. Little Red Rolls Away and I have had the good fortune to be featured on CBS Good Day Sacramento. I must admit sitting next to two anchors on a live TV show was kind of scary!

Little Red Rolls Away has been many places since the book debuted, including on a cruise. I’m compiling pictures of its adventures to share on my website along with information about the locations. From a Park ranger in Yellowstone, to a surfer at the beach I’ve found people love to participate in a picture with Little Red.

I gave up my childcare facility to write for children and after many workshops and book readings, I feel blessed to have a published book children love. A book that loves them back by making them smile, laugh, and helping them when times are difficult. One of my absolute favorite parts of being an author is presenting at schools. You just never know what questions children will come up with and I love to inspire them.

Jacket Flap

When Little Red Barn wakes one morning, he finds his animal friends have gone. He’s empty and alone. And then big noisy machines lift him up and put him on a truck. As Little Red is transported across the countryside, down a major river, and through city streets, he feels anxious and a little afraid. Where is he going? Who will be there when he reaches his destination?

When Little Red does finally reach his new home in a surprising location, he finds things are even better than before. The story of the little barn’s relocation and adjustment to a new place will reassure and comfort young readers facing changes in their own lives.


There was a time when a large amount of the barns we encountered in Illinois were painted a different color. Little Red was almost Little _______. The first one to guess the right color will receive a signed copy of Little Red Rolls Away along with a craft to make a Little Red Barn model and several activity pages.

Please post your answer in the comment section, along with your e-mail address. A winner will be chose from the comments after 11/30/21.

Bio: Linda Whalen was raised in Southern California but has traveled and lived in many states through the United States finally settling in Northern California. A city girl who found she loves country life with her husband, family and the creatures playing in the fields around her home. Devoting her life to children she has been a 4-H leader, religious education teacher, and owner/operator of Whalen’s Country Childcare, a licensed facility. Linda is a published author, polished speaker, radio show guest and was featured on CBS Good Day Sacramento. She is also an experienced presenter at schools and libraries. When she’s not writing Linda loves to sneak away to her art studio.

Learn more about Linda at:

1 comment

1 Comment

Jany Campana
Jany Campana
Nov 08, 2021

The Little White Barn --

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