Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Whitney Owens sells a copy of Winston's Friendship Journey at her book signing Saturday, May 9. 2015, at King's Treasures in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Whitney Owens sells a copy of Winston's Friendship Journey at her book signing Saturday, May 9. 2015, at King's Treasures in Kenai, Alaska.

Self-publishing as a student

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, May 10, 2015 9:02pm
  • NewsSchools

At 11-years-old, Whitney Owens has self-published her first book. The home school student authored and illustrated ‘Winston’s Friendship Journey’, which is available on Kindle, and at King’s Treasures Christian Bookstore in Kenai.

At her book signing Saturday, 65 copies went into the hands of friends, family and customers. Each copy costs $9.

“Its kind of been one of my dreams,” Whitney Owens said.

Whitney Owens came up with the plot line last year, after a visit to a friend’s farm. She saw a variety of livestock and the birth of a baby goat, which she photographed, she said. In the book, Wintson, a young goat, goes in search of a friend. He meets a chatty goose named Sampson and two donkeys named Bogart and Barry, but does not find a good fit until he meets Zoe, a fellow goat.

Zoe is calmer and more attentive, which Whitney Owens said she believes are good qualities she looks for in her own friends.

“I was trying to teach that friendship is really important even to animals,” Whitney Owens said.

Whitney Owens received creative inspiration from friends and family while writing the story. She said her favorite part of the entire process was picking the names. Her parents assisted in coming up with unique aliases for each animal.

Sherry Collins, a close friend, roused a passion for painting in Whitney Owen’s. She said she could not have completed the artwork that accompanied the story without Collin’s teaching and encouragement. It took a full year to write, illustrate and publish the piece, Whitney Owen’s said. Once she started contacting publishers about circulating the story, she realized that was not a route she wanted to go.

“They wanted to do so many changes to my book,” Whitney Owens said. “It would have felt like my book anymore so I decided to self publish.”

Her mother Simone Owens, said she wanted her daughter to complete the process on her own. It is a excellent teaching tool for kids, she said

“For me the best part about the project is that its not instant gratification,” Simone Owens said. “It took her a year to finish and the perseverance it took was so impressive.”

Whitney Owens took tutorials online that walked her through self-publishing step by step. She said she did not at any point want to abandon the project.

In fact, next fall Whitney Owens plans to finish a second book about an Alaskan mosquito that gets sprayed by bug spray. She said she has had many neighbors and community members in support of her book.

Kathy Williams, a family friend said Whitney Owens’ accomplishment was inspiring to the community.

“She is an amazing little girl,” Williams said.


Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Snow coats an eroding bluff near the mouth of the Kenai River on Friday, March 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai accepting bids on bluff stabilization project

The announcement means that contractors can start submitting their proposals for how they’d complete the work and how much it would cost to do so

A stack of the Seward Journal is pictured. The town’s only daily newspaper published its last edition Nov. 27. (Photo via Seward Journal Facebook page)
‘A thing of the past’

Seward Journal calls it quits after struggle to keep newspaper afloat

Tim Navarre and Dana Cannava discuss a preliminary Soldotna route for the Kahtnu Area Transit with Planner Bryant Wright at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Getting people where they need to go

Plans for Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s Kahtnu Area Transit move forward

A state plow truck clears snow from the Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
DOT identifies roads included in brine reduction plan

The department said its goal is to reduce brine use overall in the region by 40%

Soldotna High School senior Josiah Burton testifies in opposition to the proposed cut of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District theater technicians while audience members look on during a board of education meeting on Monday, March 6, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board finance group reviews expenditures ahead of upcoming budget cycle

As the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District prepares to grapple with another… Continue reading

Members of the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee raise hands to vote in favor of a proposal during a meeting at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Silver salmon, personal use fishing discussed by advisory committee

The group set their recommendations on a variety of proposals to the State Board of Fisheries

Hoses pump water along Patrick Drive to help mitigate flooding near Kalifornsky Beach Road on Friday, July 21, 2023, near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough spent almost $78k responding to flood events during disaster declaration

Most of the funds were spend in the northwest area of Kalifornsky Beach Road

The National Weather Service’s map shows a winter weather advisory, in orange, effective for much of the eastern Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
Heavy snow, blowing winds forecast for Turnagain Pass on Wednesday

Snow accumulations of up to 16 inches are expected

The Kenai Courthouse is seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Grand jury adds charges in October killing of Homer woman

The indictment was delivered on Nov. 8

Most Read