Heidi Phillips Hits Home Run with Gizmo Children’s Books
Heidi Phillips spent most of her adult life working in media sales. However, a fateful encounter on Interstate 10 in July, 2011 changed her life for the better. A little dog was wandering near the freeway on-ramp when Phillips got out of her car, rescued him, and he jumped into her arms. Not knowing what name to call him, she noticed that the dog’s ears were pointed up and he resembled the lovable Gizmo from the 1984 hit movie Gremlins. Gizmo stuck and the two have been inseparable since.
Once she brought Gizmo home, Heidi and her husband J.R. began to travel with their new family member. “He is a pro at airports but does prefer the window seat,” Phillips admitted. Over the last five years, Gizmo has visited Idaho, Montana, Pennsylvania, California, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and parts of Texas. After all of those trips and miles, Heidi came up with a great idea.
“My grandson (River Wilson) and I were looking through all the pictures so we decided to make up stories to go with all the pictures,” Phillips said. “Knowing we would be doing several books and locations, it was important to do the first one from El Paso. Gizmo Goes to a Baseball Game was born. I write the stories (poems) and River does the illustrations. In the back of the book are the actual pictures we used for inspiration.”
Her first book, Gizmo Goes to a Baseball Game, is centered around the dog attending his first ever Chihuahuas game. In the story, Gizmo was excited to meet his idol, Chico the Chihuahuas mascot, but things do not go exactly as planned. Phillips’ grandson River Wilson provided the illustrations in the story. The book has been such a hit that Phillips has been reading it to preschools and elementary schools around the El Paso area. “The book readings are so much fun, especially for Gizmo who loves kids,” Phillips said. “We’ve read in Dallas and here at home.” He even got some fan mail She has also hosted various book signings with Gizmo in attendance. Gizmo Goes to a Baseball Game is available on Amazon, Kindle, and iBook. Gizmo even has his own Facebook Fan page.
Gizmo Goes to Yellowstone will be out next month and then Gizmo Goes to Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp is tentatively planned for this fall. Gizmo Rides the Polar Express will be released around Christmas time and Gizmo Goes to the Los Angeles Lakers Game to be released in 2018. “It’s something that River and I created together that’s a fun family project that brings all of us together,” Phillips said. Gizmo is a funny dog and this helps preserves memories that will last forever.”