I first met Julie Golob, the author of Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules, five years ago at the 1st annual Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. The hunt, which is a wonderful opportunity for mentoring and developing camaraderie between women hunters, was established in part to promote the economic self-sufficiency of women.
Julie was a special guest at the 2013 event, having recently published her first book, Shoot: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition. Her competitive shooting expertise as well as her experience with firearms in general made her a great fit for this event.
Beyond her warm demeanor and her vast knowledge of shooting, I was struck by her attentiveness to her family. Julie’s husband and two young children were in attendance with her throughout the weekend. I clearly understood that raising a family and spending as much time together with her family were very important to Julie.
This is just as evident close to five years later with the release of Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules, a children’s book about gun safety. This book is written for young children to help them learn about guns. The text highlights simple yet key words such as GUN, SAFETY, BULLET, TRIGGER, and SHOOT. Julie tackles the polarizing topics of guns and gun safety head on by naming, defining, and illustrating many aspects of guns and gun safety. This book is not a fluff piece; rather, it is an open and objective look at firearms and firearm safety.
This openness is Julie’s way of demystifying guns and providing opportunities for parents to discuss gun safety with their children. Far from ignoring what has become a national problem, Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules aims to provide the vocabulary and the knowledge of guns and gun safety that allow for honest dialogue.
The simple language and illustrations on each page offer a welcome invitation for discussion. The information is presented in a developmentally appropriate manner, beginning with what children know (toys) and moving to more unfamiliar topics (parts of a gun, trusted adults, safety).
Julie provides a Parents’ Guide at the end of the book which provides talking points for each page. This is quite helpful for adults who might not otherwise know how to talk with young children about such an important and sometimes misunderstood topic.
In addition, she explains her reasoning for the terms she chose to include in this book and even the choice of page color. On first read, I did not notice the intentionality of the background color on several pages. The Parents’ Guide points out Julie’s purposeful choice of background: a blue background on one page shows common tools, such as a hammer and a saw, that likely have rules for use at home. A yellow background is used for the pages that illustrate common firearms in whole – a shotgun, a rifle, a pistol, and a revolver. The yellow is meant to signify caution. The following pages illustrate the specific components of the muzzle and the trigger. The red background on these pages is designed to emphasize the importance and the potential damage that these parts of firearms present.