Beato, the Atlanta-based, 20-pound Norwegian Forest cat is traveling around the world these days in a new series of children’s picture books created by local author Sucheta Rawal.
Ms. Rawal is an award-winning food and travel writer who has chosen Beato, her companion for the past seven years, as a lead character for her children’s books because of his distinguishing characteristics.
He is “curious like all cats,” she told dozens of kids and their parents who came to the book release party for the third book in the series ‘Beato Goes to…’ at the Buckhead Library on Peachtree Street July 19. And “people love cats,” she added referring to You Tube’s most searched videos of “funny cats.”
But more importantly, Beato is the protagonist because of his lack of adherence to a specific religious denomination, the absence of a specific skin color, and he is not identified with an ethnic group, making him a foil for learning about the world’s diversity, she told Global Atlanta.
Ms. Rawal was inspired to write children’s books based on her own travels, including the 69 countries she already has visited, and drew upon characters she met, her personal experiences and actual photographs to create stories filled with cultural references and “fun facts” enhanced by colorful illustrations.
“I really have just replaced myself with the cat,” she said of her books that seek to raise awareness of distant cultures and places. Her goal as author of the series ‘Beato Goes to’ — Greenland, Israel and most recently Indonesia is to inspire young readers to be curious about the world and grow up to be well informed citizens.
She wants to help dissolve stereotypes, bigotry and conflict by reaching out to children as early as four years old. Beato,…