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Local author is delivering puppy love and holiday cheer through January

La Jollan Bridget Burton, also known as Barbara Burton Graf, and puppy Scarlett with Burton's book “Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou."
La Jollan “Bridget” Burton, also known as Barbara Burton Graf, and puppy Scarlett with Burton’s book “Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou.” Burton (and Scarlett) are delivering copies of the book locally through Jan. 31.
(Courtesy)

Author and jazz vocalist “Bridget” Burton wants children in La Jolla to experience a virtual musical adventure to Hawaii, and she’s delivering just that with the help of a furry counterpart.

Burton, whom many locally know as the La Jolla Community Center’s director of marketing Barbara Burton Graf, will personally deliver any purchased copy of her book, “Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou: Kauai’s Beloved Pup,” within La Jolla through Jan. 31, as well as make a donation of the digital version to local nonprofit organizations.

The book, published at the end of 2016, is about “this rambunctious pup in Kauai [Hi.]. She ziplines and she surfs and goes to luaus,” Burton said.

“Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou” is based on Burton’s two loves: Hawaii and springer spaniels.

“My husband and I love Kauai,” she said. “We have a timeshare there. It’s my love. My other love is my springer spaniel. I’ve had two. The first one was Annie; she was the one that the original book was named after. I made her Hawaiian and I put her in Kauai.”

Burton recorded two jazz vocal CDs in 2004 and 2005 — under the stage name “Bridget” — so she said a “natural” expansion was the book was to make up lyrics and “sing” the book.

Now, a CD companion comes with each copy of the book “so the children can read the book, they can sing the verses,” she said. “It was a natural add-on to put the words to music. Children learn better when there is music involved.”

In fall 2020, Burton said, it was time to expand further to a digital version. “I had a cartoonist do a little cartoon of [Annie] doing the hula. We worked on putting her on the island of Kauai, so you can actually learn where she is. The kids can learn the geography of Kauai by watching the video.”

Every book purchase also comes with the digital version. During the holidays, she will hand-deliver (masked, with social distancing) books purchased for La Jollans. “I thought it would be fun because I love La Jolla, to just come in a Santa’s hat and make it fun.” Purchasers will receive a text notification with a delivery time.

Burton is accompanied on her deliveries by Scarlett, a 3-month-old puppy who joined Burton’s family after Annie died in July. Scarlett “is going to carry on the legacy,” Burton said. “She’ll be the mascot.”

Barbara Burton Graf (right) donates copies of her book to the San Diego Rescue Mission.
Barbara Burton Graf (right) donates copies of her book to the San Diego Rescue Mission. She will donate a digital copy of the book to local nonprofits for every one purchased.
(Courtesy)

Burton said she felt it also would “be nice to give something back,” and after donating several books to Rady Children’s Hospital, she will donate a digital version for every book purchased to local charities that support children in need, such as the San Diego Rescue Mission and the Women’s Resource Center.

Those who purchase the book will be notified of the organization that benefited from their purchase.

“These books are like a virtual Hawaiian vacation kids can get” while travel is restricted, she said. “And it gives back at the same time.”

Burton is close to publishing the book’s sequel, which places Annie in Maui, slated to be released completely digitally in 2021.

The book is priced at $25 and is available, along with a digital version preview and other purchase options, at anniekailani.com.