10 January


Bryson the Brave Bison: Finding the Courage to Face the Storm releases June 27, 2023 

Grand Rapids, MI – January 10, 2023 – Zonderkidz is pleased to announce a new picture book from debut authors Nate Davenport and Luke Freshwater titled, Bryson the Brave Bison: Finding the Courage to Face the Storm releasing June 27, 2023 with illustrations from New York Times bestselling illustrator Richard Cowdrey.  

Author Luke Freshwater
Author Nate Davenport

This inspiring picture book ideal for children ages 4 – 8 focuses on a bison that faces a terrible storm and helps his bison friends to be brave and learn to face the storm. It’s rollicking rhyme tells a fascinating story for kids that’s based on how real bison intentionally run straight through oncoming storms rather than turning and running away.  

“Both Nate and I are committed to building brave kids and families intentionally; we are friends and fathers who love to collaborate on projects that inspire families,” said Luke Freshwater, who served as a former Army bomb squad leader in Afghanistan.  “We are thrilled that Zonderkidz caught the vision for this book: encouraging kids to be fearless and have the  courage to be leaders.”  

Nate Davenport adds, “In this world of challenges, we all need a hero, and here is a lovable character we created that shows his entire bison herd that you can get through anything with a little bravery and self-confidence. Courage is a choice and it’s in all of us.”      

“Richard Cowdrey, illustrator of the Zonderkidz Fiona the Hippo series of books, introduced us to Nate and Luke, and we were so taken with their message and with Richard’s early sketches of this brave bison. This book is a fun, humorous take on the way bison behave when faced with storms, but with a solid message about character and bravery that will resonate so well with children and their families, as well as with teachers and librarians,” says Megan Dobson, Vice President and Publisher of Zonderkidz.  

“Their path through the storm seemed awful at best,  

But Bryson the Brave was up to the test. 

He carried them through – he went all the way,  

And his story of courage is still told today!” 

About the Authors: 

Nate Davenport resides in Huntington, West Virginia, whose city mascot is the bison! He and his wife have two children. Nate’s passion for literature and writing comes from his father who is also an author. He is a youth ministry graduate of Cedarville University in Ohio, where he first met co-author Luke Freshwater. He currently works as a sales leader in the medical space. 

Luke Freshwater resides in the greater Columbus, Ohio area with his wife and five children. He is an aspiring bison farmer and is currently a sales leader. Luke served as a forest firefighter in Idaho and as an Army bomb squad leader in the war in Afghanistan. He went to NC State University and Cedarville, where he played baseball with his co-author Nate Davenport. 

About the Illustrator: 

Richard Cowdrey is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the beloved picture book series Fiona the Hippo, based on the world’s most famous hippo, Fiona of the Cincinnati Zoo. His favorite things to do are to draw and paint the things that reflect the awesomeness of creation. Richard’s fine attention to detail attracts fans to his books, like Legend of the Candy Cane; Bad Dog, Marley and all of the Fiona the Hippo picture books. He resides outside of Mt. Vernon, Ohio with his wife.  

The book is now available for pre-orders wherever books are sold. Advance copies of the book and interviews are available upon request; please contact Publicity Director Jessica Westra at [email protected]

Bison the Brave Bison: Finding the Courage to Face the Storm 

Authored by Nate Davenport & Luke Freshwater 

Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (Fiona the Hippo)  

Hardcover w/Jacket, $18.99  

On Sale June 27, 2023 



Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imaginative, innovative and educational resources that represent a Christian worldview and build up God’s children and teens. For additional information, please visit www.zonderkidz.com.  

Zondervan is a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, as part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan’s offices are located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com

13 September

Internet Sensation Fiona the Hippo Celebrates Love at the Zoo with New Picture Book from Zonderkidz  

Fiona Love at the Zoo releases November 15 and highlights the affections of Zoo animal families 

Exclusive pre-order print features Fiona and her new sibling, Fritz 

Grand Rapids, MI — September 13 — Zonderkidz, the children’s division of Zondervan, will release a new illustrated picture book in November in partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, one of the top zoos in the nation. Fiona Love at the Zoo features artwork from New York Times bestselling illustrator and Cincinnati native, Richard Cowdrey. 

This is the sixth picture book from Zonderkidz featuring the world’s most famous hippo. The New York Times bestselling Fiona the Hippo picture book was a hit with Fiona fans around the globe. Fiona is a worldwide internet sensation and the star of the Cincinnati Zoo, thanks to her spunk and the fighting spirit that helped her overcome all odds when she was born six weeks premature.  She is now over 5 years old and much heavier than her 29-pound birthweight! 

To celebrate the book, a free, exclusive pre-order print from Zonderkidz is available to the first 500 fans who order the book from their favorite retailer prior to November 15, 2022 and fill out the form on here. The 5×7 colored print, drawn by Fiona book illustrator Richard Cowdrey, shows Fiona lovingly snuggling with new baby brother, Fritz. Suitable for framing, the print highlights Fiona with the new baby hippo who was born this August to much fanfare worldwide.    

In the latest book, Fiona is illustrated discovering how her animal friends at the Zoo have lots of little ways of showing affection to each other – like wrapping necks as giraffes do, swans water-dancing, seals booping noses, and peacocks striking dramatic poses.  

“This book is a celebration of love, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect as the Cincinnati Zoo recently welcomed Fritz into their hippo “bloat” family,” says Megan Dobson, VP and publisher of Zonderkidz. “We appreciate working alongside the Zoo and helping them support their mission. And yes, Fiona the Hippo fans should be delighted to know that Fritz will be in an upcoming book in 2023…so stay tuned!”   

About the book: 

Fiona Love at the Zoo


Fiona Love at the Zoo 

Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey 

On sale November 15, 2022  

$18.99 Ages 4 – 8 


From Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan, a HarperCollins company 

For pre-order print

About the Illustrator: Richard Cowdrey is well known for illustrating many beautiful children’s picture books, including the New York Times bestseller Fiona the Hippo and Bad Dog, Marley! Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Cowdrey graduated from The Columbus College of Art and Design. Richard’s love for family and nature overflows into his illustrations which are enjoyed by children around the world. The artist lives in Ohio with his wife and has four grown children and five grandchildren. When not painting in his studio, Richard enjoys visiting schools to share with children his love of illustration.  Richard is available for interviews, school visits and store and library story time events about Fiona. 

About the Hippo:  Fiona was born January 24, 2017, six weeks before her due date. At 29 pounds she was very small for a Nile hippo. The whole world watched as Fiona learned to walk, eat and swim. Her challenges were big, but her spunk and incredible will helped her prevail time and again. Since her birth, millions of people from around the world have been pulling for Fiona to keep fighting. As she grew older, so did her social media following.     

#FionatheHippo #TeamFiona #FionatheHippobook #Zonderkidz 

About the Zoo:  The world-famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is committed to inspiring visitors to care about wildlife and wild places.  It has been rated the #1 attraction locally and one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey.  It has also received rave reviews from Child Magazine, Parents Magazine, USA Today and TripAdvisor. Over 1.6 million people visit the Zoo’s award-winning habitats, and more than 500 animal and 3000 plant species annually. 

About us: Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imaginative, innovative, and educational resources that represent a Christian worldview and build up God’s children and teens. For additional information, please visit www.zonderkidz.com

Zondervan is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.  The company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages.  For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com 

Media Contact:

Jessica Westra

Publicity Director, Zonderkidz

[email protected]