Alumnus teaches life lessons through taekwondo in children’s books


Co-authors of "Little Tiger" Series Olivia Dybik and Steve Doherty showcase their books at the St. Matthew's Hometown Bazaar in Gahanna, Ohio, Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Photo credit: Gabriella Germann

Mia Estrada

Warming the hearts of readers, an alumnus and his granddaughter are sharing valuable life lessons in their children’s book.

Alumnus Steve Doherty and granddaughter Olivia Dybik co-author a series of children books based on taekwando-loving tigers that teaches readers valuable life lessons while having fun.

Doherty graduated from Southwest Texas State in 1972 with a degree in biology. Doherty is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and author of historical fiction books. With the help of his granddaughter, Doherty is reaching all audiences, new and old, with his “Little Tiger” book series.

Doherty said he never saw himself writing any sort of novel, let alone children books in his lifetime. He has written four World War II based fictional action novels and most recently, two “Little Tiger” series children’s books.

“I want to change the world one child at time,” Doherty said.

The inspiration for the books is rooted in Doherty’s connection to a group of children at a taekwondo studio in New Albany, Ohio where he also lives since his retirement in 1993. Doherty personally trains children 5-9 years old at the studio. As a trainer, Doherty has learned most about children’s lack of knowledge about respect, life, discipline and self-control.

“I came to the realization that these kids weren’t getting what they needed from their parents, school or anything else which gave me the initial idea for the books,” Doherty said.

In 2017, Doherty earned his black belt in taekwondo when he was 67 years old and became an instructor after afterward. He became motivated to teach his own students, as well as all children, important life lessons in a manner that would get the message across in a fun way.

The first book, “Little Tiger: Respect,” was published November 2019 and personifies tigers who are training in taekwondo. In the book, the tigers learn proper respect in the studio and in their everyday lives.

“Our goal is to teach life principles to kids,” Doherty said. “Olivia and I have written a total of 10 books in order for kids to learn more valuable lessons.”

The second book, “Little Tiger: Guardian of Peace,” was published December 2019 and teaches children to be peacemakers instead of fighters, just like in the first lesson of taekwondo.

Doherty asked Dybik, his 13-year-old granddaughter, to look at the books to see if she liked them. Dybik sat at the computer, read the books and had a few suggestions for her grandfather.

“Papa Steve, you can’t write to a first grader like you would a college student,” Dybik said.

After reading the books, Dybik rewrote the books in less than two hours and from then on she was Doherty’s very own co-author for the entire series. Dybik was happy to spend valuable time with her grandfather and also see her talents and accomplishments come to life in the words and animations of the “Little Tiger” books.

“It is so hard to put into words,” Dybik said. “It is an honor to be a co-author with my grandpa at such a young age.”

Doherty and Dybik have written a total of 10 “Little Tiger” books, which will be published one by one throughout the next couple of years. The third book in the series, “Little Tiger: Disciple,” is set to be released June 2020.

Camrie Pipper, administrative assistant in the Texas State philosophy department, was thrilled to hear about the important lessons the “Little Tiger” books teach children. Previously working in elementary schools has allowed Pipper to see the importance of early childhood development.

“Recent studies have demonstrated that children who read five books a day will enter kindergarten having learned about 1.4 million more words,” Pipper said. “This number is striking and reading books such as “Little Tiger,” the readers will be able to add ‘extra-textual’ talk to reinforce new vocab words.”

Publishing prices for the books has set Doherty back from releasing more books from the series. He has since started a GoFundMe page to raise money in order to finish the series in the next two years.

For more information about the various works Doherty and Dybik have published visit their website

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