The book will be written for "elementary school-aged readers," will be "heavily illustrated" with many color photographs, and will tell the story of Fiona's premature birth, struggles in growth, and later reintroduction to her family.
Born on Jan. 24, 2017, nearly two months prematurely, Fiona weighed just 29 pounds, which is less than half the normal birth weight of a hippo. The book will cover her surprise birth, the struggle to save her when she wasn't growing or eating properly, and the remarkable achievements she has made since, including the recent reunion with her entire family. Behind-the-scenes photographs and exclusive interviews with the zoo staff will give readers an intimate look at the inner workings of a zoo, and the relationships the caregivers have with the animals that live there.
Maynard's portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cincinnati Zoo. Maynard told the Cincinnati Enquirer that money from products related to Fiona has helped cover the costs of her care, and that individual animals like Fiona can get people interested in conservation.
Money raised from this and other Fiona-related products – her face has graced everything from beer to ice cream to playing cards – has helped defray the costs of her care, Maynard said.
"I'm honored to get to do it," Maynard said of writing the book. "Telling Fiona's story is a great way to get people of all ages interested in wildlife and conservation. People do get inspired by individual animals."
Saving Fiona will be published on Jan. 22, 2019 —
just in time for Fiona's second birthday on Jan. 24!
Jarry Lee is the Deputy Books Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.