I Think When I Am Older, I Might Be a Pharmacist! My Experience Writing a Children's Book About Pharmacy
Children's books about the field of pharmacy are surprisingly scarce.
If you had asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be when I grew up, pharmacist would not have been on the list or even a word in my vocabulary. When I began considering a career in pharmacy as a teenager, I wondered why I had little memorable exposure to it as a child. Most children remember their doctor more than anything else in the field of health and wellness, but few people have a significant childhood memory of the pharmacist. At that time, I probably wanted to be a veterinarian; there are only so many jobs that exist when you haven’t been introduced to the adult world just yet. This thought made me realize that a good portion of children’s experiential learning and understanding also comes from books.
After doing some research, I was surprised to find, even in the present day, that children’s books about the field of pharmacy are scarce. There were a few, notably published by other pharmacists, but not enough. As a soon-to-be pharmacy school student, I wondered how I could teach others about the importance of pharmacists.
I had already published a book about the history and details of the opioid epidemic, both as a personal challenge and because my professor suggested it. Through that process, I found it difficult to write a book to inform others without first informing myself. After successfully writing that book, however, I was increasingly confident that I could write in a different genre about a topic I knew more about. Being a pharmacy technician and most of the way through my undergraduate work in pharmaceutical science, I had plenty of ideas to explain the pharmacy and the role of pharmacists not only in my own words, but with my own illustrations.
Writing this book allowed me to explore my own reasons for becoming a pharmacist and answer questions I had as a child. To quote one of my favorite lines from the book, “Like any other job in health care, it can be difficult, I’ll admit. But when you know you help so many people, that’s what makes the job worth it.” I even incorporated this fact into my illustrations. The adult pharmacist and child characters look similar on purpose, with the child representing myself as a young, curious girl and the pharmacist representing myself as a future professional. Additionally, the book addresses clinical topics such as the difference between over-thecounter medications and pharmacy drugs, what it means to say “no” to drugs even with so many drugstores, and the importance of the pharmacist’s role.
When I was in high school, I remember telling people I wanted to go into pharmacy, and I appreciated the approving nods and astonished faces. I enjoy the idea of pharmacy because of its versatility and scope of practice. In studying broad wellness topics, including the miniscule details of how drugs work in the body, I find myself fascinated with the span of possibilities that pharmacy holds for whatever path I take. Pharmacists have to be knowledgeable and well-rounded, and I regard these aspects highly in my own life, nurturing my talents and skills through projects such as writing books.
Both of my books took a considerable amount of time and research. My first book, Opioids, Opiates, and Overdose: A Quick Guide to Opioids, the History, and the Epidemic, required much more research and included more than pages of sources at the end. That process took about a year, with extensive periods of hard work and in-depth researching. My children’s book, I Think When I Am Older, I Might Be a Pharmacist!, took a little longer to publish because writing and illustrating were a solo effort. But it required less research because most of what I presented was based on my own experience and education. The book itself was completed in about a year and a half.
My greatest wish is for my books to bring understanding, offer a learning experience, and highlight the importance of pharmacology to readers of all ages. My writing also appears in a book titled Controversies in Pharmacology: Volume III, to which I contributed essays regarding the placebo effect, medicalization, supplements, and homeopathy. All my publications are available on Amazon. I know I have the inspiration and potential for future publications, but only time will tell what I do with them. For now, I know that when I am older, I might be a pharmacist.
About the Author
Katrina Zearley is a 2026 PharmD candidate at the University of Arizona in Tucson, a published author and illustrator, and a CVS pharmacy intern.