A Crane Named Steve

About the Book

What would you do if you knew you had to move - except you didn’t want to? In this charming epic poem by Katherine Gotthardt, illustrated by Patrick King, a child whose parents are planning to get new jobs and move meets an unexpected hero - a unique crane named Steve. Read how these two become fast friends and how Steve handles new jobs and relocating.

The real “Steve” became a local icon among commuters when “he” showed up on I-66 near Manassas, Virginia during construction, bringing amusement and joy in the midst of the daily gridlock. Crane owners Digging & Rigging, Inc. published storybook and coloring book versions, and Gotthardt has kept the joy going by using proceeds to support local non-profits and initiatives that support disadvantaged communities.

Non-profits that have benefited from book sales include Boxes of Basics, ACTS, Hope and Serenity Farm Sanctuary and Giving on Another Level. In addition, Gotthardt has donated hundreds of gift bags with art supplies and copies of the book and coloring book to needy communities. A complete list of beneficiaries can be found here.

“The idea of Steve doesn’t really belong to any one person. He came from the community," Gotthardt says. "So I think it’s appropriate that anything we do with Steve goes back to support the community."

Author's Note, June 3, 2023

I am heartbroken this week, as are so many others in our circle and our community, to hear of Patrick King's passing. Patrick was a creative force, an inspiration, a gentle soul, a compassionate advocate and entrepreneur who touched lives locally, regionally and across the globe.
I was blessed to collaborate with Patrick on several projects, including A Crane Named Steve, an initiative that helped bring commuters and community together. In spite of the success of the storybook and coloring book, he never took a penny earned from them, choosing instead to join me in donating all proceeds to various local charities.
In Patrick's honor, I will continue this tradition and encourage everyone to do as he did and be the light we so desperately need in this world.
Let's honor Patrick's legacy. Let's be a force for good, a force for giving. Do something kind today. It matters. #PatrickIsKing
-Katherine Gotthardt

Jennifer El-Shewihy

Such a cute story with an equally wonderful backstory... (found at the back of the book). Not only did Steve the Crane give joy through rough traffic and accidents on a daily basis, for a short amount of time, but it's a terrific story for kids whose family talks about moving (Steve moves a lot too).


...cannot day enough about this PERFECT Christmas gift book. I’m so happy I purchased for our kiddo, as he faces down a plausible move out of state, just like our protagonist in this story.

Mary Jo Krist

These coloring books are so awesome! I can't wait to give them to our pediatric team here at Capital Caring Health! They will love them. Thank you so much for your generosity

R. Ridwan

My third grade esol students loved reading and coloring this book. It is a sweet story about the anxiety over moving and holding on to familiar things. Many of my students could relate to moving and missing things back home. It made for great discussion! Thank you for sharing this story with my students. It also went along great with our simple machines unit in science!

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Contact Katherine

  • For poetry drafts and insights, follow Katherine on social media and search the hashtag #KatherinesCoffeehouse. Or check out Katherine's Coffeehouse here on the website.
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