Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat

Non-Fiction - Animals
52 Pages
Reviewed on 11/16/2011
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Hello, my name is Leyla Atke. I am a mother and award-winning author from Denmark. Since my childhood, I loved reading books. My influences are Alexandre Dumas, Maurice Druon, Victor Hugo, H.G Wells, Leo Tolstoy and many others.

I have been featured on, Fiction Frenzy TV, Red River Radio and many others.
My book Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat was honored as a Finalist in Children´s Non-Fiction category of 2012 International Book Awards and as a Finalist in Animal Non-Fiction category of 2012 Readers Favorite.
Charm got three Finalist Awards in Children Animals, Non-Fiction Animals and Non-Fiction Short story in the 2014 Readers Favorite. It won 2014 Readers Favorite Honorable Mention in Non-Fiction Short Story. Charm has been awarded a Honorable mention in Non-Fiction Animals category in 2015 Readers Favorite International Book Awards!

Charm is a tender and loving story of a small cat that is found, lost and found again under the most mysterious conditions. It will make you wonder about life, love and the existence of a higher power. It will break your heart in half and put it back together again. You will fall in love and be forever grateful that you met Charm, if only in a book.

Ask yourself: Do you believe in God? Do you believe in the existence of a higher power and the other world? Do you believe in miracles and reincarnation? Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is all in one story, which will make you think about these things and maybe you´ll find the answer!

My hobbies include archeology, paleontology, history, tennis and fitness.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is a memoir and tribute to a special cat written and illustrated by Leyla Atke. When she first saw Charm, he was huddled in the middle of heavy traffic. During a brief lull in the traffic, Atke rescued the dirty little kitten and carried him to a safe place. Then she realized he would probably wander off into traffic again and took him home. She bathed him and found, after all the dirt had washed away, that he was a lovely, blue-eyed kitten with sleek, black fur, who grew up into a magnificent black cat.

Leyla Atke's Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is a lovely and evocative tribute to a beloved pet. The story is beautifully told, and the illustrations are masterful; sometimes primitive, sometimes very reminiscent of folk art, but always very powerful. Memoirs of this type can be overblown and excessively sentimental; however, Atke's narrative remains clear and calm, and engaged this reader from the first lines to the concluding words. Atke shows her gift of being first and foremost a storyteller. Her words and art are simple yet imbued with love and expression. This is a special book, and one I would not hesitate to recommend to those who are privileged to share their lives with animal companions as well as those who haven't been...yet. It's really quite a remarkable work and a story I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Bil Howard

There must be a purpose in all things, but especially in the case of the little black cat that found his way not only once, but twice into the life of Leyla Atke. Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat, by Leyla Atke, is a simple and tender, true story of a little black cat which she rescued from a busy round-about. Having bathed him and given him a home, Leyla looked into his turquoise eyes and immediately came up with the name Charm. Charm was something of a roamer, as most male cats are, and after having run off during a remodel of the windows in the house, he disappeared for nearly two weeks. When Leyla discovered the badly decomposed body of her Charm, she was crushed. She buried him beneath a tree in the front yard. She would dream about him and feel him near her at times, but did not fully realize what was happening until she discovered another tiny black kitten near Charm’s grave outside her house.

Whether one believes in a higher power, re-incarnation, or simply in the nine lives of cats, Leyla’s story is certain to stir up questions, with or without answers. The fact that she encountered this phenomenon twice only deepens the mystery. This is a tender story of a young girl’s love for a special creature which touched her life not only once, but twice. Tender, thought provoking, and inspiring; Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat will capture your attention and make you wonder what really goes on in the world beyond what we can see.

Mamta Madhavan

Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat by Leyla Atke is a true story of the author's pet. She speaks about how she found her black cat abandoned on an intersection divider of a busy lane and brought it home. The book describes the trauma the author undergoes when Charm disappears and she finally finds its remains in a deserted factory playground. She comes to terms with her grief and buries her favorite pet. The twist is when a black kitten appears on the exact spot where Charm is buried. The author adopts that kitten and names it Charm.

The story is a heartwarming tale of the author's moments with Charm. All pet lovers will be able to relate to the author's emotions and love for the cat. The author takes you through a wide range of emotions: love, compassion, sorrow, empathy, grief, and distress. The book is an ideal story for children and the drawings and crayon colorings make it child-friendly. The aspect of death in the book might not be that ideal for small children but, to a certain extent, many parts of this book can be read out at bedtime for small children.

The 'charm' of Charm remains in the reader's heart for a long time. The language and details are simple and easy for a child to read and understand. You need not be a cat lover to appreciate the story. It will appeal to any reader. It is a wonderful story.

Jean Hall

Perhaps miracles do happen. Leyla Atke describes her love for a rescued kitten in Charm: An Amazing Story Of a Little Black Cat. Leyla has a hair appointment when she is taking a break from her work in town. She spies a small, black spot in the middle of the street. For the moment, cars are not rushing by and she sees that the black spot is a helpless, black kitten. She takes the kitten out of harm's way and she gently cares for it. Much of the grime is washed away with a careful bath. The tiny, fur-ball of a kitten grows into a confident, panther-like cat with green eyes. One fateful day, the window frames of the family home are being replaced, and the black cat called Charm runs away. Perhaps Charm will be found, one way or the other.

Leyla Atke writes and illustrates this heartfelt tale of the furry, black Charm. The childlike perspective of the young woman is both engaging and surprising. The illustrations are in crayon as a child would draw them. There is a diagram of the scene where the kitten is saved from oncoming cars. There are also photographs to tell her story. Charm is also the story of the young woman whose heart is completely given to this vulnerable creature. I felt a surge of sympathy for the woman and her cat. She has so much love to give and she feels so much. This is a story for kids and adults who want to feel the tug of both disappointment and joy.

Marta Moran-Bishop

Leyla Atke’s book Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is a little book with great magic and heart. It is a book that I don’t believe you have to be a cat lover for it to touch your heart, instead if you are a lover of life you will find this book worth the time to read.

It drew me in from page one and held my interest sometimes in sorrow, when tears sprang from my eyes unbidden, and sometimes in delight for the little black cat held enchantment in its soul.

Ms. Atke held me in the palm of her hand as she laid out her story. It left me believing in the value of hope and miracles and wishing it wouldn’t end. I believe Ms. Atke has a definite talent for story telling that can only continue to grow. She weaves her tale so naturally, she makes you believe it is all true and if it isn’t it should be.

The book contains charming illustrations done by the author and could be read by and to children as well as enjoyed by an adult.

Highly Recommended!

Nancy Lorraine

“Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat” is a true story about a woman’s beloved pet cat that contains a miraculous element. Embellished with poignant crayon drawings and actual photos of the little black cat, “Charm” is a tender and gripping tale of a miraculous rescue of the lost or abandoned little black kitten whom the author found on a dangerous, busy intersection divider. Though their time together is not as long as the author wished, her love for Charm, her little black cat with six white belly hairs grows as the cat is encradled in her life and home. Due to a mysterious combination of unhappy circumstances, one day Charm disappears. In the most traumatic pages of the book the author describes finally finding her beloved pet’s remains in a deserted factory grounds nearby. She suspects some form of foul play in Charm’s death. Eventually she is able to ease her grief through a burial ritual for the remains of her beloved cat, Charm. The closing chapter contains the miraculous denouement. One morning in June, on the exact spot of the grave of Charm appears a tiny, month-old black kitten, identical in appearance to the lost Charm. The author begs her mother to go bring the kitten to her and he is restored to a healthy life with care, a bath, feeding and medical attention. Naturally, he is named Charm. Children and adults will laugh and cry through the experience of reading this brief, heartfelt book about the miracle of Charm.

Douglas R. Cobb

Who can resist a delightful story about cats? Charm (An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat) written and illustrated by the talented Leyla Atke has it all–it’s a tale about love, loss, and continuing on, despite the pain of the loss that exists when one’s beloved pet dies and leaves an empty, cat-shaped hole in one’s heart. How can such an abyss be filled? And, how did the feelings toward the handsome black cat, which the narrator calls Charm, develop in the first place?

In Charm, the author weaves a story that is, itself, charming. Atke introduces the short but sweet book by reminiscing, in the first chapter, about how Charm came into her life and changed it forever for the better. She has the first-person narrator tell of “a hot summer day in June of 2006″ when she “was leaving work for a break.” The reason she is leaving is “to get a new hairstyle” and she is in a hurry to fit in the hairstyle into her busy day. Such are the times when Fate, or God, enters into our plans and sometimes, if we’re lucky, changes them in ways that we’d never planned, but which bring a touch of happiness to our lives.

At a busy intersection, on the way to her hair appointment, the narrator notices “something small and black” in the middle of the road, among the rushing cars. She notices that it is moving, and she decides to see what it is, so she stops her car and gets out to get a closer look. As she approaches the object, she sees that it is “a small black kitten sitting in the middle of the road.” With the cars “waiting for a green light from both sides,” she realizes that she has the chance to rescue the kitten, and she takes it.

Even then after the narrator saves the kitten, she’s not sure what to do with it, and considers if she should just “leave it in the park” which is nearby. However, struck by how cute and gentle the kitten is, though it is dirty and its fur is “smelling like kerosene” she takes the animal to her aunt’s house. She, like the narrator, has her own cat, but she agrees “to shelter the kitten only until the evening.” That enables the narrator to return to work, think about what has transpired, and make her decision about keeping the kitten.

I don’t want to give anything else away, except to say that she does decide to keep the small black kitten, and to call it Charm. I throughly enjoyed reading Leyla Atke’s book, and her wonderful illustrations help give the reader a genuine feel for how Charm must have looked, and how the kitten managed to, well, charm his way into the narrator’s life.

Rita V

“Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat” is a children’s book written and illustrated by Leyla Atke. The story begins with a little black cat caught in the cross hairs of dangerous traffic, when the author swoops in and saves his life. The author brings him home, names him Charm and bathes him carefully. Charm is a noble beauty with his black silky coat and bright turquoise green eyes. After a year and a half, the family starts renovations in their home and Charm goes missing amongst the chaos. Charm is found dead in a nearby location, but what comes next is enlightening and miraculous.

I absolutely loved the concept and the plot. The illustrations were done in crayon and it looks as if they were done by a child. I liked the concept of the illustrations, especially if they were done by a child. I liked the photos of the black kitten at the end of the story. I think this is a great children’s story. The plot is well-organized and well-thought out. I liked the full circle range of emotions in this story from empathy, compassion, happiness, love, distress, grief and then to happiness and love again. This is a delightful and inspiring children’s story.

Ace Mulvahil

Wonderful little book of an uncanny tale. Leyla Atke shares a true story that you can tell she is compelled to tell because it is so filled with charm and magic. After reading this lovingly written book with its fanciful illustrations I couldn't get the story out of my head. The extraordinary other-worldliness of it made me wonder and reflect: what is life and what of it do we know. You'll like this book and will be compelled to share the story yourself! Nice.

J. C. Powelson

Sometimes we find pets, and sometimes pets find us. Either way, it’s meant to be! Based on a true story, in “Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat”, Leyla saves Charm from harm’s way, and the two quickly form a strong bond. When Charm runs away, Leyla does not know what happened and worries about his fate. She later finds what she thinks are his remains but still doesn’t understand exactly what happened to him. After healing for a year, another special kitty enters her life almost as mysteriously as its predecessor, making readers wonder if they were destined to meet. Resolving not to make the same mistakes that lead to the original Charm’s disappearance, Leyla treasures her new chance with a precious pet.I read book this with my eight year old daughter, who love animals, and both of us could relate to the impact pets and other animals have on our lives. Set up as a short chapter book, but sprinkled with the author’s own illustrations, the book may be read as a family or by older children who are able to read on their own.

Sherrill S. Cannon

This charming award-winning story of a little black cat named Charm is an actual narrative of how the author “found” Charm (seemingly dropped from the sky) and then “lost” him when he disappeared over a fence into a scrapyard and was eventually found dead. This hauntingly poignant story continues with the author’s remorse and sadness over the loss of her beloved Charm, when she finds another small black kitten – or rather the kitten finds her – on the one year anniversary of Charm’s death. Having the same aura and presence of Charm, could this tiny black kitten be Charm once more? According to the author, “…he still remains a little mystery.” (Leyla Atke grew up in the former Soviet Union and now lives in Denmark. The book has received both an IBA Finalist and a Readers Favorite Finalist Award.)


This nonfiction book tells a lovely story of the strong relationship between the author and her beloved cat. What starts off as a chance encounter turns into an unbreakable bond that is shattered when the little black cat goes missing. When Atke does find the poor little kitty, it’s too late. After much grieving, a new cat arrives on the scene and charms its way into the heart of the author.This well written story would be excellent to help teach children about the responsibilities involved in owning and caring for a pet. It would also be a great book to help children who are mourning the loss of their own pet.

Donna Calkins

I found this book a wonderful book in general, but also a great guide for us parents and grandparents to guide us through the hard times when our lovely furry family members pass away. I know when my children were young and we lost our furry family members, how hard it was for us to make our kids understand. I believe that Charm will help a lot of children understand the meaning. Beyond that, the book is a solid. beautiful, well written book. Very happy with the contents.

Denise Ziskovski

I recently lost my 16 year old “Angel” who was my Charm, my brother recommended this book, Leyla really captures the special bond that can form between Human and Pet, the book made me smile and cry, and also hope that someday in some way my Angel will come back to me.

Steven Brown

Leyla Atke’s book Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is a heartwarming story for both young and old. I read it to my 9 year old niece, at bedtime. This has become her favorite bedtime story. This book tells the story of the author and the black cat that became connected and were soon parted. Suffering from a broken heart , the loss is soon replaced, with a new kitten which sounds like the reincarnation of Charm, no doubt he sounds as mystical and magical as Charm. Heart tugging and magical, whether you love cats or not, this can relate to any pet. The book is well worth your time and draw you in. The book has received numerous awards, it will touch your heart and I recommend it to everyone.

Terry Needham

CHARM, by Leyla Atke, is a remarkable true story, with lovely illustrations, about a girl and the cat she rescues from certain demise. An enthralling tale of the deep bond of love that may form between a pet and their human caregiver. The story takes a heart-rending turn as the beloved cat disappears, and the owner eventually finds its remains. At this point the story is graphic, yet real and authentic, as it deals with life and death. This is essential to express the grief and loss the author experienced. Plus, it is a key to reveal how this story ends, or rather, has a new beginning. This lovely and heartfelt story will embrace any reader, and hold you tight. It will leave you wondering about destiny, fate, and the bonds of love that connect us. A timeless bond which links us to those we love in a way that transcends one life, the spirit, and the future; to reveal a common destiny we share . . . to remain linked to those we love, and who love us in return.

Alinka Rutkowska

This is a story of the author forming a profound bond with a stranded kitten, whom she named “Charm.” All was going well but the cat’s natural curiosity took over and he would eagerly explore the neighborhood. One day Charm was clearly missing so the author went looking for him. The cat was nowhere to be found.What happened next?Well, you need to read the story. You will discover the author’s profound thoughts on life and death, some incredible twists and turns to the story and yes, a happy ending.The author’s writing style is very vivid and she illustrates the facts with great detail. You will feel like you are there with the author, feeling what she’s feeling and experiencing what she’s experiencing.

Patricia Reding

Lelya Atke enjoys status as an award-winning author for her debut tale, Charm: An Amazing Story of Little Black Cat,” and for good reason. Opening with the events of a typical day, Atke tells of her discovery of a little kitten, dirty, neglected, smelling of kerosene, and lost amidst the rush of cars on a freeway. Initially, she considers leaving the kitten, then reconsiders. She rescues it, brings it home and cleans it up. Shortly thereafter, she dubs the kitten—which steals her heart—“Charm.” Charm is “smart, serious, quiet and calm.” But life can throw unusual things our way, and so it did to the author and her beloved pet, Charm. When Atke finds him missing one day, she begins her hunt. To tell you what she finds would be to give away too much . . .

The real “charm” of Charm, is Atke’s love for her pet. When he goes missing, something magical happens. Did Charm live on? To answer that question might well be to give away the ending—but this much I can say for sure: Charm does indeed live on—whether simply in the pages of Atke’s story, or for real, I will leave to other readers to determine for themselves.