Join local children's author Nina Halper as she reads her latest book at Loyalty Books

Petworth author Nina Halper and Sabra. (Photo: Linda Fittante)

by Tamar Lechter

Petworth children’s book author Nina Halper will be holding a reading of her book, Sabra the Long-legged Goofy (mixed) Saluki, at the newly opened Loyalty Books at 827 Upshur Street, on Saturday, March 2nd at 11:00am.  

If you’ve lived in the Petworth area for a while, chances are you might have seen Nina walking her dog Sabra, a large Saluki-mix who inspired the book, around the neighborhood.

Sabra the Long-legged Goofy (mixed) Saluki follows the true story of Sabra, who was brought to the United States in 2006 from Israel. Sabra was one of several animals who had been left behind by owners who evacuated Northern Israel during the rocket attacks that occured that summer. At the time, Sabra was only a puppy. Despite his turbulent past and long journey to Washington DC, Nina instantly saw that this long-legged skinny puppy was a “gentle soul” and brought him home.

After having her son, Nina was inspired to share Sabra’s story with children, especially the local neighborhood children who had grown used to seeing him. She found a children’s book illustrator in Serbia who had the right style to capture Sabra’s unique look and style.

One online reviewer describes the book, “This has quickly become one of our three-year-old daughter's favorite bedtime stories! What a heartfelt/touching yet entertaining tale. Sabra is clearly a special dog, and I'm glad we've gotten a chance to virtually know her through this book.”

Sabra was, as Nina puts it, “A creature that kids gravitate towards.” Like a real-life Dr. Seuss character, Sabra got a lot of attention for his unusual looks. Their story was covered by the local news, and Sabra started getting recognized on the street. He was hard to miss.

Nina and her son, with Sabra. (Photo: Linda Fittante)

At age one, his head was already higher than the dining room table. Nina jokes that her son was lucky enough to grow up with a pony.

After the original printing, Nina shared her book through local readings, farmers markets and events. Sabra was always by her side, bringing the book to life and helping Nina promote pet adoption, a cause near to her heart.  Unfortunately, Sabra passed away in 2017 at the age of 11. Nina continues to carry on Sabra’s legacy by supporting organizations like Human Rescue Alliance. The book has just gone into its second printing.

She also hopes to inspire other budding writers. “If you’ve got a story in your head, get it out!” she says. “Just do it!” 

You can learn more about Nina, Sabra, and their unique journey at her website. You can also follow Nina for event details and updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Join her for story time at Loyalty Books Saturday, March 2nd.  Nina will read from and sign copies of the book from 11am-12pm. The event is free and will feature a very special guest: Hope, a 2-year old Saluki-like mix, similar to Sabra, rescued from Oman.

(Photo: Linda Fittante)

Tamar Lechter

Tamar is a Leadership Coach, living in the Crestwood neighborhood with her husband and two daughters. She works with individuals and organizations in DC to uncover and maximize their strengths. She loves writing and highlighting women business owners. You can read her blog posts and learn more about her at

In her down time, Tamar loves cooking, crosswords, rocking out to 80s music, and playing volleyball. 

submit to reddit