During the school year of 2012 and 2013, my son Charlie and his classmate Ben worked on creating a children’s picture book. Ben had started writing the story and asked Charlie—who liked to sketch—if he’d illustrate it for him.
Their teacher Mrs. Curry encouraged the boys to work on their book during recess and class time when their regular work was completed. As a result, the boys spent many hours in the ‘office’ just off the classroom. Being grade four students, boys on top of that, one might think they wouldn’t be able to pull off a completed book with pictures.
Since I do what I do, I offered to print the book professionally if they finished it. Sometime in April, they had all the material ready. I scanned the images, formatted it with the text, and a book was born.
The book was published on May 29, 2013. I bought several copies for each of the boys, then continue on with life.
Recently, when I checked my CreateSpace account, I saw someone had bought a copy of the book. The next day, another copy was sold, then another. In fact, since November 16th six books have been sold (including one this morning).
It’s interesting to see the rating for the book on Amazon.ca: #62 in Books > Children’s Books > Animals > Farm Animals (I just checked before posting this and now it’s #61).
My son, of course, is excited. I told him I’d split the royalties between him and Ben; the publisher wouldn’t take their usual cut. He was pretty happy with that. So far, they each get $7.02. I’ll wait until the end of the year to do up their royalty reports. It will be an added experience to getting published.
The Farmer and His Animals written by Ben MacNeil and illustrated by Charlie E. T. Smith is a simple story about how one farmer treats his animals and what they do to thank him. It’s short and it’s sweet.
The Story Behind the Story
One classroom, two boys, a little free time and a huge amount of imagination has created this quaint tale of life on the farm. A Farmer and his Animals was not a school assignment, but instead a story Ben and Charlie created because they love to write and draw. It was a great collaboration between the boys, one that certainly proved they can work together to get the job done.
By creating a book from Ben and Charlie’s story, I hope to inspire them, so they will continue to create, explore their talents and share their work with others. This book will be a wonderful keepsake, one to return to in years to come, so they can look back and remember this precious time in their lives.