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Author aims to get more children reading

Cathy Dobson Corunna’s Joy Kita is making the release of her latest children’s book a community affair.
Joy Kita holds a pair of headdresses made in preparation for the author’s visit to Corunna’s Colonel Cameron School this week. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

Corunna’s Joy Kita is making the release of her latest children’s book a community affair.

She’s recruited elementary and high schools, the Lambton library system and local artists to participate in her strategy to get reluctant readers back to books.

“So many books are written specifically for girls in the middle grades and there needs to be more out there to get boys back to reading at that age,” said the married mother of four, who has written two other children’s books.

Her new novel Fable Nation, from publisher Lands Atlantic in Virginia, is geared to boys in Grades 4 – 8, but girls will like it too.

It’s an interactive novel about Mitch, a boy who gets sucked into a video game and finds there’s no way out unless he beats all the levels. Kita has created quests based on North American fables about everything from Montezuma in a Mexican jungle to headless spirits at a Civil War military park.

“I realize that gaming is such a big part of our kids’ lives, so writing a book about gaming will appeal to them,” said Kita. “And I wrote it with a lot of humour, action and adventure.”

Sarnia Christian School has already committed to using it in Grade 5 book study, with the culminating activity involving an author visit with Kita.

“I had an author visit when I was growing up and attending Cathcart. That was why I started writing in Grade 6,” she said. “That’s why I really want to do this.”

This week, she’ll be at Colonel Cameron School in Corunna for an author visit, using a creative backdrop painted by local artist Leisha Jennings.

Tavia, Cesca and Karen Pasqualuci of Sarnia have made headdresses of the various quest characters from Fable Nation to make the author visits more fun for students.

“I want the kids to have something tangible, to see and try on,” said Kita. “My number one goal with this book is to have creative, interactive workshops and inspire kids to read.”

At St. Clair Secondary, a senior marketing class is using Fable Nation in a marketing project.

And the local library system has signed on to have author visits at various Sarnia-Lambton branches this summer. Call your local branch for times.

“I live here so I’m starting my authors’ visits here,” she said. “But I plan on pitching the same thing to Michigan and London area schools.”

Lands Atlantic wants to develop an entire series based on Fable Nation.  The first book focuses on North American fables while subsequent novels will highlight fables from each of the other continents.

Kita has finished writing the next in the series, called Fable Nation II: The Wilds of Africa.

A book launch is planned at The Book Keeper on Exmouth Street on May 14, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

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