A labor of love, 25 years in the making, “Sammy the Stone Finds a Home” by Carl Brown Jr., of Ontelaunee Township, is now available for all to read.
“It feels great,” said Brown on publishing his first children’s book and the only book that he has had published. “It’s been of those ‘bucket list’ things that I can now scratch off the list!”
The book began as a bedtime story that told of the adventure of Sammy the stone as he rolls through the woods and meets colorful characters while in search of a home. As Brown told the story to his daughter Emily, who was three at the time, he would add new chapters in Sammy’s search.
“Then I continued to recite the entire story to her over the course of the next couple of years. I then shared the story with my son, Ethan, who is five years younger than Emily,” explained Brown.
For several years, Brown attempted to have the book published by several children’s book publishers, but did not have any luck.
“So I decided last year to publish it on my own,” he said. “In part because I have a 2-year-old grandson, Aiden (Emily’s son), who I wanted to share the story with.” Brown’s children are now 28 and 23.
The book is geared toward per-school to first grade children and includes an object that children are often fascinated with; rocks and stones.
“I’ve always found kids to be fascinated with rocks and stones, especially if they’re colorful or uniquely shaped. I was one of those kids and I still can’t resist picking up an unusual stone if I come across one. I’ve always loved the outdoors, so it seemed only natural to pair Sammy with an outdoor setting,” said Brown.
Brown knew in high school that he wanted to pursue a writing career and is a former reporter and columnist for a daily paper and is currently a public relations and communications consultant. That does not mean that it was easy to be able to scratch “publishing a book” off of his bucket list. Writing “Sammy the Stone Finds a Home” was not too difficult for Brown as he had been telling the story for over two decades, though he did have to refine the manuscript over the years, but deciding to self-publish and what he needed to know for that required some work.
“I had to do a lot of homework on what that effort would take,” Brown said on self-publishing. “I had to find an illustrator who could capture the essence of Sammy and his adventures.”
When looking for an illustrator, Brown came into contact with a local artist who has illustrated other children’s books, April D’Angelo of Wyomissing.
“April and I hit it off right way and as soon as I saw her first illustrations of Sammy, I knew she was the perfect fit,” said Brown.
From there it was about a 9-month process to put the book together.
“April’s husband, Chris, who has a graphic design background, was able to lay out the book for us,” explained Brown. “He did a fantastic job!”
Brown then contacted Masthof Press in Morgantown, who he had previous business dealings with, and made arrangements for them to print the book.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product! Masthof did a wonderful job and they were very easy to work with. The book is truly a labor of love and I’m glad it’s finally finished!” he said.
Now the story that Brown told both of his children and his grandchild is available for all to enjoy. “Sammy the Stone Finds a Home” is available online at https://sites.google.com/site/sammythestone/, at Firefly Bookstore, 230 W. Main Street, Kutztown and at GoggleWorks Store, 201 Washington Street, Reading.