David Barron met his first captive audience last week as the published author/illustrator of a children’s book, “The Adventures of Bob and Red,” presented and read the story to a grade three/four class at Robert Moore School here.
The book, which the Barwick youth, now 11, wrote when he was nine, was a first-place winner in Landmark Edition’s annual National Written and Illustrated By . . . Awards Contest for Students in 1998, making him the fourth Canadian student to win the competition.
Being a successful author also runs in the family. Barron’s sister, Kathryn, was the author/illustrator of “Critter Crackers,” a Publisher’s Choice Gold Award Winner in 1994.
“The Adventures of Bob and Red” is a tale of an old truck and old tractor bound for the scrap metal factory and the adventurous trip they experience when they decide to escape from the junkyard.
But the book Barron read to students was a bit different than the one he submitted and won in the contest last year. The original manuscript, “Road to Freedom,” went through some fine-tuning last fall in Kansas City when Barron and his parents, Wayne and Eleanor, met with editors and illustrators at the Landmark Edition offices there.
The result—an eye-catching, more concisely illustrated version Barron received by mail just a couple of weeks ago.
“I was very pleased with it,” smiled Barron after the class presentation, but admitted to having a strange feeling seeing his story bound and in print.
“It felt kinda weird but [also] really neat,” he remarked.
Barron’s creative partnership with literary staff at Landmark proved not all is lost in the editing process, and that there’s more to a book than meets the eye.
“The basic story is the same [as the original] but we added to it to make it more exciting,” he explained. “I learned that when you are writing a book, there’s a lot of revising and lots and lots of work.”
Eleanor Barron said the text editors helped work in scenes, like adding a driver to “Red” the tractor and thus shedding some “light” on her son’s story line.
“David had no daytime scenes because he didn’t have a driver for the tractor,” she noted. “And the text editor told David not to be married to the text but to write a whole bunch.”
Barron received some 200 copies of his book, which are available for $20 each by calling the Barrons at 486-2665.
Although he is enjoying his moment of creative success, Barron said he does not intend to write another book for submission to the annual contest. But his future goals do include some lofty aspirations to join a famous company where writing and illustrating pretty much take the cake.
“I would like to work for the Disney Company,” he smiled.