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There is in Inner Southeast a new Childrens' Book author; meet the man and hear about what he's doing

RIKTA A. LEONARD - Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood author Andrew Root shows THE BEE his two published childrens books to date.  Creston-Kenilworth author Andrew Root has just published his second children's book, "NerdyCorn", through Simon & Schuster. His first book, "Hamsters Don't Fight Fires", was published by Harper Collins two years ago. "I enjoy talking to kids of all ages," he tells THE BEE, "Helping them to realize their strengths, and consider career paths." "Hamsters Don't Fight Fires" told the tale of a hamster who wishes to be a firefighter. Although he's a bit too short to be successful, he finally proves his worth by rescuing a baby bird trapped in a tall tree.

Root's new book, "NerdyCorn", tells the story of a science-minded unicorn trapped in a world of rainbows, sparkles, and honeysuckle. Although her friends consider her a nerd, she finally earns their respect when she repairs an array of their party machines that have broken down. Each book encourages kids to follow their dreams, and be proud of their unique talents.

Root has been a community mental health adviser for 13 years. He earned a BA in Psychology from Western Washington Univeresity, and an MA in Mental Health Concerns from the University of Virginia. "My formal education, and work with youth and adolescent behaviors, led me to search for creative ways to make impressions on them. I decided that writing children's books would be a creative way to impart positive messages to kids. You've got to get 'em young!" Root has two children of his own, and he says they both love books. "I visit the Woodstock Library and Wallace Books regularly with them, and I enjoy reading to them." He comments that he realizes the importance of a good book, both socially and academically.

"Great 'read-alouds' generally appeal to two age groups," he remarks; "Ages 2 to 8, and 9 to12-year-olds. I like promoting excitement about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] choices, making sure that every kid has a world of opportunities."

Root explains that he considers ideas for new stories all the time. "I'm kind of an 'all-at-once' idea writer. I jot down notes and ideas until they seem to support a story. Then I write a first draft in a couple of days, revisit it about a week later, and then revise it with input from my agent. In general, I focus on a word count between 350-600 words, depending on the age range of the potential reader.

"I'm always working with my agent and with publishers on ideas for upcoming works."

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