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Travis Wirtz writes scientific 'Books by a kid for kids' and plans to write more

PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Travis published his second book, Our Sun and Other Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, in third grade. Travis Wirtz knows exactly what people mean when they say "reach for the stars." The Lowrie Primary School fourth-grader is in the process of publishing his third book about space, this latest one about the composition of stars.

Travis wrote his first book, called "Our Solar System," in second grade. A year later he wrote "Our Sun and Other Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy." His third book, "We're Star Stuff, But What About Those Rocks?" completes the series.PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Travis Wirtz presents some of the work he did for Were Space Stuff, but What About Those Rocks? at Lowries science fair.

The last book is about "stardust and how rocks, anatomy and space all connect together because we're all made of stardust, basically," Travis said.

Travis wrote each of the books, which are about 30-40 pages each, during his last three winter breaks. He did almost all of the work for each book, the research, the writing and the illustrations, entirely on his own. His mom, Denise Wirtz, only helped with the publishing process and developing some of the research questions.

Travis credits his ability to finish the books so quickly to his prodigious typing ability.

"My record for typing is 96 words per minute, which is insane," he said.

Denise used, a website that allows users to self-publish their own books, to publish Travis' first two books. They are currently available at Lowrie's library, but are almost always checked out, Denise said.

"We're Star Stuff, But What About Those Rocks?," is currently in the middle of the publishing process, but should be on the shelf at Lowrie's library by the end of February or the first week of March.

Travis hopes to compile all three books and have them professionally published with a local literary agent by the time he finishes fifth grade.

Travis has branded his works, "books by a kid for kids." And kids do seem to love them. When his friends check out his books, they simply tell him, in awe, "wow," Travis said.

Travis' favorite part about working on the books is illustrating them, because "The drawings are really fun to do," he said.

While fun, the books are still a lot of work for Travis, whose floor is covered in "stacks and stacks of copy paper" from his drafts and doodles.

Travis' fascination with space began about four years ago.

"When I was five years old I gravitated towards space because I thought it was really cool," Travis said. "I gravitated to the solar system as I really like it."

Travis said he wrote the third book, which ended up being his favorite, simply because he enjoyed working on the first two so much.

"My favorite book to work on so far is definitely the third book, because the design on the front was really cool to make," he said.

After the books are compiled and professionally published, Travis is unsure what his next book or series may be about. For now at least, he does see more "books by a kid for kids" in his future.

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