What’s New: December 15, 2014
Author Gary Karton Returns Home for Book Readings
“Different is good, it took me a long time to say that.”
Gary Karton, who grew up in Skokie and Glencoe, is a Virginia-based author on the book circuit.
“It’s so incredible,” added Karton, of the opportunity to mentor young readers through words, encouraging them to develop their personal best.
“They have so much potential,” the author said. “I just don’t like putting limits on kids.”
Karton, who “was a big daydreamer,” he said, grew up with a learning disability. The 1987 New Trier East High School graduate returns to the North Shore for a book signing for his youth novel, The Last Akaway at the Winnetka Book Stall at Chestnut Court, 811 Elm St., Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Karton, who attended Martin Luther King Jr. Lab School in Evanston and Glencoe Central School, is speaking to students this month at The Cove School in Northbrook, King Lab and Northfield Hyde Park Day School.
Karton said he wrote the kind of book his children would like to read.
“They asked me to write a book to have an unpredictable ending,” Karton said, of his children, two boys ages 13 and 15. “I wanted to write books that kids would be really interested in and that they would read.
“Every kid has special powers, which I truly believe.”
Karton, who, as a fiction writer understands the responsibility to offer realistic messages, gently reminds children that to be a hero doesn’t require feats that could compromise safety.
“I tell them, don’t jump off a building, you can’t fly but there’s something about each one of us that makes us extraordinary,” said Karton, whose career is also in global organizational communications and was reached via phone.
“Maybe we can say the perfect thing to make people smile.
“I tell kids that I promise that they’re smarter than me,” added Karton, who said, “I consider myself to be pretty average”.
“I just want them to know that if I can write a book or be a reporter for the Washington Post, that they can do anything they can imagine.”
The Last Akaway, is the first book in a trilogy which follows Brody Boondoggle and his big brother Jake on an adventure to save the last Akaway (a magical creature that helps kids connect with their spirit animal).
The Akaway protects the special powers of kids everywhere.
“When I was in third grade, a teacher I didn’t know walked into my reading class, called my name, and then led me down the hall and into her office,” Karton said.
“She asked me if I knew what a learning disability was.
“I said, ‘No.’ She said ‘It’s a gift.’
“She told me, ‘You learn things differently and you see things differently than most people, but different is good,’” Karton said.
Karton, said he was not bullied as youth, but just a quiet boy.
“I was more observant, which helped me a lot when I became a reporter,” he said.
Karton also wrote the 2002 book No Free Lunch: One Man’s Journey from Welfare to the American Dream, which tells the nonfiction story of Rodney Carroll, president and CEO of The Welfare to Work Partnership. Former President Bill Clinton wrote the foreword.
One lucky child will have a chance to be a character in Karton’s new work called The Rock of Sarraka. Every purchase of The Last Akaway until Dec. 31, will be entered into a drawing. Karton will contact the winner.