children’s books

Fan Mail

I love hearing from fans of Olive.

When someone takes the time to send an email or write a letter telling me that they love Olive the Woolly Bugger, it does my heart good and makes it all worthwhile. Recently I received and email from Ashley in Montana who mentioned that her son loves fly fishing and fly tying and the Olive books. He had written me a letter and wanted to mail it to me; Ashley requested my address, which I happily shared with her. A few days later I received a very nice letter from her son, Oliver.

Hi Kirk,

I rilly licke the Olive the Wolly bugger Book’s so can you think abbout a copel more Bok’s in the seires.

Oliver

 

As an author I haven’t received all that many letters, but this is one of my favorites. I wrote Oliver back and sent him a bookmark and sticker, but I forgot to mention to him that years ago when I wrote the story of Olive the Little Woolly Bugger I struggled with the decision to make the main character a boy or girl. Had it been a boy, his name would have been Oliver the Woolly Bugger.

Thanks again, Oliver, for taking the time to write. Hopefully there will be at least two more books in the future. Tell all your friends about Olive- that may help ensure that the next books get published.

 

App Update, once more

Beta versions have been tested…

Bugs have been eradicated (hopefully, every single one of those nasty little pests)…

The apps have been submitted to Apple for their blessing…

And now we wait…

In hopefully less than ten days, it’ll be launch time!

Here’s what the past 4+ months of hard work have resulted in:

Olive the Woolly Bugger

Olive the Woolly Bugger (paid version)

This is the full meal deal which includes the entire 41-page story, complete with a narration mode (or read by yourself), interactive pop-up screens, animations, and the game, Chuckin’ Bugs. The app price will be a very modest $1.99 at the time of launch.

 

Olive the Woolly Bugger Lite

Olive the Woolly Bugger Lite (free version)

This is the scaled-down app that includes half of story (22 pages). It also includes a narration mode (or read by yourself), interactive pop-up screens, animations. The idea here is that people will download this app without a second thought, and get hooked on Olive. Naturally they’ll then proceed to the App Store and purchase the full version.

 

Chuckin’ Bugs (101)

Chuckin’ Bugs 101

This game is a standalone app (included in the paid version of Olive) that will also be free to download. It’s a simple, 4-level game that will provide some challenges for younger players. Older kids may master it fairly quickly, but achieving a perfect score will take a bit of effort. The ‘101’ designation is indicative of plans for a more robust version of the game in the future. Chuckin’ Bugs 201 will have additional levels and a greater degree of difficulty, plus a lot more.

Thanks once again for your continued support, and stay tuned for the formal announcement within the coming days!

If you want to see some screen shots and more detailed info, please go HERE.

Long live the (printed) book

A recent article Angling Trade (March 2011) featured an interesting article about books and how they factor into the fly fishing industry.  The article, titled “Now Read This” by Chris Santella, takes a look at how books factor into the revenue stream of fly fishing industry. It also examines the technology trends in e-book readers and how that is changing the book industry, and to some degree the fly fishing book segment of the market.

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to books.  While I acknowledge the benefits of e-readers I still prefer the organic appeal of a printed book.  I like the smell, the texture, the physical cover art and the tactile ability to dog-ear a page when I can’t find my book mark.  I am not a complete technology dinosaur, mind you, and even bought my wife a Kindle for her birthday this year.  It’s a neat little device.  But I don’t want one.

Some of my reservation stems from the fact that as an author of printed books, I feel just a little threatened by ebooks. Not enough to cause me to lose sleep over it, but enough to make me to pay at least some attention to the trend.

For kids books, however, e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook are not the platform. Even as they build color technology into the readers, the screen display is too small to provide the experience of a large format, illustrated picture book (emphasis on picture).  There are e-publishers who specialize in creating books for the Apple iPad, but even that screen is small by comparison to an 8.5 x 11 or larger format of a printed book. Like any piece of software, an e-book does have the ability to build in interactive features to further enhance a child’s reading/learning experience, and I even went so far as to talk to one such publisher for the iPad. I was disappointed that the publisher wanted to limited the length of their childre’s titles to 15 pages and build in gratuitous animations that were limited in scope and didn’t add anything of significant value to the book. As a former software artist/animator I suggested interactive, animated games and lessons. The publisher said it would be too expensive to build those features. And that is the extent of my experience with e-book publishers for kids.  If I’m going to have my books published on the e-platform, I do not want them to be scaled down or devalued in order to fit a certain software development template.

Then I stumbled upon a Publisher’s Weekly article by Bill Henderson that speaks to another aspect of e-books that many may not have considered: the negative environmental aspect of producing these battery-operated devices.

Some think that the e-reader will save trees. Soon, according to a recent New York Times article, we will possess over 100 million e-readers. What a savings in our forests, right? Wrong.

We often think of the traditional publishing industry as a waste of trees, water and energy sources; chemicals and inks used in printing as bad stuff.  Well, more and more printers are greening up their printing practices by using non-toxic inks and bleach-free recycled paper stocks, etc.  I don’t know enough about the global practices of the printing idustry, but the manufacture of e-readers makes the printing process, to me, seem rather benign by comparison. From the Publisher’s Weekly article:

Here’s what an e-reader is: a battery-operated slab, about a pound, one-half inch thick, perhaps with an aluminum border, rubberized back, plastic, metal, silicon, a bit of gold, plus rare metals such as columbite-tantalite (Google it) ripped from the earth, often in war-torn Africa. To make one e-reader requires 33 pounds of minerals, plus 79 gallons of water to refine the minerals and produce the battery and printed writing. The production of other e-reading devices such as cellphones, iPads, and whatever new gizmo will pop up in the years ahead is similar. “The adverse health impacts [on the general public] from making one e-reader are estimated to be 70 times greater than those for making a single book,” says the Times.

Like I said, I’ll stick to printed books. I like reading them and writing them.

So go into your local fly shop and ask for Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride.  They should have them in stock, and if they don’t they can get them through their distributor.  Just don’t expect to find the Olive series in an e-reader format anytime soon.

That’s my story and I shall stick to it, all the way to the poor house.

 

Fly fishing books for kids

As popular as fly fishing is as an adult activity, it seems that relatively few kids are involved in the sport at an early age.  It may be that the child in question is simply too young, or that the parent thinks the child may not be ready for it. Whatever the case may be, the first step in getting kids ready for fly fishing is creating an interest, and creating that interest happens well before a child visits a stream or lake with fly rod in hand.

Fly fishing is a reflection of life in that regard.  Afterall, the young child who says they want to be a firefighter when they grow up doesn’t come to this conclusion by visiting the scene of a burning building! So where do kids get the enthusiasm for things they want to do?  TV no doubt factors in. Video games also have a great influence on kids, all too often unfortunately. Certainly watching adults and parents whom they idolize also fuels the creativity of children.  Books also come to mind.

Kids have tremendous imaginations: by reading books about topics that interest them children often imagine themselves involved in those stories, going on the same adventures as the characters in the books. If there were a book with engaging characters that go on fly fishing adventures, it wouldn’t take a stretch of the adult imagination to see that kids would identify with those characters, go along on the fly fishing adventures, and come away with an excitement and desire to create similar adventures of their own.

Enter Olive, the woolly bugger. Olive is the central character in a series of children’s books that are intended as a primer to get kids interested in fishing (specifically, fly fishing). In the fist book, Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive is just like the child who has never fished before.  She goes off to Camp Tightloops to learn what it takes to become a fishing fly (and while there she learns some life lessons that go well beyond fly fishing). After she has been taught the basics of fly fishing, Olive gets her first chance to take what she has learned and try out her knowledge for the first time in Olive and The Big Stream. In this second book, not every fly catches a fish, just as not every child will catch a fish on their first outing. However, everyone witnesses the excitement that accompanies the action when a trout is finally caught, and released! In the third book, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride, Olive (and her readers) overcome further obstacles and continue their education about stream habitat, insect life and all that makes the great outdoors so great! Kids will read the adventures of Olive and imagine themselves along for every step of the journey. They’ll come away having learned something and having had a lot of fun in the process.

If you have a child who already enjoys fishing, it’s a safe bet they’ll enjoy reading the Olive fly fishing series. If you think your child is too young to actually join you on a fly fishing adventure, it’s not too soon to get them thinking about the day when they will be ready to join you.  Until that day, Olive will take your child on fly fishing adventures right now.

Your child will be hooked on fly fishing with the help of Olive the woolly bugger, and if you’re an angler, these are books you’ll actually look forward to reading with your children.