Local author asks youth to help write her next children’s book
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Ginger Kitty is coming to Steamboat Springs, but she needs help deciding where to go and what to do.
Steamboat Arts Academy Creative Director Celina Taylor, whose pen name is Celine Grey, introduced Ginger Kitty and her two dads in book one, “Ginger Kitty in the City: Family Pride.” In the second book, the little orange cat will come to Steamboat Springs, and Taylor is asking kids for assistance.
Kids can submit a character, including its name, its color and an activity to do with Ginger Kitty when she visits the Western Slope.
Before heading to Denver for graduate school last year, Taylor worked with kids at the Steamboat Arts Academy and led children’s storytime at Bud Werner Memorial Library. At the Arts Academy, which she helped start, Taylor always asked the performers for input on scripts and storylines.
“It was something that happened not really on purpose, it just kind of happened one day, and what I realized was, children have the best ideas,” Taylor said. “If we can just help them develop those ideas, they can see the reality of their idea, and I think that builds literary awareness, and it builds a connection to artwork or works of literature that maybe they wouldn’t have had.”
Three age groups can submit ideas, with slightly different criteria for each. Itty bitty authors, ages 3 to 6, and junior authors, ages 7 to 12, can submit a small paragraph while junior editors, ages 13 and older, can submit a short story and a photo of where the story takes place.
Taylor said a lot of the time kids create a character with their name and select an activity that means a lot to them. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15.
No matter how many ideas are submitted, Ginger Kitty will come across them all. The book can be as big as it needs to be.
Who should Ginger Kitty meet in Steamboat Springs? What is their name and what do they look like? What activities should they do together?
Submit ideas to celinegreyartist.com/children ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.
“That was the idea, to give children an outlet, to do something fun, out of the ordinary that wasn’t on Zoom and that was free,” Taylor said. “Everybody who takes the time to contribute will hopefully see their character realized.”
There are some definite things that Ginger Kitty has to do while visiting Steamboat, including ice skating, since the sport means a lot to Taylor. Ginger Kitty will undoubtedly go skiing and visit the library, go horseback riding and take dance classes at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. She’ll also have to experience the Western heritage of Steamboat with a visit to the rodeo and shopping at F.M. Light & Sons.
Ideally, the book will be released in the summer when kids are getting out of school and looking for books to read and things to do.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will go toward a nonprofit, although which one hasn’t been decided yet.
Taylor wrote the first book by herself, rather than calling upon others for ideas. The book introduces the main character as well as her friends and neighbors, Minty Mouse, Sugar Pup and Basil Bunny.
“I love Beatrix Potter, and my kids do as well,” Taylor said. “I tried to imagine a modernized version of that. What would that look like? What would the characters be like if we did a modern version of that? One of the things that I believe strongly in is cultural representation in art. Ginger Kitty has two dads, and each of her friends has a different cultural and familial background.”
Fans can follow Taylor on Instagram at @celinegreywriter.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Steamboat Springs artist Greg Effinger will be a familiar name around Steamboat this October, with multiple works in exhibitions and galleries across town.