Baxter Owen Graham
Childhood is a precious time and thirteen year old
Baxter Owen Graham’s humor and
simplistic moral insight has inspired a funny and justly provocative story
in Old King Stinky Toes. His story pleads to the charm, vulnerability, and
courage of less than perfect souls. “Baxter likes to come in the back
door,” says his fourth grade teacher, mentor and illustrator James Martin.
"He has quick creative genius way beyond his years." One consistent
discipline Baxter enjoys is his empathetic desire to make others smile.
Baxter is an only child being raised by
his parents in Whitefish Montana. His parents Robert and Jackie decided to
Homeschool Baxter in sixth grade, and has recently returned to public
education for the 8th grade. Baxter’s inspiration is undoubtedly
encouraged and nurtured by his father’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit.
“I actually wrote the story when I was
7 years old. My dad gave me a base (a starting point) for the story Old King
Stinky Toes, and he just turned me loose!” Baxter liked medieval battles and
stories with good morals, hence the story came naturally! Baxter had it
memorized, and retold the story almost every night. So to calm the daily
storms of stinky laughter his dad transcribed the story word for word onto
an old laptop, but there it stayed, no longer used the Compaq 286 laptop and
his story gathered dust for 4 years. Then in 2004 they almost threw out the
old thing away, but no sooner than the story was retrieved his dad decided
to turn it into a book. When they convinced Baxter’s talented fourth grade
teacher to do the illustrations they were off and running. Painstakingly the
two of them with a little help from an English teacher and friend turned the
original story into rhyme. We really wanted to make the rhyme as true to the
original story as possible, so there was a lot of thesauruses and vocabulary
What has this eleven year old learned
from the experience of writing a book? “Just don’t let your stories become
refrigerator ornaments; there are many talented kids out there with great
stories to tell. Save your works and maybe someday you will have the time to
restore to life, edit, and publish your own creations,” says Baxter.
Baxter’s story is a wonderful example
for children and adults everywhere. A simple creative moment can be turned
into a popular story for everybody to enjoy! So save those creative moments,
nurture the good ones and do something with them for the good of us all.
What’s next? For now Baxter’s passionate motto is, “Just a Kid having fun!”
He has several works in progress, a collection of cartoons, another picture
book, and a fantasy novel which he has been working on for three years. He
hopes to complete the novel in 2007.
"Just a Kid
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