KCC publishes children’s book “Blaze Goes to College,” illustrated by student

Detail from the cover of “Blaze Goes to College,” a new children’s book being published by Kellogg Community College.

Kellogg Community College is taking a “novel” approach to reaching area kids with information about college: Publishing an original children’s book focused on KCC.

KCC this month published “Blaze Goes to College,” a fully illustrated, 32-page picture book. The book follows a young version of KCC’s Bruin mascot Blaze, a cartoon bear, as he and his class take a field trip to the College’s North Avenue campus in Battle Creek, learning about college and careers in the arts, health care, STEM fields and more.

“Blaze Goes to College” was a collaborative effort produced by KCC’s Admissions, Graphic Design, Lifelong Learning and Public Information and Marketing departments to support the College’s expanding Bruin Youth Programming initiative. It was written by Digital Marketing Manager Simon Thalmann and illustrated by KCC student Sara Parks, who completed the work through her honors project via KCC’s Graphic Design Practicum class during the Fall 2018 semester.

Thalmann said the book was intentionally designed to introduce kids to the types of hands-on learning environments and careers available to today’s college students, particularly highlighting the offerings available locally at KCC. The book is appropriate for all ages, but was specifically written and illustrated to appeal to kids in kindergarten through third grade.

“The goal for the book is to broaden young students’ understanding of what education can be and to show them the types of learning experiences they can have in the future if they continue their education in college,” Thalmann said. “It showcases the many hands-on activities college students are exposed to beyond academics, particularly at KCC.”

To promote the book, KCC student and employee representatives – along with KCC mascot Blaze himself – will visit several area elementary schools during National Reading Month in March to read the book to students and donate copies of the book to each school library.

An official book launch event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, in the Student Center of the College’s North Avenue campus, and copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Bruin Bookstore for $4.99 beginning in mid March. All profits from the book will go toward scholarships for the College’s Bruin Youth Programming camps and initiatives for area youth.

Illustrator Parks, a KCC Board of Trustees Scholar, said her goal for the book project was to deliver engaging characters and a story that gets kids excited and curious about college and the careers they could pursue there.

“Part of that goal was also to educate children about what college could look like and be like,” Parks said. “I wanted this to be a fun book for children to explore.”

A digital version of “Blaze Goes to College” is available to read for free on KCC’s website at www.kellogg.edu/blaze-goes-to-college. Copies of the book will also be available for checkout at KCC’s Emory Morris Library and Willard Library in Battle Creek.

For more information about “Blaze Goes to College” or Bruin Youth Programming at KCC, contact KCC’s Lifelong Learning Department at ll-info@kellogg.edu, call 269-965-4134 or visit www.kellogg.edu/youth.

Pictured above is detail from the cover of “Blaze Goes to College,” the new children’s book being published by KCC. 

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