By April DeOliveira
To celebrate National Reading Month in March, KCC is once again offering readings of its original children’s book, “Blaze Goes to College,” to elementary schools and classrooms in the area. “Blaze Goes to College” is a series of illustrated picture books following a young version of the Bruin mascot, Blaze, and his peers on field trips to KCC’s campuses in Battle Creek. The series is written by Marketing Director Simon Thalmann and illustrated by KCC Graphic Design alumna Sara Parks.
Thalmann isn’t the only KCC employee who has written books. Student Retention Coordinator Pernell Gibson, Public Safety Officer Chris Martin, Fehsenfeld Center Assistant Maggie Murphy and Marketing and Communications Specialist Krissy Stolz have all published books – and they have more writing projects to come. Read more about their work below.
Pernell Gibson: “Guardian: The Beginning” (2009)
This young-adult novel, illustrated by Gibson, follows a young man who is very angry at God because his mother was killed at a young age. However, he realizes he has been given supernatural abilities by God to combat the forces of darkness. The young man not only finds himself in the middle of a battle between actual angels and demons but also with himself. As a result, he is torn between using his newfound abilities in service of God’s plan – or his own.
Currently, Gibson is working on revamping this story – and the illustrations – which he plans to turn into a graphic novel.
Chris Martin: “The Dragon and the Toothache” (2017)
This children’s book is about a brother and sister named Thomas and Anna who, as they are out exploring, run into a blue-scaled dragon named Boris who has a toothache. Kids tend to bring strays home all the time, but in this case, it’s not a dog or cat the kids bring home – it’s a talking dragon. Luckily, the kids’ parents are dentists, but their work is cut out for them as they help heal a dragon’s toothache.
After he focuses more on the publicity for this book, Martin hopes to write and publish more books for which he has many ideas.
Maggie Murphy: “Sara Dippity” (2012)
This children’s book was illustrated by Murphy’s daughter, Mary Kate Murphy, who was in the fifth grade at the time. It’s about a young girl who is saddened by the loss of a loved one, and her adventures with a cardinal in her backyard. The story begins in black and white, and each new encounter with this special cardinal returns a bit of color to this young girl’s life, showing the healing process. The end includes a resource page with activities to begin the healing journey.
Additionally, Murphy is working on a series of articles about family history in Colorado, including one about how her great-great grandmother was forced to testify as a character witness for Alfred Packer, America’s first convicted cannibal.
Krissy Stolz: “The ABC’s of Birds” (2022)
This children’s book, which Stolz also illustrated, explores the alphabet with birds. From Albatross to Zebra Finch, the book gives the names and images of various birds, as well as fun facts about them. A bird is listed for each letter of the alphabet.
Now that this children’s book is under her belt, Stolz is working on two more children’s books, as well as two horror novels (her favorite genre).
It’s clear that KCC employees are quite creative. Reach out to Gibson, Martin, Murphy or Stolz to learn more about their writing via their contact info in the KCC staff directory at kellogg.edu/staff.
Read the “Blaze Goes to College” books for free online at kellogg.edu/blaze.
This article first appeared in the March 2023 edition of BruIN magazine. To read the issue online visit kellogg.edu/bruinmagazine.