KCC publishes “Blaze Goes to Camp” children’s book; meet-and-greet with author and illustrator is April 2

Illustrations of cartoon bears Blaze and Bella.

Kellogg Community College is pleased to announce the publication of “Blaze Goes to Camp,” a fully illustrated, 32-page children’s book rounding out a trilogy of popular titles centered on a young version of Blaze, the College mascot.

“Blaze Goes to Camp,” which will be released to the public in print and online in April, is a follow-up to the College’s award-winning “Blaze Goes to College” and “Blaze Goes to the RMTC” children’s books, both published in 2019. All of the books have been illustrated by KCC Graphic Design Program alumna Sara Parks and written by KCC Marketing Director Simon Thalmann.

The illustrator and author will launch the book during a meet-and-greet event from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 – which is International Children’s Book Day – at KCC’s Morris Library, on campus at 450 North Ave. in Battle Creek. The informal event is free and open to the public, and the first 100 visitors will receive a free print copy of “Blaze Goes to Camp.”

The new book follows Blaze and his classmate Bella as they attend and report on the diverse array of summer day camps available to kids on KCC’s North Avenue campus in Battle Creek. Thalmann said the new book is the best one yet, intentionally designed to be read aloud and with several interactive elements perfect for young audiences.

“The amazing art and character design of Sara Parks takes center stage in the latest Blaze book, which was intentionally created with younger audiences in mind than our previous books,” Thalmann said. “There are way less words and way more things to look at, as well as things to do, physically, with the book.”

Readers can be encouraged from the title page to “press play” to get the book going, for example, to search for funny scenes in an elaborate centerspread map of the College’s actual campus, and to read poems featured in the book aloud, among other things.

Parks called illustrating the book “a rewarding challenge.”

“It has a different energy compared to the rest of the series, and coupled with how my art had improved in the interim, I had the opportunity to update the style and play with layouts I hadn’t experimented with before,” Parks said. “I tried to put a lot of variety into the characters, especially, so that kids could have fun figuring out what animal was what and picking out their favorites.”

In the five or so years since publication of the first Blaze book, well over 10,000 copies of the books – including Spanish versions – have gone to print and been given freely to area kids, families, schools, libraries and other community organizations, and KCC employees have read the books to countless elementary school students across the College’s service district. 

Both of the previous books won regional Medallion Awards from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations after publication. “Blaze Goes to College” also won Gold Paragon and Best in Show awards at the national NCMPR Paragon Awards in 2020.

A digital version of “Blaze Goes to Camp” will be available to read for free on KCC’s website at kellogg.edu/blaze beginning April 2. Print copies of all three books in the series will be available for purchase in the College’s Bruin Bookstore for $4.99.

For more information about “Blaze Goes to Camp,” contact the author at thalmanns@kellogg.edu. For information about day camp opportunities at KCC this summer, contact KCC’s Lifelong Learning Department at ll-info@kellogg.edu, call 269-965-4134 or visit kellogg.edu/youth.

“Blaze Goes to Camp” was made possible in part by a grant from the KCC Foundation. For more information about the KCC Foundation, visit kellogg.edu/foundation.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at https://daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.