Kathleen Krapf Kral grew up in Ashford, Connecticut. She pursued a career in chemistry, but left it to stay home and raise her son and two daughters. She now lives in Lisbon, Connecticut with her husband, their three children, and two dogs. Kathleen became a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader to share experiences with her children.
Stephen Kral (co-author of book 1) grew up in Lisbon, Connecticut. His dad took him fishing at a little pond by their home. The first time they went, Stephen came home with 100 bug bites, a fish, and a smile from ear to ear. He joined Cub Scouts, and one of the requirements for Wolf Scouts was to write a poem. This story is his poem in book form. Stephen continued with scouting and went on to earn his Eagle Scout Award. He is now enrolled at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is studying Culinary Arts.
This book is illustrated by my friend Kim Deojay. She has four grown children and lives in Jewett City, CT with her husband, Sam.
Local Author Turns Her Child's Poem Into a Children's Book
July 13, 2015
Courant Community New London Edition
Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
When Kathy Kral's son, Stephen, penned a whimsical poem about ice fishing for a Cub Scout project, she was understandably charmed. "For years I thought, 'oh, this would make the cutest children's book,'" she said.
Now Kral and her son are published authors of a picture book, "Cuz I Do It With My Dad," which she said will be the first in a series of books she plans to publish with Husky Trail Press LLC of East Lyme. The book tells the story in rhyme of a day-long ice fishing trip by a father and son, who end by bringing home the boy's first catch.
The story was inspired by Stephen's fishing excursions with his father, Fred Kral, said Kathy. The photo of young Stephen in his author's bio shows him holding up a fish he caught and sporting an ear-to-ear grin. "That was his first fish. He had a bazillion bug bites," she said. Years have passed in the meantime; now the grinning second-grader is a graduate of Johnson and Wales and works as a cook in a Texas resort.
Kathy said she helped coach Stephen through the process of writing a poem for a Cub Scout badge. After choosing the topic, she encouraged him to come up with a list of ice-fishing related words and find rhymes for those words. "It was pretty methodical," she said. The idea of rhyming verses came naturally to both mother and son: Kral said her own mother used to improvise little ditties as she went about her day.
Turning Stephen's poem into a 40-page children's book was another whole process, she said, but she followed her own suggestions from years before to enlarge on the tale. She structured the story around the events of the day, starting with waking up early and letting the chronology tell the story.
Like the subsequent books in her projected series, "Things I Do With You", Kral said that the book is aimed at children in grade one and younger. Her theme is how sharing everyday experiences with others – parents, friends, family – makes them all the more special. The next book in the series – "Cuz I Do It With My Friends" – is already in the pipeline being tweaked, she said.
Kral said she shopped around on the Internet before choosing a publisher. She met Richard LaPorta of Husky Trails at a meeting of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association – and then learned that he had been best buddies with her husband in junior high school. "It was just so coincidental," she said.
She found her illustrator, Kim Deojay, even closer to home. "I knew her from church, and three or four people said, 'go talk to Kim,'" she said. Deojay used both watercolor and colored pencils to create the simple, vivid illustrations, in which father and son wear matching blue-and-red winter jackets.
When the box of completed books arrived, "it was very exciting. It made my mother cry," Kral said."It was pretty neat to actually see it and get a whole box of them in front of me."
Kral is now shopping her book around the region. She did a book reading in the Slater Library children's room as part of the summer reading program, and she's booked to attend the Lebanon and Collinsville fairs. She's also hoping to arrange readings in schools, timed for the winter months to relate to the book's theme.
One of her jacket endorsements came from Stephen's former teacher. "She told her students "The boy who co-wrote this sat on this rug and now he's in college.' She was so excited about it," she said.
Kral's website is http://www.thingsidowithyou.com; her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2016 Kathy Kral. All rights reserved.