Ellsworth area resident's daughter joins her in children's book project
ELLSWORTH -- Imagine an alphabet populated by dinosaurs to see how far Kathy Klein and her daughter, Shanna, have come in educating and entertaining young readers.
The book project on which they've collaborated, with mom as co-writer and illustrator and daughter as co-writer, began with a dream nearly 20 years ago. It led to a children's book called "ABC Alpha-Soruses," which has now spun off into the new "Magic Dragon-Soruses."
"We eventually hope to be in Borders and Barnes and Noble (bookstores)," Mrs. Klein said Tuesday, indicating their latest effort was tailored to the specifications of such major retailers.
Meantime, the Southern Pierce County native would like to make the book available locally in the new Pamida store, she said. She's already lined up a book signing for Saturday, April 19, at the Ellsworth Public Library and her daughter has three signings planned in Washington, D.C., where she lives.
The younger Klein was four-years-old when she drew a dinosaur out of the letter "C" and proudly showed everyone her creation, according to the publisher's prologue in the new book. Numerous people believed in her visions and asked her to draw the remaining 25 letters.
In supporting their daughter's dream, Mrs. Klein and husband Donald applied for and received a U.S. Patent for an animated alphabet font. It took many years and a considerable investment before the first book featuring the dinosaur alphabet became reality. UNESCO Education eventually created an Action Research in Family and Early Childhood titled "Meet the Alpha-Soruses: A Program for Early Childhood Development."
Then, the Kleins hired an invention agent and got the work copyrighted. They attended sessions of the Minnesota Inventors Congress in the early 1990s, along with being interviewed by Discovery Channel Magazine. They soon took their product to EDSA International in Kansas City, Mo., and a gathering of the National Daycare Association in Minneapolis.
Thereafter, outside interest in their project varied. There was some coverage from local newspapers and a short-lived TV show, but the family (also including son Christopher) grew up and moved on. Still, Mrs. Klein was determined not to give up on the dream.
It wasn't until 2006 that she found over the computer internet a receptive publisher: Entry Way Publishing of Plano, Texas, she said. With the promise of publication realized, a 2007 style of artwork and an updated storyline were applied to fit the letter characters.
Mrs. Klein began drawing the book herself (she said last week she's done artwork since she was young). An editor and colorist joined the creative team, bringing what are now the "Dragon-Soruses" to the public.
Read more in the print version of the Pierce County Herald March 19.