Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Author Says Kids Offered Advice on Book

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Author Says Kids Offered Advice on Book

Article excerpt

"The Last Akaway"

By Gary Karton

(ages 8 to 12).

What is your spirit animal? Is it a rhinoceros beetle, a bug that can lift 850 times its weight? Is it a determined and catlike spotted ocelot that will fight to the death? Or maybe a rainbow trout, with its keen sense of direction? According to the legend in Gary Karton's kids book "The Last Akaway," all kids have spirit animals that give them magical animal-like powers.

Mr. Karton's book, the first in a trilogy, follows two brothers as they seek to save the Akaway, a magical animal that helps kids connect with their spirit animal. The adventure through snowy woods includes a talking crab, but Mr. Karton drew a lot of his inspiration from real-life experiences. The main characters are named after his sons, and he sought to make the dialogue realistic, like something he would hear his children say.

"I never really thought about writing kids books until I was reading with my kids," said Mr. Karton, who lives in Arlington, Va. …

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