By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The world is a great, big place, full of adventure. Local author William Smith has recently published a book “Adventures of Jimmy the Little Blue Frog,” in hopes of inspiring children and families to experience more adventure in their own lives. Smith is enjoying his retirement traveling with his wife and writing children’s books. His passion for fun and family is evident.
“I hope to inspire children to enjoy travel, through the eyes of Jimmy,” said Smith, who credits his grandson, Aidan, with the idea for the stories.
Smith explained that when Aidan was 5, “[he] had a little blue frog, ‘Jimmy,’ who he loved and brought with him when he came to visit. He misplaced it, and went home in tears. A while later, my wife, Kathy, and I were cleaning and found Jimmy in the basement. She and I wrote a letter to Aidan about all of the adventures that Jimmy had while he was here visiting us.
“Later, we went to Georgia to visit Aidan, and he suggested that Jimmy go with us on our vacations,” Smith recalled. “He is a tiny little thing – Jimmy can fit in your hand. We agreed, and Jimmy came with us everywhere that you could imagine – the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Bermuda, Colorado…”
Smith and his wife photographed Jimmy on all of their adventures. After collecting these photographs, Aidan prompted his grandfather to write a book. Undaunted by the unfamiliar process, Smith willingly accepted the challenge, and found fulfillment in the grueling process of writing and publishing a children’s book.
Illustrated by Smith’s niece, Sue Panciocco, the free-hand and whimsical drawings add delight and fun to the story. Smith explained that with his next book in the series, he is taking a different approach to the writing process.
“I wrote the first book without any idea of how to write a book. A while ago, I went out and bought the book ‘How to Write Children’s Books for Dummies’ and I realized that I had done everything wrong the first time,” he laughed. “I approached the publisher the wrong way, and wrote the book the wrong way; I could have done things differently, so that it wouldn’t have taken me nine years to write the book!”
Smith noted that every book sale puts a smile on his face, as he considers the new homes and families who are sharing Jimmy’s stories.
Still, it is his four grandchildren who bring him the most joy. While Aidan, now 15, first helped him with Jimmy’s stories, Smith’s younger grandson, Henry, seems most enthusiastic about the publication of Jimmy’s adventures.
“Henry asked that I read my book to his classmates at Sparhawk School in Amesbury. I’m excited to be able to go in and talk to the kids and teachers,” Smith said.
Smith is eager to share his story with more readers. To learn more about Jimmy the Frog, visit www.pagepublishing.com/books/?book=adventures-of-Jimmy-the-little-blue-frog.