CHAMBERSBURG – Dogs have long been called man’s best friend, and now Levi Walter, a local author, is using a cartoon dog as a way to help children.
Walter struggled with anxiety as a child and preferred playing indoors with office supplies and writing small books rather than playing outside. He said kids would tease him or put him down over his skin color or weight, and Walter felt as a child there wasn’t anything in the literary world that could help him.
“There was not really any book I could connect with,” Walter said.
What Walter had was a love of reading and writing, making people smile, and telling stories.
“I was always really fascinated with telling stories,” Walter said.
Walter has created what he hopes is the first in a series of books aimed at assisting children (and some adults) with persevering through life’s difficult challenges. The book centers around a greyhound puppy named Camo and his bird friend Larry. In the book, Larry teaches Camo how to believe in himself through the phrase “I am strong and able.” Walter said he selected the phrase “strong and able” as the main theme for his first book because children find the phrase easy to pick up and remember. As Walter describes it, the book is about the general life experiences of best friends and the love friends have for each other.
“I wanted something that would really connect with kids,” Walter said.
Walter selected a dog as the main character because dogs are “something people cling to when they need a friend.” The name Camo is the name Walter decided he would name his dog if he ever owned one.
Walter wrote books before Camo the Pup, but he never published one. He said the inspiration for the project came from looking at books on Amazon. It was then, as he was looking, that he decided to pursue his dream of having one of his books published.
It took Walter two months to complete the book, revising, re-writing, editing and adding pictures to the story before production was completed May 22. He estimated he spent between 40 and 50 hours a week working on it, pulling several all-night sessions. He went through 10 revisions before the final product was published.
When the production process was complete, Walter had no money for advertising, which he said is crucial to a book’s success. He wanted to continue the series, but he needed a financial boost so he started a Kickstarter page to assist in starting the rest of the series, with a goal of $5,000.
As of Tuesday, only $10 had been donated to Walter’s cause. People can donate to the page until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. However, Walter said, he can restart the page if he needs to. If people wish to donate to Walter’s cause between midnight Sept. 1 and the time when the page is restarted, they can email Walter at leviwalterbusiness.com or they can visit his website www.leviwalter.com.
Not only is Walter planning continuation of the series, he has also been in talks with various parties about the possibility of starting an animated television series based on the book. For now, he’s most proud of finishing the book the book and receiving feedback from parents about how positive the book is. If the book can help one person or change the world in any way, Walter will have achieved his goal.
“It’s been a dream of mine to change the world any way I could,” Walter said.
David Barr, 717-881-7020
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