When eight-year-old Dillon Helbig finished writing his book, The Adventures of Crismis by Dillon Helbig, in mid-December, he wanted everyone to read it. The only problem was that he didn’t have an agent.
So he decided to self-publish. During a visit with his grandmother to the Lake Hazel branch of the Ada Community Library in Boise, Idaho, Dillon quietly placed his book, signed “by Dillon himself”, on a nearby shelf.
“I’m always sneaky, like how I get chocolate,” Dillon told the KTVB television station about the undercover operation.
“There were a lot of librarians I had to bypass, so do you know what I did? I covered that part and covered the back with my body and just slid it in and started walking and then I got into that aisle – no, wait, that aisle – and then I put my book right here. Wait, right here.
The 81-page book details the adventures that ensue after the star explodes on a Christmas tree that Dillon is decorating. Dillon is transported into a portal and travels back in time to the very first Thanksgiving and the North Pole.
“It was all a little crazy,” admitted the second-grader.
A few days later, when Dillon came to check on the book, he noticed that it was missing. His mother called the library.
“His parents were worried that we would find his book and get rid of it,” said Lake Hazel Library branch manager Alex Hartman. “Which was an unfounded fear, because if there was ever a place a book would be safe, it would be here.”
It turns out that Hartman and his colleagues discovered Dillon’s book in the “stories” section and read it, including to Hartman. six year old son.
“Dillon’s book definitely fits all the criteria we look for to include a book in our collection,” Hartman said. And so, with Dillon’s permission, the library pasted and cataloged the book and placed it with its adult, teen, and children’s graphic novel collections.
On Saturday, The Adventures of Crismis by Dillon Helbig had a waiting list of 55 people. Hartman has been in discussion with Dillon’s mother on creating a digital copy.
“We just hope that…kids will find inspiration to write their own stories and share them with other people,” Hartman said. Recount the Washington Post. “I just think it’s a good demonstration to share with other kids.”
Dillon received the Library’s Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist, a category created for him and named after the Library’s owl mascot.
The young author has announced that a sequel is in the works, this time about a visit from the Grinch and also featuring Dillon’s dog, Rusty.
He is also writing a book about a jacket closet, based on Dillon notedon a true story from her kindergarten days.