By day, Paul Clark is incredibly active in the community as a police corporal for the Durham Police Department's Community Resource Unit.
At home, he's also busy. Clark and his wife are the parents of three boys, ages 4 to 4 months. Now, he's adding children's book author to the list. Clark recently published "Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Durham" and "Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Chapel Hill." In the picture books, the reader follows Nibbles as he visits various landmarks and destinations in the area. You can find them both on Amazon.com.
"My wife and I have to be creative with activities to keep our three boys active and engaged," Clark tells me. "We enjoy spending time outside and learning about the world by being an active part of it. ... We make an effort to explore throughout the state."
And, Clark tells me, "After eight years in law enforcement, I understand the importance of education and positive youth development."
I checked in with Clark by email to learn more about his books. Here's our conversation:
Go Ask Mom: What inspired you to write a children's book? Was this something you'd ever done before?
Paul Clark: I was inspired to create "Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Durham" to encourage families to be active in their local community. I included real photography to help children identify visual landmarks, which are easily recognizable. This is my first children’s book but I have always enjoyed storytelling.
GAM: How did you come up with the idea?
PC: I enjoy reading to my kids and I noticed that there weren’t many books with real photos. I wanted to make a book that encouraged landmark identification. It’s great when we are driving around town and one of my children yells out “Look! The pickle building! Do you think Nibbles is up there?”
GAM: Was it difficult picking the various landmarks? Did some not make the cut?
PC: They are places that my own family enjoys visiting. I try to choose locations that are available to everyone.
GAM: How have your kids been involved in the process? Did you bounce ideas off them?
PC: They are my inspiration. I love reading to them. I started the Durham book when Thomas was younger than 3 so he thought everything I did was great. I showed him the Chapel Hill book now that he is almost 4 and he said “The page with the Planetarium is too dark.” I guess a lot changes in a year. I brightened the photo and he loves it.
GAM: What's your hope for the book going forward? Are there more Nibbles books brewing?
PC: I just released “Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Chapel Hill.” I would be happy to do one for every city. There are great places for everyone to explore. I just hope kids are encouraged to get outside and be active.
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