Local Mother & Son Author A Real-World Book Series
Of the list of reasons why a mom might grab a paper towel in an emergency moment—juice box explosion, runaway meatball or even a sniffling nose—to write a book does not rise to the top of the list, but that’s what happened in one local family’s kitchen.
When Kellen Montgomery, at age eight, declared a strong disdain for reading and writing, despite being a smart and capable student at Endeavor Elementary in West Chester, it was an emergency moment for his mom, Dwylett “Dee” Montgomery.
Fueled by her family’s value of education, Dee wanted to foster a love of reading and writing in her son. One day nearly a year ago, in a burst of sudden inspiration, Dee grabbed a marker and a nearby roll of Bounty paper towels. She began writing, right there in her kitchen.
When Kellen discovered what she was doing, he was immediately engaged, adding ideas and edits to the story. Through a common interest of wanting to help kids, the mother-son writing team authored NOT Invited, a compassionate and honest story about a boy named Kellen.
What began as notes and ideas on paper towels grew into much more. NOT Invited was released in late 2015 as the flagship book in an emerging series titled, “When Life Hurts.” The Montgomerys aim for the series to address real-life solutions for kids dealing with exclusion, jealousy and grief.
By design, children are drawn to NOT Invited even before opening the book. The engaging cover features illustrations by local artist Elsie Mort, who studies in the Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) program at University of Cincinnati. The animated characters easily engage the reader with warm thoughtful eyes, large print and easy-to-read dialogue bubbles.
As the story unfolds, the main character, Kellen, is grieved by a painful and all-too-realistic situation, obliging readers—even older ones—to identify with his heartache. An honorable bit of wisdom from an unlikely source helps storybook Kellen and the empathetic reader reconcile his suffering.
The success of NOT Invited has generated firm roots and a fertile platform for the future. Dee and her family started their self-publishing company, Kids’ Reality Books, and plan to continue their creative efforts.
NOT Invited has been beautifully received in the community. It is a legacy of the hard work and thoughtful effort of two authors who considered every possible detail of publishing. They even retain a Kids’ Advisory Board of a dozen students who offer a youthful perspective for their publishing projects. The board’s valuable advice ranges from design suggestions to size and paper recommendations.
An unexpected reward in the process of publishing their first book has been read-in events that Dee and Kellen have hosted. Such occasions allow students to use props to act out and truly feel the story. Both have been deeply moved by the impact the presentation of NOT Invited has had on students and teachers alike.
Dee describes the read-ins as the most gratifying days of her life. A teacher commented that the events have exposed honest dialogue that reminds her to see students as the young, vulnerable kids they still are.
Kellen, now a fourth grader, is very much a part of the company and the decision-making. “I like going to meetings because I like it when they ask me what I think about what we’re discussing. Sometimes I don’t understand, but the adults are pretty nice and they explain things in a way that I can understand,” Kellen says. He also admits being proud of his mother for the work she is doing.
For now, mother and son are devoted to seeing through the present momentum of NOT Invited. Dee says, “It’s our commitment to provide kid-approved solutions. It drives us to work hard to get NOT Invited into the hands of kids, parents, teachers, counselors, school administrators, churches, child care providers and anyone who has an interest in giving kids tools that build character and problem-solving skills.”
When you open this powerful book, prepare to be absorbed. NOT Invited invites you to soak up life’s lessons.
NOT Invited by D. Chambers Montgomery and Kellen Montgomery is available for purchase at Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. KidsRealityBooks.com