AVON — Entrepreneur Charlie Kittle, 36, became a published children’s author nearly 30 years after writing the story. The Avon resident recently turned an award-winning, second-grade writing project into a 30-page children’s book called “Louie the Leprechaun.”
Kittle wrote the book as a second-grader at the now shuttered Tennyson Elementary School in Sheffield Lake under the direction of teachers Jacqueline Dembeck and Kathleen Whilhelm. He won a Young Authors award for the fiction, and remembers going to Lorain County Community College to receive his honor.
The story features a leprechaun named Louie and his friend Patrick, and their search for a place to hide Louie’s pot of gold from a giant lumberjack’s greedy hands.
Kittle moved to Avon Lake at age 9 and graduated from Avon Lake High School. The 2000 grad then attended Tiffin University on a football scholarship to study criminal justice. But then 9/11 happened and Kittle left Tiffin after his first year and joined the Army in December of 2001.
During his combined 13 years of service of active duty and National Guard status, the staff sergeant was deployed to the Balkans and Iraq. While in Kosovo on a security mission with the United Nations, Kittle was helping a community rebuild its school and saw how important books were to the children there.
“The kids gravitated toward us when we brought books,” Kittle said. “The way they lit up, they were so excited when they saw the books. They just loved getting boxes of books.”
The children’s reactions reminded the author of his own Louie story, which inspired him to find the 28-year-old project.
He did, reread it and slightly tweaked it. Kittle did the illustrations for his original story, but an artist with his publisher, Dorrance Publishing, did the pictures for the newly released paperback.
“Everyone knows there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but no one really knows how it got there,” Kittle said.
Does Kittle remember why he chose a leprechaun as his main character nearly three decades ago?
“I don’t remember where the idea came from,” Kittle said. “I’m not Irish.”
Do the veteran’s own children – Jackson Kittle, 5, Camryn Kittle, 8, and stepson Brandon Sullivan, 21 – like the book?
“They loved it,” Kittle said. “It’s something that’s forever; it’s a legacy.”
Are there any other books in Kittle’s future?
“This (experience) kind of spurred an unknown interest in me,” Kittle said. “I’m putting more ideas — life experiences and nonfiction — in writing.”
When he isn’t writing, Kittle and his wife, Anne Sullivan Kittle, enjoy traveling and camping with the family.
The paperback, published by Dorrance Publishing, sells for $16 and can be purchased on the publisher’s website, dorrancepublishing.com, or via most online and brick and mortar bookstores.
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