Great authors (as well as not-so-great authors) receive their inspiration to write from many sources. But, authors also get their inspiration to begin their career of writing at varying times in their lives—anywhere from ages nine to ninety. This month, we have the privilege to meet a nine-year-old at the very beginning of a most promising writing career.
Brooks Byrd is simply the most interesting nine year old person that this columnist has ever met. But let’s start from the beginning. Brooks is the son of a former director of a levee district and the manager of rental properties, both of his parents in the forefront of local business in Pineville. Brooks, the second of seven children, has both a strong local family heritage and family support in Cenla. This family support has encouraged and opened up Brooks’ creativity and individual freedom to search and find his own path in life. Now a fourth grader at Hayden R. Lawrence Upper Elementary School, Brooks’ earliest memory is of riding in a 4th of July parade sponsored by the Gunter branch of our parish library system. In fact, libraries and books have always played an important role in Brooks’ life. For example, he likes to use the “maker space” section of the parish library, where he recently made an electronic keyboard using a digital multimeter, something this talented nine-year-old had to explain to his 62-year-old writer columnist.
Brooks’ life is both busy and varied in subjects that he is interested in. Living in a home with many pets, Brooks now wants to study and learn how to make robotic parts for animals who are missing their limbs, the burgeoning field of animal prosthetics. His interest in becoming a biomedical engineer stems mostly from attending Alexandria Zoo Camp every summer. He enjoys studying the different animals at zoo camp, especially the red wolf, which he noted had only twenty left living in zoos. In using “Doodle For Google”, Brooks choose the theme of caring for animals, something also reflected in his award-winning artwork that was displayed at the Rapides Parish Fair last fall, consisting of an eagle and a swamp scene with a blue heron. All of this bolsters his growing interest in his school science class, where his favorite activity there is conducting experiments.
But Brooks probably has been most influenced by the famed author Laura Numeroff, author of the series of circular tales. Examples of these circular tales includes, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” and “If You Give A Pig A Pancake.” Brooks’ mother, Jennifer Byrd, probably explains this literary concept best: “A circular tale is how a story starts one way and there is a series of events and then it comes back around, and it ends up like it started.” Brooks’ aunt Julie gave Brooks this collection of books by Numeroff early on, which started Brooks to create his own version of this concept. Brooks’ book, “If You Give A Cat A Kolache”, was written and illustrated at the tender age of seven. It is a parody of Numeroff’s series, and so impressed Numeroff that, in an e-mail, she paid the highest compliment to Brooks that an author could give. That is, Numeroff had inspired his creativity in theme of writing.
Brooks is now working on his next book, “Man’s Best Friend,” a story about a two dogs and a cat who are lost in this world and are trying to find their way home. Brooks plans to use the profits of the sales of his books to purchase a bearded dragon, and to have his own money.
Brooks clearly has a knack for profound creativity. He said, “I want to inspire other kids to write and publish their own stories.” Brooks’ books are available to purchase at many local outlets as well as via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Brooks’ mother hopes local benefactors will consider buying these books for entire school classes. Potential discounts for large purchases are available by contacting Jennifer Byrd on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BrooksByrdKolacheGuy. Brooks has a great future ahead of him. He is a real inspiration and a clear role model to all children throughout Louisiana, showing that any child can achieve their goals in life and should seek life’s many adventures that await them.
All of Michael Wynne’s columns have been compiled in a book, “The Best Of Central Louisiana”, now available with his other books on Amazon Books.