Nanaimo-raised writer Steven Kothlow recently accomplished a lifelong ambition to write a children’s book and he said the experience has left him wanting to write more.
Kothlow, who spent part of his youth in the Harbour City, now splits his time between Nanaimo and New Westminster with his partner and co-author Bryce Raffle, a writer of young adult novels. Their new book is The Littlest Dinosaur.
“Because of COVID and everything I was thinking, ‘Let’s do something that can be fun and light and change the mood a little bit,’” Kothlow said. “And since I was younger I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book and I just thought, ‘Now is the time.’”
The story follows Ty the tyrannosaur, a dinosaur who has difficulty making friends because of his scary appearance. His fortunes change when he meet a newly hatched dinosaur who isn’t scared of him at all.
“The other dinosaurs ask the little dinosaur why he’s friends with Ty the tyrannosaur and the littlest one’s like, ‘Because he’s not scary and he’s just like all of us,” Kothlow said. “And then everyone at the end seems to not be afraid of him anymore and they all have a nice, fun time together.”
Kothlow said the aim of the book is to teach children to “not judge a book by its cover,” and that despite everyone’s different backgrounds, thoughts and appearances, “we should all be able to get along.” He said it’s a message he relates to personally.
“As a gay man it’s hard because you’re fighting for equality and all of that and I want children to be able to be themselves,” he said.
The book came out at the end of last year and Kothlow said all the positive feedback he and Raffle received since then has motivated him to want to continue writing children’s books.
“It’s nice to know that children are enjoying it, and not just children but teenagers and even adults and even elderly seniors enjoy it so it makes me very happy,” Kothlow said. “And it’s bringing families together, which is also a nice thing.”
The Littlest Dinosaur is available here.