The best way for kids to learn is by reading to them. But there aren’t too many children’s hunting books at the local book shop.
That is about to change. Shasta Sitton, the author of the new children’s book, Wyatt’s First Whitetail, took matters into her own hands and decided to write her own book to teach her son about hunting.
Wide Open Spaces caught up with her to ask her a few questions about her process in writing a children’s hunting book.
Wide Open Spaces: What inspired you to write a book?
Shasta Sitton: Well, my husband and I were going on a pheasant hunting trip in northern Michigan when my son, Wyatt, was about two. I thought I should get a few hunting books to teach Wyatt about hunting and realized there were very few options. Even in those books, the kids aren’t actually doing the hunting, they are just along with the parents. Since I couldn’t find anything better, I just decided to write one and it became Wyatt’s First Whitetail.
WOS: Tell us about your publishing experience.
SS: I didn’t really know anything about writing children’s books, so I researched and started to submit to traditional publishers. Most of them rejected it before even reading it; I didn’t get many call-backs and the ones that did call back said that hunting was too controversial and didn’t want anything to do with it. So, I just decided to publish it myself. I created an LLC and named it Whitetail Press.
WOS: I also see you have some affiliates and partners in the outdoor world. What organizations have helped you along the way?
SS: Dr. Deer, Dr. James Kroll, is a world-renowned professor of deer herd management and has been in this industry for years and years. He does a lot with wildlife management and was a professor down in east Texas. Him and my father-in-law work together at drdeer.com to provide deer consultation for struggling herds. After finishing my first book, I sent it to him and he gave me his seal of approval which you see on the front of the book. He is a great contact to have in this industry. QDMA (Quality Deer Management Administration) is also an affiliate of the book, Sportsmans of Tomorrow, a non-profit that gets kids into archery, has been promoting my book and I am an administrator for the Facebook group Parenting Done Right Outdoors, which is a group dedicated to family time in the outdoors, specifically hunting and fishing.
More from Wide Open Spaces:
WOS: Any books on the horizon for Whitetail Press?
SS: I am starting my second book that is about a girl hunter which is at the illustrator’s right now. There really aren’t any books with a girl hunter. Depending on how long the illustrations take, it will hopefully be out by March of 2015.
WOS: Who is your illustrator, by the way?
SS: His name is Marvin Teeple. I found him on Craigslist in the Detroit area, actually. I had dozens of people contact me and I got really lucky with Marvin. He’s not much of a hunter but a fabulous illustrator.
WOS: So, what should we be looking for next on the shelves from Shasta Sitton?
SS: Well, I am still thinking of a title for my second book. Maybe Girls Hunt Too. I’m actually thinking about putting a contest on my Facebook page to name the main character.
WOS: That’s a good idea. So, why should kids learn the importance of hunting?
SS: I really took advantage of being outside as a kid. My parents are very outdoorsy, my dad lives to hunt. So, I thought that was just normal growing up but when I went off to college I realized that a lot of people have never been exposed to much of the outdoors, let alone hunting. Luckily my husband is an outdoorsman and we realized that one of the ways to expose kids to the outdoors, who normally wouldn’t get the chance and teach them it can be a great thing, is through children’s books. Parents start reading to their kids before they can even comprehend what they are being read. We need to teach kids the joys about being outside, whether it’s hunting or not. Being in nature and respecting nature can be taught through a book.
We need to teach kids to turn off the computer, turn off the cell phone, turn off the video games and just go outside. Kids are hunting at a younger and younger age and there needs to be a children’s book about that.
You can purchase Wyatt’s First Whitetail or download the digital version here.
Kids are hunting. They might as well have a children’s book on their shelves, and we now have Shasta Sitton to thank for that.