Shasta Sitton is on a mission to educate young hunters on safe and ethical hunting practices. The best way to convey that message to kids is through children's books.
Shasta Sitton ran into a problem a few years back when she wanted to take her young son, Wyatt, hunting. She searched and searched for children's books to read to her son to teach him about hunting. She quickly realized there is definitely room in that market. Shasta Sitton decided to write her own children's books about the ethics, rush, and safety practices surrounding hunting.
Her first children's book was aptly called "Wyatt's First Whitetail" which was received well. According to Shasta, parents "like having a children's book around the house that is as enjoyable for them to read as it is for the child."
Her new book, "Grace Goes Bowhunting" has since been released. I caught up with Shasta to talk about writing children's books about hunting, how her new book is being received and how she incorporated a little girl into the male-dominated hunting world.
What is the inspiration behind "Grace Goes Bowhunting?" Tell me a little bit about the characters in the new book.
"After 'Wyatt's First Whitetail,' was released, my original plan was to write a sequel. However, I kept getting inquiries from people asking if I had any girl hunting books. Of course I didn't at the time, and as a female hunter myself I thought that was unfair."
"I would have loved to have a book like this when I was a girl. Back then there was no such thing as camo clothes for girls or pink bows. Girls are getting more and more interested in hunting and I wanted to encourage that as best I could with a book to represent their hunting experience. That was the original inspiration behind, 'Grace Goes Bowhunting.'"
"In the book, a 12 year old girl named Grace goes on her first whitetail bowhunt with her mom. I had a difficult time settling on a name for the main character, so I decided to turn to my Facebook fans for help. I asked for suggestions and then picked my top three. I then asked everyone to vote on their favorite. Grace was the winner, and I'm very happy with it."
Some big names have endorsed your book, including Eva Shockey. Tell me about them.
"Shortly after finishing the manuscript for, 'Grace Goes Bowhunting,' I was lucky enough to be able to connect with Eva Shockey. She agreed to read my manuscript and liked it. She endorsed the book, and since has been helping to promote it on her Twitter feed. I feel extremely blessed to have had the chance to work with her. "
"Dr. James Kroll from Dr. Deer and North American Whitetail has also endorsed both, 'Grace Goes Bowhunting,' and my first book, 'Wyatt's First Whitetail.' There is no one who knows more about whitetail deer and he has been nothing but supportive of my books and the message I am trying to convey to young people."
"More recently, my books have been endorsed by 'Adventuress Magazine,' 'Huntress View,' and a few more that are in the works. 'Girls, Guns & Rods' also did a write up of, 'Grace Goes Bowhunting,' in their most recent issue. Women are becoming a driving force in the hunting world and they are very supportive of products that encourage girls to get outside. "
Tell me more about your process in writing children's books, especially about a controversial topic?
"When I sit down to write a manuscript, I often draw on my own childhood hunting experiences. Remembering how exciting it is to be driving in the car to your first hunt. Listening to the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees as you sit absolutely still. Trying to remember to breathe when you're about to pull the trigger. Those are experiences that are impossible to replicate with words, but I do my best to do them justice in my stories."
"When I first tell people that I write children's books about hunting I get one of two responses: 1) 'That's awesome! My kid would love that.' or 2) 'Oh! Does it show blood and actual killing?'
As I've said before, my goal for writing these books is to educate children on safe and ethical hunting practices as well as encourage them to get outside and enjoy nature. Knowing what a controversial topic hunting is, I chose to be very careful with the amount of visual detail I put into the actual harvesting portion of the book. That way, if a non-hunter happens to read my book, they will hopefully not be offended and keep their child from reading it. I believe that the animals we hunt deserve respect and I hope that comes across in my books.
Follow Whitetail Press on Twitter and Facebook to keep updated on the latest happenings or to participate in giveaways and contests. Shasta Sitton's books, "Wyatt's First Whitetail" and "Grace Goes Bowhunting" can be found on her website at www.whitetailpress.com and Amazon.
Shasta's books will soon be a household favorite that you and your little hunter or huntress can enjoy!