Author Exposed: Teko Bernard

I am proud to introduce and author who has inspired me by showing me that I can be a writer and create a brand by being diligent and persistent in following my dream. Please help me welcome my cousin Teko Bernard!

Bernard Design

Bernard Design

About the Author

After an exciting career in the sportswear and sports event market, Teko set out to pursue his lifelong dream of creating the original kid’s lifestyle character brands Elmdale Park Kids™ and Hoop Kid®. Elmdale Park currently produces a unique brand of middle grade chapter books & active-wear.

As a kid growing up, much like my book’s protagonist Bernard Jones, I always loved books and playing basketball. Two of my favorite places were the basketball court and the library. Both places were my personal sanctuaries that gave me lots of joy and peace. While also, unbeknownst to me was enriching my life. Reading was exercising my mind and imagination, while playing basketball was keeping me physically and socially active,” says Teko.

However, by the time I reached middle school and then high school, my involvement in team sports began to monopolize my time. I had gotten so consumed with improving and getting better at basketball, I had almost totally lost site of the benefits and pleasure that books had always provided. Sadly, this pattern of more basketball, less reading would continue until the fall of my freshman year in college when I suffered a back injury that ended my college basketball career. Two life-changing things occurred after this, I started re-directing my intentions and focus towards things other than basketball for the first time in many years. I began reading more and re-discovered the pleasure and life changing effects that reading books provided. Reading has helped me so much throughout my life, that I felt compelled to create the Elmdale Park Kid’s brand and book series.

The idea was to help advocate the importance of a healthy, life-long, balanced diet of reading books and physical exercise. So kids who love sports are also benefiting from the magic of reading and kids who love to read are benefiting from the thrill of getting out there to play and being physically active.

Elmdale Park Books are created to entertain, educate and encourage kids. We want to give them access to books about the sports and activities that they love. We deal with a variety of themes including: courage, friendship, sportsmanship and teamwork to name a few. Elmdale Park Books reach out to a broad spectrum of kids from all backgrounds and experiences and cover a wide variety of stories, subjects and activities.

Currently, Teko Bernard resides in Overland Park, Kansas, where he works on his Elmdale Park brand. Find The HoopKid From Elmdale Park (ISBN:978-0-9860593-0-8, paperback, $7.19; ebook $2.99) at Amazon. Learn more at www.hoopkidonline.com and www.elmdalepark.com.

Elmdale Park Hoopkid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A

What is The HoopKid From Elmdale Park about? The story revolves around Bernard Jones, a smart and courageous 12 year old basketball fanatic who is visiting his Grandparents for the Summer. While he’s there he forms a basketball team and goes to battle against the local bullies in a high-stakes, inter-neighborhood tournament, to stop the ruthless Victor Franco’s cruel plot to shut down the historic Elmdale Park and turn it into a city dump for his own personal gain.

The title indicates the book has a sports based theme. Is this a book for both boys and girls? Yes, this book will appeal to boys and girls.In factthere is a really great girl character [Layla] on the team who is smart, funny and athletic.

What age group does it target? This book is for kids of all ages, but more specifically 8-12.

Why will children enjoy reading The HoopKid? It’s just a fun and book. We mixed the fun of cartoons and fantasy/science fiction with the exciting realistic action of basketball and applied it to a modern day David vs. Goliath story. 

What will children learn from the book? Children will learn the importance of teamwork, overcoming defeat, community and having courage to stand up for yourself and others.

Do you feel the story could help readers deal with bullying? Absolutely. Bernard has to deal with bullies in the story. And serves as an example of how speaking up, friends and family can help.

What experiences did you have in your own hometown recreation center that were similar to the story? While growing up,me and my brothers spent a lot of our days at the local community centers and playgrounds playing basketball. But fortunately we never had to play in a high-stakes game to save any of them from being turned into a city dump.

In what other ways do you encourage girls to participate in sports? We have a great girl character [Layla] in this story who exhibits a talent and passion for sports. We have another character named Nina who will also be in future stories who also loves to stay active playing sports.

Are you concerned that some children will not be encouraged or motivated by your characters? Yes, but I look at it as a challenge. My main goal is to create interesting and fun characters to resonate and connect with kids from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and experiences.

What will parents and teachers like most about this book? That our characters are creative and productive kids who have hobbies, interests and passions that don’t always involve a playstation.

What do you have next for The HoopKid? We are developing fun interactive programs to support the Hoop Kid book including a Hoop Kid reading club, Summer reading program and on-site Hoop Kid basketball clinics. We are actively seeking partners to work with. 

Thanks Teko so much for sharing with us today. To learn more about Teko’s book The Hoopkid From Elmdale Park stop by Kristi’s Book Nook where he is giving away a copy of the book and a t-shirt.

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Author Exposed: Leigh Legere

I love it when I can feature a local author here at The Neophyte Writer! I am proud and pleased to share a wonderful children’s author who has written a Christian based book for young readers.  Her version of Noah’s Ark is silly, quirky and so much fun. I am giving away this book at Kristi’s Book Nook where you can also learn more about author Leigh Legere.

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TNW: How long have you been writing?

LL: I started writing in high school and decided to major in journalism in college.

TNW: Have you always written for children?

LL: I was focused on newspaper writing and then public relations until I had kids, and that’s when I became interested in children’s books.

TNW: What drives and motivates your writing?

LL: My boys, Chase and Miles.

TNW: Do you feel it’s important for writers to use social media? How?

LL: I think it is a great way to promote any business.  I’m not on Facebook but I am on twitter.

TNW: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

LL: My father introduced me to Edgar Allen Poe when I was around 5 years old – not exactly your typical bedroom stories but I loved them.  I like Willa Cather, she captured the Midwestern heart, and Jane Austen, she was way ahead of her time.

TNW: What writing books would you recommend to new writers?

LL: I recommend Writing for Children & Teenagers by Lee Wyndham.

TNW: What advice do you have for new writers?

LL: I always tell new writers to write down everything, even if it’s just jotting down notes in a spiral notebook…you never know where an idea will bloom.

TNW: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

LL: That’s a hard question right now since I’m switching gears from stay-at-home mom to empty nester.  I hope to publish another book in the next few years.

Leigh is a graduate of Colby Community college and Fort Hays State University, both in Kansas. she is a Jazzercise instructor and lives in Overland Park with her husband and two sons.

Thanks so much Leigh for sharing your writing experience with us.