The Current August 2017 Pride Edition

Page 25

The lessons Smith learned from falconry have extended beyond the sport to her writing. Perhaps that’s the reason why her book earned selection by the Junior Library Guild. Tales of magic and wizardry for older children are everywhere these days, but in The Gopher & The Erstwhile Wizard, Manteca storyteller John Rallios brings a creative touch to the genre in his tale of a talking rodent, a perilous quest, and the legendary Merlin of King Arthur’s court. This thoughtful excursion into Hobbit-like fantasy won a 2016 Maxy Award for best fantasy novel. “Through reading,” Rallios told me, “I discovered worlds of adventure that in turn sparked in me a desire to create worlds of my own.” But there was more to his desire to write than that, he added. “More importantly, I write to reach people’s hearts through the medium of the story. You can teach people skills and knowledge, but I think that story has the potential to change something much deeper inside people – how they think and feel about the world and themselves.” You can meet authors Linda Whalen and John Rallios in person this fall and help celebrate the art and lifelong influence of good storytelling at the annual Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca. ❁

august 2017

the current