September 2007 Issue
In a children's world filled with the tales of Dora the Explorer and the antics of the residents of Sesame Street, Robert Bowers' books are a chapter unto themselves. Each incorporates timeless lessons into the story line, ranging from the importance of values to strengthening one's inner self, establishing a strong sense of family, reaching out to others and finding peace within yourself.
Weighty subject matter for a 7-year-old's bedtime stories, to be sure, but Bowers, a stay-at-home dad from Perrysburg, thinks there's a place for it. He believes that while books teaching basics –– such as colors and numbers –– are important for young children, and Harry Potter provides an impetus for advanced readers, there's a lack of intellectually stimulating reading material for youngsters in the 7-to-12 age range.
"I'm not saying that there aren't great books out there," Bowers explains. "But we shouldn't underestimate children. They have a genuine curiosity."
So, his mission is to cement the void with books that encourage children and their parents to explore crucial concepts through rhythm and rhyme.
In The Wish, published last year and based on the Seven Deadly Sins, an inquisitive hummingbird visits eight children and asks them what they would wish for if only one could be granted. Seven narratives present harmful traits; an eighth is admirable. Bowers hopes to play upon children's curiosity and establish a bond while parents teach and expand upon lessons.
"Children should be challenged," Bowers says. "They rise and fall directionally proportionate to the expectations of their parents."
Bowers sees his books as a "way to win back the parental influence" at the crucial time in children's lives when they begin socializing more outside of their family. Bowers' other books include If I Was President…, which emphasizes the importance of leadership; Where's Santa, Now? focusing on ways to be charitable; and If the Sheet Fits, in which parents are presented as real-life heroes.
Children's stories aren't the only literary endeavor Bowers has pursued. A decade ago, he was traveling around the country in a rock band co-writing songs and poetry.
As he has ventured through different stages of his life, Bowers has taken the advice "write what you know" to heart. It's apparent that he's writing about what he knows best as he describes his newest tale, The Joy of Having Boys, while holding his 15-week-old son in his arms.
After a span of sleepless nights that usually accompanies caring for a newborn, Bowers finds irony in the affectionate title. But for this dad, who feels blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with his children, it's just another rewarding day at work.