A new children’s book series launched April 28 in Houston, and it’s unlike any other on the market.
According to Houston native Doug Gaston, his “Believe! Books” series is about more than just books. Each edition in the series will have a designated charitable cause to receive the proceeds, and Gaston said he wants to “help turn this generation of young people into true difference makers.”
At a book signing ceremony April 28 at the Houston branch of the Texas County library, Gaston and illustrator, Landon Kemp, introduced and signed copies of “Believe!,” the first edition in the series, which is designed to deliver a message of encouragement, inspiration and assurance.
After signing dozens of copies, the duo read the book to kids in attendance, with Gaston doing the narration and Kemp providing the voices of many of the book’s characters. Gaston said his books are built on the premise that “each and every life is exceptional, valuable and eternal.”
“The subjects will cover all kinds of different things,” he said, “but the goal will always be to teach a good lesson, lift kids up and have them keeping good, positive things in their hearts and minds.”
Gaston – a 1986 graduate of Houston High School – said the children’s book idea has been on his heart for a long time.
“‘Believe!’ was written 12 years ago,” he said. “I pitched it to a few publishers who were interested, but didn’t have the same vision I had for the books and the proceeds benefiting charitable causes, and a few others that just weren’t interested. And I couldn’t find an illustrator who could make the pictures look the way I wanted them to look.
“I got inspired to try again a couple of years ago and found a book company I really liked because their vision about these books aligns with mine.”
Kemp had also been struggling to find the right project and to begin a career as an illustrator. Gaston’s sister was working for Kemp’s father in Bolivar, and the connection between author and illustrator followed.
“She said ‘he’s really good; you really need to look at his work,’” Gaston said. “I was trying out illustrators all over the country, but then I saw some stuff from Landon and it was so great. I sent him the ‘Believe!’ story and asked him to pick a couple of characters to draw.
“It was like a miracle; it was exactly they way I had seen the characters in my mind all those years ago – only better.”