Drawing in young readers

Area brothers honored at 2011 New York Book Festival for story

Brothers Mark and Jack Graber have had an adventure of their own as they help children take a journey through reading.

The latest book by the Graber brothers, The Swamp King, received honorable mention at the 2011 New York Book Festival, and they recently attended a reception held for all the winners, runner-ups and honorable mention award recipients at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan on Friday, June 10. Their book was recognized for the story-telling ability of the author and the potential for the book to reach a wider audience. The brothers both live in the Capital District, with Mark in Troy and Jack in Niskayuna.

"We entered that contest with the only book that we had," said Jack Graber. "When it took honorable mention, we were very, very happy."

The book entered into the contest was actually the sample the brothers had gotten from the printers, but with the deadline nearing, they decided to send out their only copy.

The story is set in the Florida everglades during a dry season, with Little Turtle setting off on an adventure to find water and eventually meeting the elusive Swamp King, who is an alligator. Throughout the book, children learn different animal species and their classifications, which include birds, mollusks, arachnids, insects, amphibians, mammals and reptiles.

This book is the brothers' fifth, and the second one under Journeytime Books. The first three books they did were commissioned by Owens Corning and were a series of environmentally themed children's books. The first book they ever produced was actually a story Mark Graber had written for his daughter.

"The next two (books) were less environmentally themed, but they all have an educational value that might not always be environmental," said Jack Graber. "All the books seem to have a journey kind of feel to theme to them. We seem to take the reader along on a journey."

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