By BRETT ABRAMS | Intern
Palisadian mother Robin Afrasiabi recently published “Little Luke and the Littlest Labradoodle,” the second installment of her early age chapter book series.
Afrasiabi published the first book in the series, “Little Luke and the Ghoster Coaster,” in 2017 after attending the Marquez Charter Elementary School Book Fair with her son. Afrasiabi shared that she felt something was missing from the material available for young boys to read.
“There are not a lot of books out there for little boys with a pure, good and relatable boy protagonist,” Afrasiabi said.
Afrasiabi noticed that most of the young male protagonists in the early chapter book market exhibit naughty and mischievous behavior. Afrasiabi wanted to stray away from that stereotype.
“Not all boys ages 5 to 8 have that naughty streak in them,” she shared. “They can be good—they’re not perfect—but they can be good.”
The story is centered around an ambitious 8-year-old protagonist, Little Luke, who embarks on a seven-day journey to grow one inch before his birthday celebration at Adventure Land in order to meet the height requirement for the Ghoster Coaster—the roller coaster ride Luke has been craving to ride.
The first book in the Little Luke series received high praise from both parents and students.
“I had kids and parents coming up to me saying that their kid took their own piggy bank money to go buy the book,” Afrasiabi said.
“Little Luke and the Ghoster Coaster” even made an appearance at the Marquez Book Fair, the very event which prompted the series.
Afrasiabi published the second installment of the Little Luke series, “Little Luke and the Littlest Labradoodle,” in October 2020. Little Luke, now 8 years old, finds himself begging his parents for a dog. Despite his own confidence, Luke’s parents question his ability to take on such a challenging endeavor.
When Luke gets the chance to take care of his neighbor’s dog, he sees the opportunity to prove to his parents that he is prepared to handle the responsibility of owning a dog of his own.
“This topic is pretty universal,” Afrasiabi said. “It’s not very hard to think of how many kids ask their parents for a dog on a regular basis.”
With “Little Luke and the Littlest Labradoodle,” Afrasiabi shared that she hopes to convey an important lesson to the many young kids who experience the same situation as the protagonist: “There’s a time for everything and there’s an age for everything; just enjoy the age you are.”
Having previously worked in the publishing business, Afrasiabi knew the steps to take in order to successfully self-publish her work. Despite her prior knowledge in the field, Afrasiabi found self-publishing more challenging than simply signing a contract with a publishing house.
Along with a more expensive upfront cost, Afrasiabi took on various roles in the publishing process, such as acting as her own editor and distributor. Afrasiabi shared she is glad to have endured the hardship of self-publishing, as it allowed her to engage with her audience more intimately.
For Afrasiabi, the most rewarding aspect of writing and self-publishing her book was “getting that first-hand feedback and being able to see the response from kids.”
Afrasiabi recently started working on a new series intended for a slightly older demographic. The story focuses on a father-daughter duo who use STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—to solve mysteries.
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