Not many people can say that they have written a children’s book, but Goshen College’s own Mason Mellinger can. This book, entitled “Shelby,” has been in the works for publication for several years.
Mellinger, a junior Communications major with a focus in film studies, moved from Crystal Lake Illinois, to Middlebury, Indiana eight months ago.
For a creative writing course in his junior year of high school, Mellinger was required to write a short story that was accessible to both children and adults – an entire family.
“I love writing stories,” said Mellinger. “I always made stories of far off lands and fantasy lands.”
He was inspired by stories he grew up with, like The Polar Express, and other children’s books.
“The story [I wrote] was very personal to me, because the character wants to fit in with everyone else,” said Mellinger.
His story is about a car that wants to learn how to fly, and Shelby discovering who he is and who he wants to be. The name comes from a Ford Shelby Cobra car that Mellinger saw in a car magazine. Mellinger says he grew up seeing a face in everything, so he immediately saw a face (and a character) in the car.
Mellinger is currently working on trying to get the book published. He is working with a student illustrator on campus, Aaron Bontrager, to get a rough draft done before the end of the semester.
Bontrager is a senior art major from Archibold, Ohio, with a focus in graphic design. Bontrager wanted more variety for his senior art exhibit, specifically, more illustration work. According to Bontrager, working on “Shelby” has been an interesting experience.
“It is a children’s book, so it has more of a fun feel,” said Bontrager. “It is partly realistic so things are recognizable, but has more animation.” For the cover, Bontrager has been experimenting with different styles of characters. He illustrated the cover and specific pages of the book by designing it on the computer, with the feel of hand-drawn artwork.
Mellinger and Bontrager hope to have the book finished by the end of the semester. The road to publication is difficult and competitive, but Mellinger is hopeful that things will work out.