THOMASTON — Resident John Charles Duffany has written a children’s book titled “Duck Talk.” Mr. Duffany was a language arts teacher in elementary and middle schools for 34 years and his wife, Kathleen, was formerly an elementary school teacher. The father of three, Mr. Duffany, who has been the family’s storyteller, dedicates “Duck Talk” to his five grandchildren.
Drafting the book three years ago, Mr. Duffany transcribed the original story from longhand into a hard copy binding that was routinely read to his grandchildren.
Mr. Duffany wanted to publish his book with Page Publishing, but his agent wanted to include illustrations.
His grandchildren assisted him in describing how his imaginary world would look, with every descriptive feature becoming a critical decision.
Although he and his grandchildren had input on the look and feel of the characters and settings, the publishing company artists rendered the watercolor style illustrations.
Mr. Duffany explained that the bulk of this decision-making process was shared with his grandchildren.
After receiving his final copies a few weeks ago, he hosted a special reading event with his immediate family, as they sat by the fireplace and read the story together.
In his mind, it was a perfect fairy-tale ending to his yearlong quest to publish his first children’s book.
“Duck Talk” follows the journey of Julia, who wants to give her mother a special birthday gift by teaching her how to talk to ducks with help from a mysterious figure, Mr. Wriggle, who teaches Julia how to speak “Duck-in-ese” and communicate with the fowl friends.
Mr. Duffany describes “Duck Talk” as a “fantastical, magical, family-oriented read.”
He is also grateful to introduce his own contribution to the children’s book canon, especially after witnessing firsthand the limited number of reading options for youth, even in Thomaston.
At one point, Mr. Duffany walked into the Thomaston Public Library to take a peek at the children’s book section and was stumped to see a limited selection, asking, “This is all you have for children’s books?”
A dwindling culture for children’s books may be due to the lacking investment in “children’s authors who cannot make a living,” in Mr. Duffany’s opinion.
He stresses the importance of reading at a young age, emphasizing the role of active learning for children, especially with the summer break on the near horizon.
With a sequel already in the works, after writing throughout the winter, he continues to follow Julia in her newest story, focusing on the language of animals.
The book, published this spring by Page Publishing, will be available for purchase and signing during Mr. Duffany’s book reading session at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22 at the Thomaston Public Library, 248 Main St.