Kowall: Michigan illustrators/publishers celebrate March is Reading Month by donating books to schools

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Mike Kowall announced Wednesday that he is helping coordinate the distribution of a beloved children’s book to schools across the state for March is Reading Month.

Kowall said that Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, publishers of the New York Times best-selling In the Woods book series, are donating 2,000 copies of A Pirate’s Quest (for his family heirloom peg leg) to Michigan schools.

“I am delighted to hear such a widely known and successful book series has been donated to the children of Michigan for our annual March is Reading Month event,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “The children around the state are going to be very excited to get their hands on the In the Woods series.”

A Pirate’s Quest, written by Laura Sams and Robert Sams and illustrated by Heiner Hertling, uses wildlife paintings to tell the tale of a one-legged pirate and his quest to find a peg leg—a family heirloom passed down from his grandpappy to his pappy to him. He loses the peg leg on a tiny lake far from the sea. To find it, he must follow the moving water, from the lakes to the rivers and eventually out to the ocean.

“We feel that blending gentle lessons of nature with a pirate is a fun way to celebrate the Michigan tradition March is Reading Month,” Carl Sams said. “We are thankful for Senator Mike Kowall and his staff for orchestrating the distribution of the books to the schools.

“Teaching kids about nature and an appreciation of books is important to us. Our pirate travels through many different ecosystems along his way to find his peg. Our goal was to show children how water connects life around the world.”

Hertling, an award-winning painter and host of the PBS television show, Your Brush With Nature, painted more than fifty original oil paintings for the book.

“Adding a pirate to my usual nature-based scenes was a great challenge,” Heiner said. “I want this book to be something that children will love for the story, nature lovers will love for the nature, and artists will love for the art.”

The book is based on a song that authors Laura and Robert Sams wrote for a new educational movie about moving water called The Riddle in a Bottle.

“We recorded The Peg Leg Song first,” Laura Sams said, “and later realized that it would make a great story for a children’s book.”

Laura and Robert Sams are sister/brother wildlife filmmakers who directed Carl Sams’ and Stoick’s Lost in the Woods: The Movie, First Snow in the Woods: The Movie and Stranger in the Woods: The Movie. They have won dozens of awards, including the coveted Wild Screen Panda Award for Lost in the Woods: The Movie for best children’s wildlife film worldwide.

Publishers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick are a husband/wife team known for their beautiful photography of North American animals, especially the white-tailed deer. Their photography was the inspiration to write and self-publish three award-winning children’s books: Stranger in the Woods, Lost in the Woods and First Snow in the Woods. All three books share gentle lessons about nature and intimate photographs of animals throughout the seasons.

A Pirate’s Quest is available for $19.95 at www.strangerinthewoods.com.

Note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This and other photos are also available by clicking Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.