By Joseph Pratt
Local artist Adam Watkins has been a successful published illustrator in recent years, but will soon make is writing debut with “R is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet.”
Watkins is an Adams County, Ohio, native who graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2004, where he majored in Illustration. He has always had a passion for making pictures, singing the alphabet song, and for robots. So it was no surprise that the first picture book he wrote and illustrated is about letters and, of course, robots.
A description given by Penguin claims that, “The novel is perfect for reluctant young readers, especially boys, and gadget-obsessed kids and kids who love to know how things work (and robots!).”
In this noisy alphabet book, quirky robots are building the alphabet. Featuring robots making goofy noises from “Aaoogah” to “Zap,” this book takes readers on a unique alphabet adventure. Watkins’s silly illustrations grace every page and this incredibly fun read along is promised to have kids making noises and learning the alphabet in no time.
Being a citizen of West Union, Watkins says it influenced his career in many ways.
“For me, it was a sense of community, and as I got older and entered junior high and high school, the friends I made growing up, I still have. You know their parents and their parents know you and their parents know your parents. It is almost like an accountability situation, where you have a network of people who care about you. I always drew through school; everyone knew I had this talent and when I got into art school, all my peers knew what I was doing and they kept tabs on me,” Watkins explained. “So, in a way, you want to succeed for them. It gives you a view of a larger picture and community. This is this way for everybody, not just me.”
Watkins said that growing up, he always drew and while he was a good student, he sometimes had trouble paying attention.
“My formal editor is the person who encouraged me to write an alphabet book,” Watkins explained. “When we brainstormed on ideas, I decided on robots, because I wanted to make it fun. Education needs to be made fun; I know first-hand, because I was kind of ornery as a boy. I did okay in school, but I wanted to be up and having fun. When you’re a kid, that’s all that matters and as soon as you wake up in the morning, you’re ready to do nothing but have fun all day. I hope my noisy alphabet book can help kids want to learn.”
Watkins lives in southern Ohio with his wife and two children. Although he has never successfully built a working robot, yet, he did master the alphabet at the age of five. He is also the illustrator of the “Literally Disturbed” series.
“R is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet” will be released on June 26, 2014. Watkins will host a story time and signing event at Joseph Beth Booksellers, in Lexington, Ky., on June 27, and will be at the Books by the Banks Festival, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October. More information on Watkins can be found at his website, www.adamfwatkins.com.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.