Education

Mom's book idea to inspire son's reading started on a roll of paper towels

DONNA CAMPBELL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDMoss Point native Dwylett Montgomery and her son Kellen co-authored a book that helped him develop a love of reading. The two will be special guests at Saturday's 'Reading on the River' at the Moss Point Riverfront.
DONNA CAMPBELL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDMoss Point native Dwylett Montgomery and her son Kellen co-authored a book that helped him develop a love of reading. The two will be special guests at Saturday's 'Reading on the River' at the Moss Point Riverfront.

Moss Point native Dwylett Chambers Montgomery and her son and co-author, Kellen Montgomery, will be special guests at "Reading on the River."

The event, sponsored by Parents for Public Schools, will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Moss Point Riverfront.

The two wrote "Not Invited," part of a series called "When Life Hurts."

Interestingly, Kellen didn't always enjoy books.

Last year, Montgomery watched her son, then 8, avoid school reading and writing assignments. The daughter of longtime Moss Point newspaper reporter Natalie Chambers Nettles, Montgomery grew up with a love for reading and the printed word.

She brainstormed for an innovative way to tap into Kellen's creativity.

"Kellen was in third grade and it absolutely broke my heart to hear him say that he hated reading," she said. "I thought I had done a good job of explaining to my three boys why reading and writing are so critical. Obviously, I failed Kellen."

Then the mom had an "aha" moment. She'd just turned off her laptop, so she grabbed a roll of paper towels and started scribbling with a marker.

When Kellen came home from school, she was still writing.

She shared her paper towel notes with him, revealing an entire children's story. Kellen began reading and grew excited about the characters his mother had created for him. Together, they completed the book and came up with ideas for more.

"Not Invited" offers solutions for coping with exclusion.

In it, the mother-son co-authors write about a fictional boy named Kellen and his best friend, Courtney. Courtney always has great birthday parties and hers is coming up, but Kellen is not invited. The story shows how Kellen works through his hurt feelings.

Among upcoming books in the "When Life Hurts" series will be "A Jealous Friend," which explores jealousy among friends, and "The Happy Memory Tree," which focuses on grief and loss.

Montgomery lives in West Chester, Ohio, with her husband, John, and sons Rayce, Grayson and Kellen.

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