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Local author Brent Anderson released children’s Christmas book Thursday

Modified: Friday, Nov 2nd, 2012

Photo/ Bud Patterson - The Anderson family: Caleb, left, Brent, Joylene, Faith and Abigail. Each member was instrumental in completing Wee Three Kings.

YODER – If your mother/wife/girlfriend has already finished your Christmas shopping for you, I have a gift idea for you to show your undying appreciation for a job well done. If you are like the 99 percent of us that hasn’t even started thinking about Christmas shopping (after all, there are 54 days until Christmas Eve, which in my house is the busiest shopping day of the year), I have an early gift suggestion for your entire family.

Wee Three Kings, a Christmas book written by Yoder author Brent Anderson, is the perfect early Christmas gift to give to your family, your shopping elves or to yourself. The book is written for any child age 8 to 80 who loves Christmas and doesn’t blanch at the thought of “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”

The book follows the adventures of four clay figurines, the three wise men of New Testament fame, and their camel. One day a year on Christmas, the figurines come to life as protagonists to help resolve a conflict facing their current possessor.

Each chapter ends as a cliffhanger that leaves the reader eager for the next chapter. Though it is 198 pages in length, Wee Three Kings is an easy read to get through in just a few nights, whether you are reading it to your kids or for you own enjoyment.

Wee Three Kings is Anderson’s first book. He came up with the story idea five years ago during the Christmas holiday. Anderson was humming along with the Christmas songs playing on the radio when the song “We Three Kings” started playing. “I thought,” said Anderson, “what if they were wee three kings?’’

The thought stuck and led him to write a short story as a Christmas present for his kids.

“Well, it started as a short story,” he recalled. “But new ideas and other scenes kept coming to me, and it began to grow. I wanted the book to be an allegory about human beings growing to know God and understanding their purpose and at times struggling with their faith and the purpose laid out in front of them.”

Though not opposed to stories of Santa Claus and flying reindeer, Anderson said he wanted a story that took a different track and looked at the struggles people face through different eyes.

He also pointed out the book was truly a family effort. Though Anderson did most of the inside artwork, all three of his kids, Faith, who is the youngest, Abigail, in the middle, and Caleb, the oldest, all contributed artwork that is included in the book. Anderson’s wife Joylene helped with proofreading and editing during the months of writing and rewriting.

Chuck Gillies, who has done cover artwork for Max Lucado, Cabela’s and Reader’s Digest, however, did the cover art. Anderson and Gillies started a correspondence through Gillies’ website, and, once he read the manuscript for Wee Three Kings, he was excited to do the cover art. Over 300 hours were put into the detail expressed in the cover art for the book.

All along the process, Anderson knew he wanted to self-publish Wee Three Kings. CreateSpace, an online publishing company for independent writers and an Amazon company, assisted Anderson on cover design, creation of the cover font, internal formatting, internal picture placement and every aspect of the publishing process that would have normally been done by a publishing house. Wee Three Kings will be available locally at Main Street Market in Torrington, Plaza Foods in Scottsbluff, Neb. and Book Nook in Scottsbluff. Online the book can be purchased digitally or in paperback from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

With the help of current Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, who is helping promote the book, all proceeds from the sales of Wee Three Kings during the month of November will be donated to three nonprofit organizations: Show Hope, The Way by Croatian Relief Services and Cirrus House, Inc., where Anderson is the executive director.

“I feel like this story has been such a blessing, and I just want to use it to bless others. I shared the idea of using my grand release to raise funds for three nonprofits with Ms. Scanlan and she was immediately excited and on board with the idea,” Anderson said.

He met Scanlan during a previous promotion for Cirrus House.

“I chose three nonprofits to go with the three kings theme,’ Anderson explained, “and because these nonprofits have missions that are reflected in the characters or storylines of the book.”

Show Hope was started by singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife to serve orphans around the world and to help facilitate adoptions. One of the characters of Wee Three Kings starts out in an orphanage, and his adoption is one of the key storylines where readers see God’s hand guiding the events.

Scanlan raises ongoing funds for an orphanage in Haiti run by the U.S.-based Croatian Relief Services organization, and the book will help her continue that effort.

“I selected Cirrus House, Inc., where I work as executive director, for obvious reasons but also because one of the heroes in Wee Three Kings is a homeless man with schizophrenia named Charlie,” explained Anderson.

Cirrus House, Inc. is a nonprofit that uses work as a catalyst to help people reclaim their lives from the effects of mental illness. Anderson has worked as executive director since 2008 and said the thing he loves most about the job is working with the people and the sincere friendships he has developed with the people they help.

“Wee Three Kings is already a success with everything we have accomplished together as a family. God has already blessed us through this book. I look forward to sharing the book and the blessings it holds with the rest of the world, and I am praying for huge blessings for our three charities,” Anderson said with a smile.

So if you haven’t filled your Christmas stockings yet, Wee Three Kings is the perfect early Christmas gift to give yourself, your family or anyone else that may need a holiday lift.

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