His wife, Corrie soon recognized how talented her husband was, and encouraged the father of two to think seriously about writing children’s books.
“The reason that I knew his stories were really good is that all his stories had a message. No matter what characters Colton wanted, Larry would create this story with an action sport, plus a message. And then Colton would say, ‘Mom, how about you tell me a story?’ My stories didn’t come close, and I would have a chuckle. Larry has a gift – telling a good story is very difficult,” says Corrie.
After initially laughing at the idea of becoming a children’s book author, Larry reflected and realized that he had always enjoyed writing.
“As a kid, I remember one of my teachers pulling me up in front of the class to read one of the stories I wrote. After I was done, she told us that it was the first story by a student that made her cry. When Corrie suggested that I write children’s books I thought, she could be onto something,” says Larry.
Starting a 100% Canadian made business
Once he committed to the idea, Larry saw an opportunity to create a unique product for kids in Canada. He found there were two gaps in the children’s book market. Firstly, there weren’t any cool illustrated children’s book series with positive values and role models. And second, there aren’t very many children’s books about action sports like surfing, snowboarding, skiing, and skateboarding.
“When I tried to find books to read to my children about these sports, I could tell right away that the author hadn’t done the sport as they were pretty cheesy. One of my goals is to reflect these sports in a realistic light, but also to appeal to kids at the same time, and their parents with a positive message in each book. It’s pretty subtle but I think that’s important,” says Larry.
Larry wanted to bring more exposure to these sports as they don’t always get the right attention.
“For the longest time, action sports such as skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, and skiing had a stigma and maybe they still do. This year, for the first time, we saw skateboarding and surfing in the Olympics – it’s good to see they are becoming more accepted,” he says.
And so, the X-tails was born. Since 2013, Larry has released eight books for ages 5-9, all centered around an action sport, with a moral to the story. The series features six main characters that navigate issues like bullying, inclusion, sportsmanship, and the environment. He works with an illustrator to bring his stories to life – somebody who understands how unique these sports are, and who was on board right away. The books are made and printed in Canada!