Christopher Ford may only be turning 11, but he is already an accomplished author with a big heart and a long list of goals. “I want to be a whole lot of things,” he said. “First a football player … then eventually, president.”
After publishing his first children’s book at the end of third grade, “Mr. Mustache Goes to the Circus,” the now fifth-grader at Frank P. Long Intermediate School is developing his second book in the Mr. Mustache series.
“It took me a few years to write,” he said. “It’s about a young man named Mr. Mustache and he likes to explore … so when the circus came to town, he wanted to see it.” Mr. Mustache eventually joins the circus, but realizes he isn’t good at it, Ford stated as he held up his colorfully illustrated book. “Then he realized at the end that he just had to be himself, and that’s all that mattered.”
Ford's parents, Elisa and Jim Ford, were with their son from the beginning and encouraged him to bring his ideas of Mr. Mustache to life. “He was writing on a big yellow pad and he had page after page … pictures, everything,” his mother said. “So that’s when I told my husband to start filing all of it online.” The father-and-son duo began researching publishers and were quickly picked up by Archway Publishing. Although Christopher drew the entire concept art himself, which was essentially a stick figure sporting an antenna, he decided to outsource the illustrator online.
The family is hoping to have his second book out by the end of this school year, so fans can read about Mr. Mustache’s growing family. “It’s about Mr. Mustache and how he is going to get a puppy … it’s going to be a schnauzer,” he disclosed. “He’s going to have a mustache, too.”
The books are available online only and in sparse stores across the U.S., but that doesn’t stop the soon-to-be middle school student from sharing it with his friends to read.
On Feb. 28, Christopher will participate in the Parent University workshop at Kreamer Street Elementary School. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the young author will be signing copies of his book for families in attendance. Half of the proceeds for each book will go towards fighting illiteracy, a topic he finds concerning. “He donated books to the library and to his teachers,” said his mother.
The karate black belt and track-running, book-loving, football-playing Cub Scout and student tutor knows that being sincere is the first rule and will always hold the door open for a group of strangers. “You can teach manners and helping others,” she added, “But you can’t teach being genuine and you can’t teach integrity… you’re just born that way.” “I think he’s a role model for other students,” said Regina Hunt, South Country School District Board of Education trustee. “He just wants to help other kids.”
Christopher thought long and hard when he came up with the concept for the Mr. Mustache franchise, by even including a “Where’s Waldo?” type of game within its pages. “He said, ‘I don’t want kids to be done when they’re finished reading it … I want them to want to read it again and again and again,’” explained his father. “We have mustaches hidden on each page,” Christopher added. “We challenge you to find all of them.”
“At Frank P. Long Intermediate School, he serves as an active member, contributing to the fabric of success within the school community,” said principal Stefanie Rucinski. “He is kind and caring to others and accepts everyone regardless of their differences. Chris is one of many who exemplifies excellence in the South Country Central School District.”
The young author’s success comes from the help of his parents and his own business-savvy mind. At 5 years old, he created his own branding trademark, CF Productions, which also holds the name of his personal website. When asked for any insight, the 10-year-old mini-businessman said that anyone can write a book, and compared creating a literary work to a game of Othello — all one needs is a strategic plan. With a dozen book ideas, a published work and a sequel currently in production, Christopher is nothing but happy.
“Make sure you put your mind to it and put your ideas on paper first so you can work off of it,” he said. “It makes me feel like so proud of myself because it came from such a big dream to write a book.”
(reprinted courtesy of Long Island Advance)