By Kathy DeMott
The art of story-telling engages audiences as they escape into a scene, follow the characters, root for the hero, and see themselves whirling with excitement as adventures unfold.
Anticipation grows, loyalty rises and one can see themselves with the strength and fortune of the main character.
For almost 20 years, Portage resident Stephen C. Webb has been telling children and families the story of his character, Texas Pete, a teenager who lives in the late 1800’s. He is given his grandfather’s whip and uses it to fight off bad guys to save the day. Now, Webb has published his first children’s book, “The Adventures of Texas Pete: The Road to Freedom, Book One.” It is the first of a 10-book Christian series published by Covenant Books.
While teaching in Children’s Church, Webb started telling stories off the cuff to emphasize the core object of the lesson. “I believe that teaching children should be fun and telling a cliff-hanger story kept the children engaged while learning important messages.” Each week he would close the lesson with “next week, when we return we will find out what happens to Texas Pete…” and end with a crack of the whip.
Webb shared that his father used to say, “If you are somewhere where you need a gun, you are in the wrong place.” So, Texas Pete uses a whip to save the day, and Webb could crack a whip while telling the stories at church. The children would ask their parents to go to church each week to hear what happened to Texas Pete.
People encouraged Webb to write the stories down. Instead, he began digitally recording his stories for reference for 19 years. When he was injured at his job and couldn’t work, he decided it was time to start writing. “I have a gift of storytelling, and now I am writing the stories down so I can leave a legacy for children and families to enjoy.” His target audience are first through fifth graders.
His story is a time period piece and he has worked to keep the characters and language as such. Texas Pete is 12 years old when the first book begins. Each book will chronologically record Pete’s adventures into adulthood. His previous recorded oral stories began when Texas Pete was in college. Webb decided to start the series when Texas Pete was younger so children could relate to the issues and lessons he faced as a boy. Once Pete reaches adulthood, Webb will utilize some of the stories he recorded in church.
Webb is already working on Book Two, ”True and False,” which includes Aztec gods, Spanish ships, and a golden statue. “With good moral lessons throughout and fun to read adventures, it is my hope that these books will get into the hands of thousands of children.” He is hoping to publish his next book of the series by spring of 2023.
“The Adventures of Texas Pete: The Road to Freedom” by Stephen C. Webb is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Walmart and Kindle Books. Of note, when Webb searched for copyright purposes, he found that “Texas Pete” is a name that already has a copyright as the name of a hot sauce. He received permission from the company to use Texas Pete as a character for his book. Webb also discovered there are several other authors who have a character named Texas Pete. They are unrelated to his book.
“Texas Pete” wrangling the hearts of children
By Kathy DeMott