Duke Divinity student Jonathan Poarch has written a new children’s book about the fun of summer camps.
In “Rachel the Raccoon’s Camp Adventures,” Rachel, a raccoon that lives in the woods at camp, is just as excited as any camper about her summer. Her summers at camp are full of new friends, s’mores and adventures that will last a lifetime.
On his blog, Poarch explains the idea grew out of stories he told as a summer camp counselor.
“As a child I adored books,” he writes. “Art didn’t interest me, but when I read books I was lost in my own world and would often read by myself when everyone else was creating art. This explains a lot about my inept art abilities and my nerdy behavior.
“When my mother or my teachers would read children’s books to me I listened with awe and wonder,” he continues. “I can still recall children’s books that made a profound impact on me such as: ‘Stellaluna,’ ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ ‘The Hungry Caterpillar,’ and my all-time favorite ‘Ferdinand.’ My own childhood story helps to make sense of my desire to write a children’s book. To me it’s beginning to seem like I was destined to write a children’s book, but I didn’t realize it until now.
Poarch hopes to become an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, camp counselor of two years at Camp Fontanelle in Nebraska, and former lay minister and church intern. He lives in Durham.
Poarch and the book’s illustrator, Kate Laing, were camp counselors together. She launched her own art business called KATEWORKS Studio in 2014 (katelaing-kateworks.com). She transferred from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2014 to Hastings College, pursuing a studio art major.
Laing spent three summers working at Camp Fontanelle and was a camper for many years before. She goes on nature explorations, tells brilliant jokes about whales and basset hounds and wants to own a flower and art shop in the future.