Sometimes when you want something, you just have to go out there and get it for yourself!
That was the mindset of 8-year-old Dillon Helbig of Boise, Idaho during the winter of 2021 when he decided to sneak a book he’d written all by “His Self” onto a library shelf. The second grader has been writing books since he could hold a pencil, and he’s wanted to see one of his books in the library since he was five.
Last Christmas, Dillon’s grandmother gave him a hardback red journal. He spent a few days over his school vacation writing and illustrating an 81-page graphic novel about Santa, giant turkeys, and time travel. He titled his magnus opus “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis” by “Dillon Helbig His Self.” He even sneakily placed white stickers on the book’s spine so it would blend in with the other library books.
Then, in a caper worthy of a television sitcom, Dillon crept into the Lake Hazel branch of the Ada Community Library with the cover of his book against his body. He slipped his book onto the shelves and coolly walked away.
Later that night, Dillon confessed his “crime” to his mother, Susan Helbig. She was amused by her son’s creativity but not surprised! The next day she called the library to see if the book had been found, concerned they might throw it into the Lost & Found.
Lake Hazel Library branch manager Alex Hartman assured Susan that they had indeed found the book, and they’d never consider throwing out a book of any kind. Instead, the librarians had passed it around, utterly charmed by Dillon’s work — and his tenacious spirit!
“So several of the library staff, including our picture book selector, read through the book and we really just determined that it fit all of our selection criteria to be included in our library collection,” Alex explained.
Alex went on to say some of Dillon’s illustrations were “really quite imaginative and sophisticated in terms of perspective.”
They liked it so much, they decided to include it in the library’s collection. For real, this time. The library Facebook page shared the story, and before they knew it the book had a waiting list of people who wanted to read it. To date, the list has grown to hundreds of people and has a years-long waiting list!
The library recognized Dillon’s book by creating an award in his honor and presenting him with the first-ever Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist.
Dillon is already hard at work penning his next novel, a story he says is, “based on actual events.” It’s called “The Jacket-Eating Closet.”
“Every time I get to recess, I open the closet and my jacket is gone,” Dillon explained.
Susan suggested it was a “jacket-eating closet,” and it sparked the idea.
”It eats jackets for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Dillon joked.
Not every kid can say they’re an award-winning author with a book in the local library! Dillon’s ingenuity is inspiring other kids to dream big, and we can’t wait to see what stories he has to tell in the future.
Share this story to celebrate the start of Dillon’s successful author career.
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