PROSPECT — A local author is hoping a blend of rhymes and recipes will entice children to eat their vegetables.
John Altson, 74, who has lived in Prospect since 2008, released a children’s book in October called “Veggies, A – Z: See ’em, Rhyme ’em, Cook ’em, Eat ’em.”
The picture book, which was illustrated by Jenna Miller, has a different vegetable for each letter of the alphabet, as well as a poem and a recipe featuring that vegetable.
Altson said he wrote the book to help get children to try a variety of different vegetables and eat healthier.
“Maybe, just maybe, this book will get children to eat more of their vegetables,” Altson said in a press release.
Altson said getting a book published was a dream of his ever since he was in high school.
“Being an author is something I’ve always wanted to do. Then you get into the working environment and you have to make a buck,” Altson said. “You can’t make a buck writing, so you wait until you retire and catch up on all the things you wanted to do.”
Altson retired from IBM in 2010 after working there for 20 years and published his first children’s book, “What Happened To Grandpa?: A Child Views the Hereafter Through the World’s Major Religions,” a year earlier.
The book follows a young boy named Tommy, who comes home from school one day and finds out that his grandfather has died. The book explores the afterlife through the viewpoint of many of the world’s major religions.
“That was a story to be read to a child when there has been a loss of a family member or of a pet,” Altson said.
Altson’s second book, “The A to Z of Forgotten Animals,” was a picture book featuring obscure animals from around the world. The book, which was published in 2010, featured such animals as the South American Coatimundi and the African Okapi.
Altson said having children helped him write children’s books.
“I used to be a story teller for my children. I used to do picture books for them with the crude artwork that I am capable of,” Altson said. “They encouraged me to do that. They said, ‘you used to do that for us, now you should publish them.’”
Altson is also the author of two novels as well that are written for adults.
The first novel, “Luke2 : In the Power and Spirit of Luke the Apostle,” published in 2011, follows the character of Vice President Luke Harris as he assumes the role of president and becomes empowered by the spirit of Luke the Apostle.
Altson said the idea for this book came to him during a conversation.
“I was in a bar with a friend and we were talking about state of economy. I said, ‘we need the power of God to transform the economy,’” Altson said.
Altson said he began wondering what would happen if the president was actually a fundamental Christian who was being directed by God. This book was the result of that question.
Altson’s second novel, “The Id from Eden,” published in 2013, is a science fiction novel in which Satan is able to reach people through technology.
Altson said he came up with that idea after asking himself what artificial intelligence could do if it was used properly and what the repercussions would be if it was used improperly.
Altson is not currently working on another book, saying that he is waiting for an idea to hit him. However, he does know what type of book he would like to write next.
“I’d like to write a satire, but I have to come up with a good subject. It will come,” Altson said.