It may not surprise you to hear that a member of the L’Anse Creuse community is a published author whose debut book is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
But what if we told you that the author in question is 12 years old?
Matthew Carson is a seventh-grader at Middle School — South who enjoys reading, playing video games and spending time with his two sisters.
“I always wrote little stories,” Matthew said. “Usually about magical beings and monsters.” But to make the leap into writing a full-length children’s book, he needed a little encouragement.
Back at Tenniswood Elementary, Matthew wasn’t exactly on track to become a child author. “He was lacking confidence even more than he knew,” said his mother, Nicole.
Two particular teachers, Stephanie Share and Cynthia Abdelnour, changed all that. They praised Matthew’s talents and encouraged him to work harder to develop them. It was Mrs. Share who first suggested that he write a book.
Matthew was inspired and began writing that very day.
“I wanted my voice to be heard,” he said.
He combined his love of writing and his fondness for dinosaurs to create John the Raptor, an adventure centered around a family of velociraptors who fight various enemies.
The book took about a year and a half to complete. Nicole served as Matthew’s typist and editor, proofreading his work and giving feedback on what parts should be expanded. When the process was finished, the Carsons sent the book off to a publisher. When they received the acceptance letter a few months later, Matthew was ecstatic.
According to Nicole, the confidence that he had lacked before “just skyrocketed.” He couldn’t wait to share the news with his baseball teammates and teachers.
Matthew’s involvement didn’t end with the writing process. He drew up detailed plans for the appearance of each dinosaur for the book’s illustrator. There were another few rounds of edits, until finally, they had a published book.
John the Raptor is just the beginning. Matthew wants four book series in total. He’s currently working on his next book, Matthew Man, about a young boy who is chosen to protect the world. John the Raptor 2 is also in the works. Matthew writes every week and works on multiple projects at a time.
Matthew’s ambitions go even beyond writing. He wants to be a writer and paleontologist, and plans to attend Yale University. Nicole attributes it all to the confidence he gained from writing a book: “This is a whole new kid.”
When the published book came out, Matthew returned to Tenniswood to present a copy to the teachers who had inspired him. It was a symbolic gesture, Nicole explained. She wanted them to know:
“If it wasn’t for teachers like you, he wouldn’t have done this.”