Greencastle writer donates books

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Jason Bardwell is a long way from his native Norwich, England, but he has developed a compassionate spirit for people in the United States. The Greencastle resident was selected as one of 160 authors to send books to facilities in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. They will be used to restock libraries, both public and school, in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October.

Bardwell doesn't even feel bad that only one of his two children's books made the cut. Twenty-eight copies of "When I Grow Up!" are headed to new homes. It encourages primary school students to consider possible careers, but ends, "When I grow up, what will I be? It's simple. I'll still be me."

The other book was rejected. Bardwell laughed and totally understood the reason. "Beware of the Teacher" features a strange teacher who eats children. But youngsters are not put off by the storyline.

"At a booksigning, they enjoyed reading it right there, and I liked watching their faces light up," he said.

Bardwell illustrates his own manuscripts, using watercolor.

Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy Libraries was started by K.S. Brooks, Washington state, in November. Members screened the entries.

"We work closely with the library systems to make certain they receive the genres they want," she said. "Jason's generosity is much appreciated."

Bardwell, 33, is an account manager for Pepsi, based in Newville. He is already gathering ideas for a third book. He wants to give positive reinforcement on things children may have anxieties about.

His love of writing became evident at age 10.

"The assignment was to write a story. I turned it in a week late because it filled my whole notebook."

The teacher plastered the front cover with stars.

Bardwell was happy to take part in the Hurricane Sandy project.

"It was a good cause. I'm having fun with the whole thing."