BONDURANT, Iowa -- A Bondurant native is a pastor, business consultant, and now a published children’s author. However, it took Ben Fust a decade to finish this project. Creating a book proved to be harder than he thought.
“We had to go through and look at the book, and the language, and say is this something that inspires wonder, or is it something you know, that makes them feel weirded out. So it is a little more difficult than you initially think,” Fust said.
His book is titled "Little Man the Troll." This light-hearted tale is about a mischievous troll who likes to play funny tricks on you while you're sleeping. The book was released just last week but has been in the making for almost a decade. Fust explains how coming up with an idea for a children’s book is the easy part. Getting to the point of publishing is a whole different ball game.
“Going through and finding something that really enhances the story or is it something that kind of just sits with it. I think that was one of the hardest things about doing it and was different than I expected,” Fust said.
Fust searched high and low for an illustrator for "Little Man the Troll" with no luck. In 2017, he noticed the improvements in his 13-year-old daughter Emma’s drawings and found his missing piece. Emma illustrated the tale and finally "Little Man the Troll" came to life.
“It took on a different and much better vibe as she got to work on it. I got to meet him through fresh eyes with her drawings. And that was very exciting,” Fust said.
Emma expressed how time-consuming this project was but also rewarding. She loved going to coffee shops with her dad and doodling what he was describing until they found the perfect characters.
“I would be taking what dad wrote and putting them into pictures. Like the things I thought he’d be doing and then it would just be a perfect fit for it. I think that was probably the coolest part,” Emma said.
Ben said this project has been great for his and Emma’s relationship and it was amazing watching her imagination blossom.
“A lot of being with kids and raising kids is day to day stuff. To be able to focus on something creative where it’s more her expression than mine. I get to guide that expression but she owns it. To partner in that and to have her make the story her own through the drawings, it was great,” Fust said.
Ben advises all parents to start a creative project with their kids. He said it’s something both parties will learn from.
“Being able to come alongside your kids in a creative expression. Something where it just isn’t ‘hey I taught you to do this thing’ but to be part of the nurturing of something that they do, hopefully, better than you. Most definitely I think that’s a great experience,” Ben said.
You can get a copy of the Fusts' book on their Facebook page.