Book a prize: Idaho library has wait list for story eight-year-old hid on a shelf | Books

When eight-year-old Dillon Helbig finished writing his book, The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis, in mid-December, he wanted everyone to read it. The only problem was that he did not have an agent.

So he decided to self-publish. During a visit with his grandmother to the Lake Hazel branch of the Ada Community Library in Boise, Idaho, Dillon quietly deposited his book, signed “by Dillon His Self”, on to a nearby shelf.

“I always be sneaky, like how I get chocolate,” Dillon told the KTVB television station about the undercover operation.

“There was a lot of librarians that I had to sneak past so do you know what I did? I covered up this part and covered the back with my body and just snuck it in and then started to walk, and then I came in this aisle – no, wait, this aisle – and then I put my book right here. Wait, right here.”

The 81-page book details adventures that ensue after the star on a Christmas tree Dillon is decorating explodes. Dillon is transported into a portal and time-travels to the very first Thanksgiving and to the north pole.

“Everything about it was a bit crazy,” the second-grader admitted.

Days later, when Dillon came to check on the book, he noticed it was gone. His mom called the library.

“His parents were worried we would find his book and we would get rid of it,” the Lake Hazel library branch manager, Alex Hartman, said. “Which was an unfounded fear because if there’s ever a place a book would be safe, it would be here.”

It turned out that Hartman and his colleagues discovered Dillon’s book in the “stories” section and read it, including to Hartman’s six-year-old son.

“Dillon’s book definitely fit all the criteria that we would look for to include a book in our collection,” Hartman said. And so, with Dillon’s permission, the library stickered and catalogued the book and placed it with its holdings of graphic novels for adults, teens and kids.

As of Saturday, The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis was subject to a 55-person wait list. Hartman has been in discussion with Dillon’s mother about creating a digital copy.

“We’re just hoping that … children find inspiration to write their own stories and share those with other people,” Hartman told the Washington Post. “I just think it’s a good demonstration to share with other kids.”

Dillon has been awarded the library’s Whoodini Award for best young novelist, a category created for him and named after the library’s owl mascot.

The young author has announced that a sequel is in the works, this time about a visit from the Grinch and also featuring Dillon’s dog, Rusty.

He is also writing a book about a jacket-eating closet, based, Dillon said, on a true story from his kindergarten days.

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