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Author, Sequoia Beckman

SAN CLEMENTE,  -(CA)- Sequoia Beckman was more than a little lonely after his stepfather was deployed to Afghanistan in October with a Marine Corps unit from Camp Pendleton. The feeling intensified when members of his stepdad’s unit came back wounded.

So the 11-year-old, a student at Camp Pendleton’s San Onofre School, published a book called “Arthur and the Brave Knights of Camelot” and is donating all sales proceeds to injured Marines through the Semper Fi Fund. He has raised more than $500 so far and hopes for more with the second edition.

“My stepdad’s a Marine, I live on base, and it makes sense,” Sequoia said.

His efforts caught the attention of Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit assistance group for military families that made Sequoia one of 20 semifinalists nationwide for the 2011 Military Child of the Year Award in the Marine Corps division. Finalists are scheduled to be announced Friday, with a winner in each of the five branches of military service to be chosen Wednesday.

Each award recipient will get $5,000 and a place in a recognition ceremony April 7 in Washington, D.C.

Sequoia loves to read and is especially interested in anything from medieval times, according to his mother, Sherry Simburger. And with his stepfather, Sgt. Major Karl Simburger, deployed to Afghanistan, she said it wasn’t a big surprise that he wrote his book about knights and dragons – characters derived from the classic literary theme of good guys vs. bad guys.

Beckman’s Book, Arthur and The Brave Knights of Camelot.

Sequoia wrote the book and enlisted fellow San Onofre student Charlotte McGhee, 13, to do the artwork because he thought she had a special feeling for dragons. He insisted on getting a publisher, a copyright and an International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, which commercial booksellers use to identify books for sale.

The first edition of 100 copies has already sold out, thanks to his mother’s Facebook announcement to friends and family.

In February at the annual Marine West Expo in San Diego, a demonstration of Marine Corps aviation, Sequoia and McGhee promoted the book and signed copies.

Sherry Simburger says Sequoia asks her each day for details about the book’s sales. When someone in Ohio who was not a family member or friend bought the book, he felt he had become a real author, she said.

“Sequoia held back at first and was complaining a little bit that people were not buying the book. So I told him he had to grab each person and sell it,” Simburger said. “And so he really got into it. He attached himself to every person who came by, even some Marine Corps generals, and if they didn’t buy on the way in, he got them on the way out.”

Sequoia’s fifth-grade teacher, April Pezman, said he has an amazing gift for writing. He often could be found working on his book during lunch and recess and is already working on the sequel, she said.

“The class was amazed when Sequoia walked in with his real published book. After he read it to them, they had looks of astonishment,” Pezman said. “He proved that dreams can come true. I am very proud of him.”

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK:

“Arthur and the Brave Knights of Camelot” can be purchased for $10 at arthur-and-the-brave-knights.blogspot.com

The Register article:

Pendleton Marine’s son up for Military Child of Year | book, sequoia, marine – News – The Orange County Register

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