Imagine a moment of low-grade, but daily, agony. It is time to put your child to bed. This is supposed to be a moment to bond, a moment to read a story, to support future literacy and your relationship. You believe in all that. But when you shuffle through the books on the shelf looking for the perfect story, all the bunnies and duckies and frolicking bears leave you, well, a little flat. You do what you can, but something is missing. You worry that your child can tell that you are less than thrilled, and it begins to wear away at you. What to do?
Tom Garcia, a Santa Barbara area author and entrepreneur, faced that very quandary himself and found a way out. Now, through a series of books called Daddy’s Heroes: Unforgettable Sports Moments to Share with Children, Garcia is helping other sports fans find excitement in reading to their children. It all began when Garcia’s son asked for a story about baseball. Garcia, who claims he has “zero imagination,” told him a true story about a historic moment for his favorite baseball team. In that moment, the idea behind Gibby’s Homer, a story about the Dodgers’ win over the Oakland A’s during the 1988 World Series, was born. The book, written by Garcia and Karun Naga and illustrated by Jenifer Donnelly, sells on amazon.com and at daddysheroes.com.
For Garcia, the opportunity to help parents forge a bond with their children is what it’s all about. “I really enjoy hearing from people that they are having a good time with their kids,” says Garcia, “especially the dads that don’t get into story time and bonding with their young child. As the kids get older and older, it’s easier for those dads to bond with them, but at younger ages it’s difficult. It’s easy to get distracted in your day-to-day world. If you have something that you’re interested in and something you can use to communicate with your child, it’s a great thing.” And though he is happy to talk about the values behind the story-never give up, stay positive, and good things can happen-for their author, these books are really about sharing sports with children. “These sports moments are so magical for so many people, we thought they would be great topics.”
Another Daddy’s Heroes story is currently in production. This next book is also about baseball, but focuses on another region of the country. They also have plans to cover other sports, and-given sales and feedback so far-expect to continue bringing out more and more titles on a quicker timetable. Gibby’s Homer, a paperback that sells for $8.95, is listed as appropriate for infants to eight-year-olds, though older children, particularly those with Little League affiliations, seem to be drawn to it as well.
Gibby’s Homer has received several favorable reviews on the blogs of Dodgers fans, which has helped spread the word about the book. As Garcia puts it, “The next thing you know, people are hitting our Web site from all over the world. We had an order from New Zealand. The feedback that we’ve gotten from sports fans, and especially from Dodgers fans, has been tremendous.” Garcia reports that other dads have written him to express how the book has changed their experience of story time, or that their children consistently pull it off the shelf, night after night. One sports fan even told Garcia that he loved the book so much that he felt the urge to have children, just so he could read it to them.
For more information or to order a copy of Gibby’s Homer, visit daddysheroes.com.