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Creative Cop: Second children’s book for Delta police constable

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As I’m speaking to Delta Police Constable Grayson Smith I’m not sure whether he realizes he has a lot in common with the protagonist of his new children’s book, There’s a Norseman in the Classroom!

The children’s book portrays a large, unwieldy Norseman who comes to a Grade 2 class and finds it rather difficult to convince his classmates he’s a harmless and friendly kid like them. Grayson is similarly intimidating in his police uniform and imposing size, but I get the sense he’s a bit of a softie like his Norseman character.

“I am not very good in front of people,” confesses Grayson. “I get kind of nervous and tongue-tied. But when I’m in my comfort zone I think I’m silly and fun.”

So, what prompted a police constable to pen a children’s book? As Grayson tells it, the idea began when his wife, who is a Grade 2 teacher, would come home with wild stories of classroom “offences.”

“And frankly they just struck me as quite funny, like a snack thief or some sort of drama that was brewing at the Grade 2 level,” he says.

The idea planted in his brain to then take a creature or monster who would come to a classroom where he clearly didn’t seem to belong. It didn’t take long before Grayson felt this was a great teaching opportunity of the old adage, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

“It morphed into a focus of somebody who just comes across differently. What would happen if somebody who had just come out of the wilds, essentially, who looks all mean and scary but actually is a good, gracious guy?”

Grayson initially thought about a hulking Viking, but changed it to a Norsemen to avoid any negative historical conotations. And if you’re curious about who or what a Norseman is, there’s even an educational component about them after the story ends.

This is actually Grayson’s second children’s book. Five years ago he was trying to think of a Christmas gift for his niece that might not become immediately obsolete or disposable and decided to write his own book.

And when he realized how hard it is to get a book published, he did the next best thing: He created his own publishing house. Flight of the Mite was released in October 2013 by Peppermint Toast Publishing, which has since published five more books including other authors.

Does that mean the good constable is ready to trade his badge for a pen? Not quite yet.

“I love writing,” he explains. “If someone paid me a cop’s wage to be a writer I would do it. If someone paid me a cop’s wage to be a children’s author, oh man, I would crack out all kinds of stories.”

A portion of the proceeds of Flight of the Mite was donated to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, while buyers of his newest book can expect some of that money to see its way to the Special Oympics.

Grayson explained that the charity is near and dear to his heart as police the world over take part in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run to help fund sporting events for the intellectually disabled.

“I’m happy to say I have some friends in the Special Olympics who compete so that’s been a growing and natural investment,” he says.

You can order Grayson’s books right from his website at pepperminttoast.com.

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