Reservist channels creativity into children’s book
By Master Sgt. Beth Anschutz, Air Reserve Personnel Center Public Affairs
/ Published March 27, 2017
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A traditional reservist made a creative dream reality by publishing his first children’s book.
Maj. Sean Maday, assigned as an instructor at the Headquarters Reserve National Security Space Institute at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., channeled his family’s love of language and reading into a story that he hopes many others can now enjoy.
When he’s not serving in his Air Force officer capacity, Maday works in software. He says his civilian job and his hobby as an author mirror each other.
“I love helping people solve problems using technology,” he said. “A big part of my job is helping people derive understanding from abstract pieces of data. In a sense, I tell stories through data from charts, graphs and visuals.”
The proud husband, and father of three daughters, labored on the book in the evenings and on weekends, all while working full time in the civilian sector and serving in the Air Force Reserve. Maday hopes his success with the book will inspire others to find the time to share their ideas and inventiveness with the world.
“I really wanted to get the piece illustrated and published in order to share it with my daughters as a way to get them thinking about empathy,” Maday said. “I have wholeheartedly adopted the empathy credo in my personal and professional life and it has shaped my leadership philosophy. I believe that successful Air Force leaders understand the needs of the people around them, and treat their Airmen how they would want to be treated.”
Empathy is the central theme of the book. The main character, a bunny, has a dream to fly. His friend, a robin, magically gives the bunny his wings. The bunny understands and shares the feelings of his friend when the bird struggles to traverse land and not sky.
“I think the story is also an allegory for trying new things,” Maday said. “In the picture book, the bunny gets to fly, but he observes the bird struggling and shows compassion.”
Maday said his daughters’ love of learning inspired him to use “sophisticated and expressive” vocabulary in the book to spawn his reader’s curiosity.
“I like using obscure words with my daughters. It generally peaks their curiosity and drives them to ask for clarification and definition,” he said. “It is a fun way for us to engage together and explore language.”
The book includes a glossary of words to assist in the learning experience. Maday also provides free activities online, to accompany the book, that vary in difficulty.
“I hope to accommodate a wide range of skill levels and ambition, from coloring to matching and spelling,” Maday said. “My goal is that the reader can grow up with the book and not just discard it as they get older.”
Maday’s book tied for first place in the “Picture Books 6 and Older” category and earned an honorable mention in the “Newbie ‐ First Time Author (Fiction)” category of the 2016 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in all genres of literature.
Linda Radke, president of the Dragonfly Book Awards Program said in a media release, “Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a first or second Place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant — even if it is the sole entry in a category. Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”
Maday’s book, “How the Bunny Learned to Fly” is available for download online. For more information on his book, you can reach Maday at SeanMaday@gmail.com.