Kathy Larsen is the author of a new book called, "Celebrate the Fire Within." This book was inspired by the 2002 Winter Olympics which are on their way to Salt Lake City in Feb. 2002.
Larsen was born in Price and grew up in Ferron. She attended school at Ferron Elementary, South Emery Junior High and Emery High School. Larsen said, "We were the fourth graduating class from the new Emery High and it was exciting for us. I have always felt that education was important. I attended Utah State for two years. I married Russ Larsen after spring break of my sophomore year. We have six children Brett and Mindy Larsen of Orem, Ruschelle and Kelly Mortensen of Elmo, Jason Larsen of Castle Dale and Salt Lake City, Jessica and Greg Funk of Clawson, Scott and Janarie Larsen of Castle Dale and Andrew Larsen of Provo.
"I studied early childhood development at Utah State. I am a homemaker, grandmother and operated a daycare from my home for a few years. I have always been passionate about having a positive impact on children.
"About three years ago I decided I wanted to write childrens books using positive action statements to influence children. You can program yourself and children with repetition accentuating the positive. I wanted to empower children to make choices to enrich their lives and bring them closer to their dreams. I felt a childrens book would help them achieve and feel the power inside themselves to take them toward a better life.
"One day last January I was at my daughter Ruschelle's home in Elmo tending the grandkids and was listening to Governor Mike Leavitt's state of the state address. He was talking about the Olympics and how he wanted the whole state to be involved. I was excited about the Olympics and wanted to feel a part of them. I hit on the idea of using positive action statements to try to create an excitement that children can be whoever they want to be. They can do anything they want to do. I wanted to teach children to dream to allow them to dream and encourage them to have wonderful dreams.
"I wanted them to feel it and to experience the power within. Not only in an Olympic year when athletes come together to fulfill their dreams but all of the time. This is a monumental year for parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to teach and encourage children to dream. To know that with hope and hard work they can be whoever they want to be. They can be champions in their own lives and can make positive choices to help them achieve those dreams.
"I wrote the first four pages of the book that night in January and the next day my daughter Jessica and I brainstormed all day and by that evening the manuscript was done. It was enthralling, exhilarating and exciting. I showed the book to my brother in American Fork. He said he knew an illustrator. We went to her and she said you need to call a publisher named Kevin Ratigan of North Star Publications. We called him and he said yes he would like to do this so we met with him. He showed us portfolios of different illustrators and we picked one out. Her name is C.B. Decker and she lives in California.
"When I saw her illustrations I didn't make it past the fourth page because I was in tears. She had captured the essence and vision of each verse and had illustrated it perfectly.
"It has been a long process. My publisher had to have the colors just right and I learned so many things along the way.
"I have submitted two more manuscripts. One is entitled, "I Like Me" and the other one is about the paralympics which hasn't been titled yet.
"The Olympic ideal is a universal one. You can follow your dreams. Everyone has a lot to offer no matter what their ages are. It is a thrill for me when people like my book. I also need to follow my own advice because it took me a week to get up enough nerve to call the publisher. I had reservations and self doubt and a fear of rejection. But I felt strongly compelled to do this, I needed to do this and go with it as far as it would take me.
"My family has been so supportive and encouraging. Dana York, Dennis Nelson and Julie Nelson have all helped and supported me along the way. The county librarian Jerilyn Mathis has been so great to set up times for me to go to local libraries and introduce the book to children. I will also be presenting the book to local schools and also schools in Price.
"My publisher has grand visions for the book. He has sent one to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and to all of the Olympic sponsors. My concerns are for the children of Utah and helping them realize their full potential. This has been really fulfilling for me, it has been my dream come true.
"It is my prayer that we will all feel the power within ourselves to fulfill our dreams and to be instruments in our Heavenly Father's hands to enrich our lives and the lives of others so that together we can be the best we can be," said Larsen.
So come and celebrate the fire within. Feel it and share it, and let it begin.