Local cartoonist publishes kids’ book
The characters in the book might be cartoons, but they do more than just entertain.
In fact, the characters in Gerard Arantowicz's newly published book, "Differences," help children understand that not everyone is the same.
Arantowicz, a Baldwin resident who graduated from Penn State in 1996 with a degree in health and human development, said he completed the children's book to show how people live with and overcome their disabilities.
"The book combines my cartooning passion and human services," he said. "It's a form for parents to discuss disabilities with their children.
"It has to do with self-esteem for the children," he said. "It's teaching them to embrace their differences."
Even though it's currently a hobby, Arantowicz isn't new to cartooning. The characters in "Differences" are based on his cartoon strip, "Jewel." He's been free-lancing for 10 years and has had his cartoons, including political cartoons, in various newspapers. He also published a series of five children's books related to Penn State when he was in college.
"Differences" has actually been written and drawn since 1998 when Arantowicz entered it in a children's book contest, but it was only recently that he finally decided to publish it.
"I hadn't published in three years," he said. "I had a burning desire to publish again. I've had a message I wanted to get out for a long time."
"Differences" can be purchased at the Baldwin City Market or can be ordered from Borders and Barnes and Noble.
Arantowicz will also be at this weekend's holiday art sale, 715 Eighth St., from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday drawing caricatures and signing his book.
If "Differences" is a success, he said he would like to continue publishing children's books, including ones with holiday themes, all tackling moral issues.
"Cartoons are meant to be entertaining, but they can deliver a powerful message," he said.