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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'Sammy Sloth' author visits Ruthven-Ayrshire

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Children's book author, Ryan "Coach" Sloth, wrote his first Sammy Sloth book while in high school, for a class assignment. Five years ago, he pulled it out of storage, revised the copy, and sent it to a publisher. Sloth is currently touring elementary schools, promoting his third Sammy Sloth book: "Sammy Sloth's Big Fish." His fourth book, co-authored with his seven-year-old son, Tucker, features Tucker Turtle, and will be released early next year. "Sammy Sloth" books can be purchased from www.coachsloth.com
(Photo submitted)
Children's book author, Ryan "Coach" Sloth, visited Ruthven-Ayrshire elementary students on Wednesday, as a part of a tour through school promoting his third "Sammy Sloth" book: "Sammy Sloth's Big Fish."

"I tell the kids a little about myself and read them the books," Sloth said. "I visit a different school each day and spend an afternoon with the kids. They were terrific. We had a lot of fun."

Sloth wrote the original copy for his first book, "Sammy Sloth Sport Superstar" as a freshman at Belmond-Klemme High School, for an English assignment.

"The assignment was to write a story and draw a picture," Sloth said. "I kept it -- I thought maybe someday I'd find out how to get a book published."

Five years ago, while reading a book to his son, he remembered the draft he had stored away, and he found it and revised the original story.

"I added some characters and put myself and some of my relatives into the story," Sloth said. "I thought, since my name was Sloth, it would be fun to use that in the story."

Sammy is a three-toed sloth, and has a hard time finding activities he can excel at. This, Sloth hopes, will inspire his young readers in a unique way.

"Kids aren't going to be good at everything," he said. "They just need to keep trying to find something they're good at, then work hard to get better."

With his first two books, Sloth juggled his writing career with a career as the coach for the Iowa Barnstormers. He visited schools in his free time from coaching.

Though he's still promoting "Sammy Sloth's Big Fish," Sloth will release his fourth book early next year, featuring the character Tucker Turtle and co-written by Sloth's seven-year-old son, Tucker.

"I probably write about one a year," he said. "Tucker is really excited for this book. I'll probably take him on some of my visits, when he's not in school himself."

Sloth uses his personal life generously in his books. In "Sammy Sloth's Big Golf Tourney," Sammy must compete in the Animal Master's Golf Tournament against Taylor Tiger, inspired by his daughter, Taylor.

Sloth also played football for Iowa State, which helped inspire his forthcoming fifth book.

"Sammy goes to ISU with his buddies," Sloth said. "They're tailgating at the big game against the Hawkeyes."

Another kid-supported feature of the "Sammy Sloth" books is the 3-D effect; the children get the glasses.

After three books published with two more in the works, Sloth is asked often about writing middle-grade or adult fiction.

"I would have to find the time," he said. "Chapter books are a lot thicker."

He would, however, like to write a movie script someday, when time allows.

Whether a scriptwriter or a football coach, however, Sloth will remain a children's book author.

"I get a lot of ideas from the kids," he said. "I've got quite a few on the backburner."

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