Langdon resident Devin-Leigh Hunter’s book, Clark’s Unorthodox Animal Park, is out November 18.
A first-time author at Langdon celebrates the recent publication of his new book – a children’s story that teaches children about unorthodox animals.
Devin-Leigh Hunter’s book, Clark’s Unorthodox Wildlife Parkwas released on November 18. Hunter said the book is a scrapbook-style compilation of some lesser-known species, with facts, descriptions and colorful illustrations of each animal.
“He goes through an alphabet of weird animals that you wouldn’t normally see in a children’s book,” the 20-year-old writer explained. “There are things like the albatross, the echidna – animals that you don’t usually see or hear about.”
As described on the Hunter author’s website, the book follows the characters Jordan and Blake, two animal lovers who encounter the unique species while on a trip to Clark’s animal park. All three characters are named after Hunter’s younger siblings.
According to Hunter, the idea for the book grew out of his relationship with two of his younger brothers. She said her three-year-old brother, Clark (whom the book is named after) and her 16-year-old brother, Blake, are both obsessed with animals.
One night, Hunter said she, Blake, and their sister Jordan were thinking about how most of the children’s books they read to Clark featured the same basic animals, such as alligators, bees, and bears. They thought it would be interesting to compile a list of lesser-known animals starting with each letter of the alphabet.
After compiling their list, Hunter said the idea quickly took root in his mind to put them all into a children’s book complete with illustrations and information about each animal.
“It was actually supposed to be just something I was going to do and print for my family, but my family is a bunch of loudmouths, so it kind of blew up,” Hunter said.
Hunter said she got to work writing the book and drawing the illustrations for each unique animal. She said many of the designs were based on photos the family took on a trip to the Calgary Zoo.
After working on it for three months, Hunter said the book was ready for publication.
“I was sick for a while, so I was able to sit in my room and write and draw, so I put it all together pretty quickly,” she said.
Taking the root of self-publishing, Hunter said the process was stressful, but an affordable way to make her book a reality.
“Self-publishing is a great way to start because the initial investment for me to create a hardcover, paperback, and e-book was around $200, while traditional publishing costs over $3 $000,” she said. “So it’s a great way to get started and get started, and despite the hurdles, it was actually a lot of fun. I would do it again.
For anyone considering publishing a children’s book, Hunter encourages them to pursue their creative ideas.
“It’s probably been one of the most exciting things I’ve done in recent years,” she said, adding that the book’s reception among friends, family and other Langdon residents has been extremely positive.
“I think we received over 30 orders in the first two hours of pre-ordering, which was originally meant to be for close relatives only. So it was very exciting.
When not writing in her spare time, Hunter said she was studying to pursue a future career in medicine, while trying to start what would be Langdon’s first escape room business.
Hunter is relatively new to Rocky View County, having moved to Langdon in 2021 after living in Calgary and Brantford, Ontario.
She said her new community really rallied around her new book.
“Langdon has been amazing,” she said. “Everyone has been so supportive. I had a lot of neighbors asking to order a book, which was really nice. It’s such a welcoming community, which has been very nice.
To order a copy of Clark’s Unorthodox Wildlife Parkvisit Hunter’s author website at devin-leigh.ca