By Marina Andalon
Eric DelaBarre is an award-winning author, filmmaker, speaker and Father who gave his final talk of the Semester this week at Franklin Elementary Book Fair.
DelaBarre, long time Santa Monica resident and was past president of the Boys & Girls Club Council of Santa Monica is finishing up a cross-country book tour.
The father of two, sends his son, Parker Jones to Santa Monica Montessori, and his daughter Emery to Franklin Elementary on Montana.
DelaBarre was asked to talk to the students at Franklin Elementary about the importance of reading, learning and sharing the life lessons that are taught in his latest book, Saltwater Taffy. The book has received Reader’s Favorite Book Award, Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award, and The Nautilus Silver Award among others.
DelaBarre began his career with Universal Studios on the well-known show Law & Order and seven years down the line realized that writing about crime, murder and mayhem was not for him. One day, after years of various forms of writing he sat down looking at a blinking cursor wondering what was next for him.
“I pulled the script I worked on for Law & Order back in the day that was called Saltwater Taffy,” said DelaBarre. “I tore it apart and began working on an outline and noticed it was getting longer and longer and thought to myself maybe this is meant to be a book.”
DelaBarre wanted to write something that could be read by anyone and everyone, something with adventure, family and life lessons. Saltwater Taffy hit shelves January of 2011 and for the past two years DelaBarre has been visiting over 150 schools across the country. He has been to the east coast and back to his hometown Santa Monica talking and giving inspirational speeches.
“It was funny, my manager once told me I am the Tony Robbins, but for children,” said DelaBarre.
He gets the kids involved with each talk showing them pictures and videos. Engaging them to participate in the activities and getting them excited to learn and read.
“I have been associated with a lot of projects where people higher up say, ‘No this won’t sell or this won’t work,’” said DelaBarre. “That’s why I think it is important that kids today hear that they can do anything, they can write out their future and they don’t need to take No for an answer.”
With every talk DelaBarre hopes that the main message kids take away is, “What other people think of me is none of my business,” a mantra that many kids have grown to love and live by.
Kelli Haas and Jessica Levin, both Book Fair Co-Chairs at Franklin Elementary were both inspired and grateful to have DelaBarre talk to the kids.
Haas said, “It is great to have not only an amazing author but a father as well be part of this Book Fair. He really knows how to talk to these kids, and he captures their attention.”
While giving a talk at Loma Linda Academy he sold 168 copies, making it his current record.
Saltwater Taffy is just under 300 pages, with over 15,000 copies in circulation and is now endorsed by 12 Teachers of the Year and has been placed on the Accelerated Reader list for school libraries.
The future is bright for the characters of Saltwater Taffy, as the book will soon become a motion picture.
“As authors we never finish with the writing, we just find a place to stop,” said DelaBarre.
Shooting the film will begin some time around July of next year near Seattle, and the students at Franklin received a sneak peak of how they can get involved and maybe be in the movie.
To keep up with DelaBarre visit his website, http://www.whatagreatbook.com/booking-eric-delabarre .
“I do this because I want kids to be fired up about their own life, because if they aren’t who will,” said DelaBarre.