Well, hello, to all you intrepid souls who made it this far into the webpage. I really appreciate your interest in the The Tales of Larkin and in my message on teaching with stories. Since you are on this page that tells me that you are interested in learning more about me (or it just means that you clicked on the wrong button). Be that as it may, you’re here.
I do actually have a day job. I am a practicing veterinarian near Columbia, South Carolina. My beautiful and amazing wife Valerie and I have been married for over 41 years…to each other! We have six children whom we have home schooled for over 27 years. The three oldest of our children are married and have given us seven very precious grandchildren. We also share our home with a fun, adorable, opinionated (though sometimes ungrateful) pug, named Millie.
I began the first The Tales of Larkin book many years ago simply because I had an idea for a fun story but I had to set it aside due to the demands of veterinary school. Years later when we were sitting around as a family having fun telling stories we reached a point where we ran out of stories but we weren’t ready to stop. That’s when my oldest daughter, Lisa, remembered my story and suggested that I read it to them.
“Oh I remember that! It’s about those little men!” my son, Clint quickly added.
“But you didn’t like it when I tried to read it to you before,” I answered.
“What story?” young Natalie asked indignantly. “I haven’t heard about this!”
“We were just kids then, Dad,” Lisa returned knowingly.
“Yeah, we’ll like it now, Dad,” Clint encouraged. “We promise!”
“PLEASE READ IT, DADDY!” they begged.
So I pulled out my old yellowing story pages and began to read. When bed time came they were begging for more. I read my story to them every night for almost a week until I got to the end of what I had written. My children were so anxious to know what happened next in the story that I was motivated to start writing again.
Every time I finished a chapter it became a big deal. We called them “Larkin Nights”. We usually did them on Friday or Saturday evenings. My wife would fix a special meal, and then after we all helped clean up, we would retreat to the den where I would have the kids help me review the story and tell me where we had gotten to. Then I would pull out the new chapter and begin reading. Just to make it more fun for them I would make up voices for the characters in the story. Those became great family bonding times.
Shortly after we began doing this my wife and I decided to start homeschooling our children and I discovered that reading the chapters of my tale to the children gave me precious teachable moments. Because the children were really into the story, I was able to ask them questions at the end of each chapter that let me reinforce the important lessons I wanted them to remember for that chapter.
“While at first, Hawthorn’s Discovery was meant only to entertain us, it became a teaching tool as well. I began to see in the book spiritual lessons that Dad had been learning and wanted us to know. Rather than feeling lectured, we loved it.”
A few months ago my oldest son who is in his thirties now, told me that he still remembers ALL (his emphasis) of those lessons. I discovered the reason he still remembers all of those lessons is because the exciting stories triggered his emotions which caused his brain’s limbic system to take over and immediately store all of those teachings into his long-term memory. Apparently educators have known this to be true for several years, but this has been an exciting discovery for me! I’m re-formatting my books to include an appendix with chapter questions to make it easier for parents and teachers to use the books to teach. As we finish producing and re-formatting each of the books in The Tales of Larkin series they will be made available
My message now is to tell parents and teachers about this fantastic teaching technique that actually allows us to teach to our children’s hearts…that and the Larkin stories are just an absolute blast to read together! But don’t just take my word for it…
“I love it when an author can combine adventure, imagination, fantasy, and real-world truth. Alan Harris has done just that with his romping The Tales of Larkin series. With brilliant story weaving, these books will delight both children and adults at the same time. In fact, both my husband and my daughter are eagerly awaiting the second book! They are perfect for the family bookshelf…read-aloud classic for years to come.”
"With characters reminiscent of Hobbits, sporting ready and witty tongues to match any Narnian Dwarf, the Larkin fight the Renegades in battles that rival the Lord of the Rings. In the style of Redwall and The Wingfeather Saga, this series by Alan W. Harris will delight lovers of Tolkien and Lewis alike. If you love The Green Ember or The Growly Books, you need to read Hawthorn’s Discovery."
“The Larkin are tiny people who teach us giant lessons about God, kindness, love, courage and compassion while providing fun for the whole family!”
"Out of 5 stars Larkin’s Journal was a 10 star book! Dr. Alan Harris is a master when it comes to storytelling."
"Locusts in a field of corn have nothing on our boys reading The Tales of Larkin. Devour – it’s the best word to describe their response to author Alan Harris’ new book. Hawthorn’s Discovery is a story packed with adventure, courage, honor, friendship, treachery, danger, great loss, and intrigue . . . and just about everything a great story has to have. But, beyond the great storytelling, it’s a story about The Story of redemption, woven artfully into the history of the tiny race of hearty people called Larkin."
"No author has captured my reluctant boy reader who thrives on adventure like Alan W. Harris has."
“My son got lost in The Tales of Larkin and barely came up for air. Engaging, heartening, and packed full of adventure and heroism, it inspired my young reader to live for a higher purpose. The book was an instant hit in our home. Thank you, Alan Harris, for this delightful story!”
“Every chapter of Hawthorn’s Discovery captivated my kids with high adventure and humor while the parallels between this tiny world and ours left them chattering long into the night. It is a gift to find a book that elevates my child’s understanding of spiritual things. ‘Mom! Listen to this!’ they exclaimed every time Larkin’s tale illuminated another portion of our own Story. Nothing makes this mama happier than a book series I can wholeheartedly entrust to my children.”
"Thank you for creating a world my kids can enter and learn about the heart of Jesus. You have a fan base in Georgia!"
“To keep the attention of my two boys, a story must be full of adventure, easy to understand, and move quickly. To meet my highest mark of approval, it must be packed with meaning, make them think, and point them to Christ. The Tales of Larkin do all of these things and more! Hawthorn and his crew have made a permanent mark on our hearts and honestly, feel like family. A recommendation can’t get any better than that. The whole McGlothlin family gives it a big thumbs up!”
“From the very first page, I was swept up in the adventures from The Tales of Larkin. I’ve long been on the lookout for an exciting – and yet character-building – book for our younger children to read and such books are not easy to come by these days! Just to be sure, however, I handed it over to our 12-year-old son and then watched him devour the story even more rapidly than me. This one is an absolute winner for parents and children alike!”