Author Shannon Basinger-Kotz and her 11-year-old son and illustrator, Vinny M.R. Kotz, are flying high after the release of their latest children’s book, Hero of the Black Hills. It’s the third book they’ve published with the Write Place since the summer of 2017, and it might just be their favorite yet.
“Vinny and I really think it’s our best book,” said Basinger-Kotz. “From the illustrations to the story and the message, it’s dear to our hearts.”
Hero of the Black Hills follows 10-year-old Match, a boy with an unusual name who calls the Black Hills of South Dakota home. Match has big dreams—when he grows up, he wants to be a superhero. Unexpectedly, he gets his chance to live out his dream when a trio of schoolyard bullies challenges him to a dangerous bike race in the mountains. Calamity strikes, and it’s up to Match save the day. On the journey, he discovers faith in himself—and in Jesus.
Shannon and Vinny first got the idea for Hero of the Black Hills when they were vacationing in South Dakota. “The beauty of that land so inspired us, we knew we had to set a story there,” said Basinger-Kotz.
And the superhero element? “Vinny and I love superheroes. But when we sat down to think about it, we realized Jesus is the superhero we need in our lives. He makes us strong and leads us to who we are meant to be—which is exactly what Match learns in Hero of the Black Hills.”
Hero of the Black Hills is available for purchase on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. This fall, readers will also be able to buy it from the dynamic duo themselves at craft fairs across Iowa. Shannon and Vinny will have booths at the Fall Arts and Crafts Show at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque on October 26, the Pella High School Band Parent Craft and Vendor Fair at Pella High on November 9, the Des Moines Holiday Arts and Crafts Show at the State Fairgrounds on November 15–17, and the Christmas Arts and Crafts Show at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs on December 7–8.
Shannon Basinger-Kotz is a published poet and songwriter from Colfax, Iowa. In addition to Hero of the Black Hills, she and Vinny are the authors of The Little Lost Nutcracker, Marlene’s Christmas Wish, and What if a T-Rex Liked Chocolate.