A book that isn’t on the bestseller list doesn’t have to be the most popular read in town. One title has a year-long waiting list at one library in Boise, Idaho. You’d think they’d order another copy, wouldn’t you?
They can’t, because the book was never published in the first place.
Dillon Helbig, an 8-year-old second-grader, secretly snuck his hand-written, 81-page, self-illustrated masterpiece into the stacks of his local library’s children’s department because he simply wanted to share the holiday-themed story he’d created with other youngsters.
Dillon, a frequent visitor, was at the Ada Community Library’s Hazel Branch when he hid the lone copy of The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis (signed “by Dillon His Self”) among some other picture books on the shelves. His haphazard literary endeavor went unnoticed at the moment… but not for long.
When Dillon returned home, he told his mother, Susan, about his adventures that day. He’d done nothing to surprise her. She was well aware that Dillon had long wished to join the ranks of the library’s authors.
“I’ve wanted to place a book in the library since I was five years old,” Dillon told KTVB-7 News.
Susan contacted the library, concerned that Dillon’s book would be discarded or lost, to check if they’d recovered it and would keep it for them. She was in for a rude awakening.
Not only had the staff discovered it, but they believed it was quite amazing, and despite the unique circumstances, they thought it would be an excellent addition to their collection.
It also didn’t hurt that Branch manager Alex Hartman’s 6-year-old son Cruzen enthusiastically approved of the fantasy tale that features Santa Claus, an exploding Christmas tree ornament, time travel, and a big turkey.
“Dillon is a self-assured and generous man.” “He wanted to tell the story,” Hartman explained to The Washington Post. “I don’t think it’s a form of self-promotion.”
He simply wanted others to be able to enjoy his story… He’s a longtime library user who understands how books are shared.”
Dillon’s goal of being listed in the library’s card catalog came fulfilled with the addition of an official bar code and labels to its striking red cover.
The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis quickly became so popular that it had one of the library’s longest waiting lists.
Dillon received the library’s first Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist in recognition of his efforts. It was a category designed just for the library’s owl mascot.
While readers as far away as Texas hoped to borrow the desired title through an exchange program, with only one copy available, that was not possible.
To fulfill the demand, Hartman and Dillon’s mother are looking into creating an e-book version of the book so that it can be loaned out to a wider audience.
Dillon isn’t resting on his laurels despite his accomplishments. He’s already working on his next masterpiece. He told TODAY, “It’s about a jacket-eating closet.”
Dillon Helbig, at the age of eight, is already a literary force to be reckoned with, thanks to his enormous creativity and irrepressible tenacity. We can’t wait to watch what he achieves as he grows up.