LIFT OFF - Robin Pawlak is launching his first book Space Cadets for readers at Gateway Christian School on Feb 28th. Michelle Falk/Red Deer Express

Retired Red Deer teacher launches first book for kids

Space Cadets takes kids on an imaginative journey into space

Robin Pawlak, a teacher in Red Deer, who’s taught for 31 years, is launching his first book Space Cadets for readers at Gateway Christian School on Feb 28th.

“When I retired in the summer of 2016, it was to pursue the dream of a second career as an author,” Pawlak said.

He credits his Language Arts students at Grandview Elementary School and Gateway Christian School for encouraging him in persuing his writing career.

“They loved the story and kept telling me to get it published,” Pawlak said of his students.

Pawlak has been reading the novel to students since he completed the first draft 19 years ago.

Space Cadets is the story of Simon, a daydreamer, and his twin sister Casey, who prefers to stay grounded in reality. The pair winds up on a wild adventure in space after being zapped by an invention they discover in their father’s off-limits workshop. Their dad’s invention turns Simon’s imaginings into their new reality.

The twins are taken prisoner by aliens and have to fight for freedom and face danger, but still enjoy laughs along the way as they struggle to escape their captors or be trapped in space forever.

Pawlak has a real edge as a writer because he worked closely with his target audience for so long.

He said something that he saw a lot of with traditional publishing is books that adults think kids will like, but not books that were actually things kids wanted to read.

The 12-year-old protagonists in the book are true to life and believable because of Pawlak’s career teaching pre-teens.

Now re-inventing himself as an author, Pawlak is open about the fact that he still feels most at home in schools.

He enjoys sharing his book with students and looks forward to his book tour where he will visit schools around the province.

Pawlak is also sharing his insights as a teacher and writer with other teachers, speaking at teacher’s conferences on the value of story and how to use it in the classroom and giving practical tips for teaching students how to write.

The book will be offically launched at Gateway Christian School, where Pawlak finished his teaching career.

“I have remained connected to the very supportive school community at Gateway since retiring,” he said.

Pawlak has done about six author visits to the school leading up to the book launch, and over 100 copies of Space Cadets have already been pre-ordered.

“It has been a treat to interact with these very enthusiastic children,” Pawlak said. “The youngest ones only know me as an author, but the older ones as their former teacher—their support has been overwhelming.”

After his book tour, he plans to jump right into working on his next novel.

Pawlak’s novel Space Cadets is available for purchase on Amazon.

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