Brambley Pens “Cotton’s Tale’’
Herb Brambley is living proof that life is a learning experience. That sentiment is one constantly shared with the student body at Southern Fulton Elementary, where Brambley serves as both an environmental education and technology teacher.
In his first-ever published book entitled “Cotton’s Tale,” Brambley shares the life-altering experiences of sled dog musher Kim Darst, who in March 2009 was faced with the choice of completing the Iditarod Trail or saving her lead dog Cotton from succumbing to hypothermia.
According to Brambley, even though the book is only 46 pages in length, the true story reveals several valuable lessons to young readers – winning at all costs is not everything, goal setting and problem solving.
A year and a half in the making, “Cotton’s Tale” was a learning experience and introduction for Brambley into the world of writing and publishing.
Having personally been on hand for the 2009 Iditarod and then the 2010 race, where he served in the capacity of Target’s Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, Brambley was familiar with Darst’s story. In turn, he travelled to Blairstown, N.J., where he saw Darst put on a special presentation about her travels. The duo spoke in passing about a book, with Brambley joking, “I’m a teacher not a writer!”
Eventually putting pen to paper, Brambley took into account his own reminders to Southern Fulton’s students about “sloppy” and final copies. The story itself was completed in 1-1/2 hours, but the revamping and rewriting process took much longer. Working with Create Space, a company created to help writers become self-published, Brambley used photos taken by himself and Darst to accompany the text.
Brambley stated his book may be the first of many with a focus primarily being environmental education books for children. Emphasis would be placed not only on fun and learning but getting kids outdoors and trying new things, even if they are not initially successful.
In connection with “Family Literacy Night” at Southern Fulton Elementary, Brambley will be speaking between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, to interested students, parents and the public. Brambley will likely share a few of his sled-dog mushing tunes as well as his personal experiences through a Powerpoint presentation. Several of his sled dogs, sled and sledding equipment will also be on hand for viewing.
In addition, paperback copies of “Cotton’s Tale” will be available for purchase at a cost of $12.50. Two dollars from each purchase will be donated back to the Southern Fulton School District to help fund a Trout in the Classroom program. A total of $1,000 is needed to purchase the necessary equipment for the project, which is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Trout Unlimited.
Brambley said, “Trout in the Classroom is a hands-on, multidisciplinary program in which students raise trout at the school and release them into a local stream. It is also one in which the students make connections between the classroom and the environment so that they see what they are learning in the classroom can be applied to a real life outdoor setting.”