WESLEY CHAPEL — Colby Tomasello is into baseball. So much so that the 7-year-old authored and illustrated an ABC book about it. That writing venture recently earned him top honors in "Book Arts Bash," a national writing contest for homeschooled writers.
In his children's book, Baseball ABC's, Colby connected the 26 letters of the alphabet with baseball terms: "F" is for foul, "D" is for dead ball, "O" is for out.
And "R" is for Rays, of course.
Colby landed the first prize in his age group in the ABC book category, a $20 gift certificate from Barnes & Noble and special kudos from the contest judge, who wrote that the book was "A sweetly illustrated ABC baseball book. The author mixes well-known and more obscure terms. Sure to be a hit with sports fans learning the alphabet."
Using baseball as a subject for his book was an easy pick, Colby said.
"My dad watches the Rays and sometimes I get to watch till bedtime," he said. "Sometimes I get to stay up late and watch and I get to go to some playoff games."
There was no writer's block for this young author.
"Counting the thinking, it took about three hours in three days total," he said.
Colby's mom, Heather Tomasello, is a published author who was featured in a March 11, 2008, article in the St. Petersburg Times before one of her fiction stories was published in Highlights Magazine. The new-to-homeschooling mom found the Book Arts Bash contest (www.bookartsbash.com) while researching homeschooling resources on the Internet.
"It appealed to me because it was a children's book contest," she said, noting that her daughter, Catie, 5, also entered the contest in the fiction-writing category. And it presented the opportunity for Mrs. Tomasello to study the story writing process with her children — "That there's a beginning, middle, end and plot, all of those things," she said.
Colby, who's currently into the Magic Treehouse series, also likes to read science books about weather, particularly books about hurricanes and tornados.
"I enjoy reading in my head," he said. "I don't have to read out loud like a lot of people do."