Laurel teen's kids picture book resonates with adults

When 13-year old Sebastian Hurt from Laurel published his first picture book for kids, “Glowstone Peak,” he never dreamed adults would also identify with his message.

Glowstone Peak is a “tale of leadership and collaboration through the eyes of children.” The story is set in a fantasy world where young readers are encouraged to take charge and be open to change without harboring biased judgments.

The book is a joint venture with Sebastian and his parents, conceived while the family was visiting Colorado.

“The inspiration for the characters came from our hike up a mountain where we started dreaming of tree creatures, gnomes, and some misunderstood gnobucks who breathe fire, but really aren’t scary,” said Sebastian, who created the characters, the plot, and the concept drawings for the book. He was assisted by his parents, Karin Hurt and David Dye who created the lessons taught, based on their family values.

“One day we were talking at lunch about how ugly political conversations had become even among our friends because they had different beliefs,” Sebastian said. “Our family was frustrated that people didn’t seem to be really listening to one another to come up with positive solutions.”

Glowstone Peak is the result of the same life lessons the book promotes: leadership and collaboration. The book is the tangible product of a family working together and collaborating to attain a common goal.

Sebastian found writing this book was a real challenge, but one he will gladly undertake again should the opportunity present itself. He hopes to write more books with strong messages.

“It was very hard,” Sebastian said. “You have to craft a story in a world that fits the message. It was also hard to write with my parents, because we all had different ideas and we had to work together to ensure everyone’s ideas were heard.”

The family chose books as the vehicle to get their message out. The original idea was to help kids learn about collaboration and leadership, so Sebastian and his parents were quite surprised to learn their project reached more than just children.

When Glowstone Peak was released in July, there followed a barrage of emails from business leaders around the country, reaching out to the Hurt-Dye family and praising them for the timing and content of their message. That was the first indication the book had reached a larger audience than imagined.

“It was so great to know that the message was getting out there to children and adults too,” Sebastian said. “It was also really exciting when we got a video of a woman in Guatemala using the book to practice her English, and a picture of a mom reading it to her child in Korea.”

Glowstone Peak encourages readers to question things around them peacefully and respectfully. The lessons contained within are said to resonate with children and adults making the book a unique took for teaching leadership and collaboration life skills.

In addition to his new status as author, Sebastian is an inspiring entrepreneur. Encouraged to diversify by his parents, who are internationally recognized leadership and employee engagement experts and the founders of Let’s Grow Leaders, Sebastian is a talented illusionist.

He is the founder of Laughter and Magic, an entertainment business he created to promote his magical skills and his overall presence in the West County area.

Sebastian's other credits include a children’s activity website he built with his parents, and promotional videos he created with help from family members.

“We built a website with children’s activities and characters children could color and share their values,” Sebastian said. “We also worked with my cousin to produce some promotional videos. You can see some of the pictures and videos here: https://letsgrowleaders.com/glowstonepeak/.”

Elks treat Vets to breakfast

The Junior Elks from Glen Burnie Elks Lodge #2266, 878 Stevenson Road in Severn, will host a free breakfast for veterans at the lodge Nov. 11, 9-11 a.m. The Junior Elks will also be collecting applications for new members. Call 410-969-2266 for details.

To submit news for Severn, Hanover, Jessup, Harmans, Fort George G. Meade and Maryland City, contact Sharon P. Schultz at pinkladysps@gmail.com.

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