Community profile: Western Garfield County teens use online gaming to publish children’s book

Young authors Sophia Wilson, left, and Luana Poston hold their book, "Spider Friend," while sitting on Poston's front porch in Silt on July 23.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Luana Poston and Sophia Wilson didn’t expect an online game would lead to them writing a children’s book.

It was 2020, and Wilson and Poston were playing a Roblox role-playing game that allows users to create their own characters. The two middle schoolers and friends, now 13, developed one of their characters as a spider.

Family friend Brett Lark, a book publisher, YouTuber/producer and an Aspen High School graduate, one day suggested Poston consider writing a book.

“I guess the spider thing that me and Sophia did just came to my mind, so that’s how it kind of started,” Poston said.

Lark’s publishing company, Brett Lark LLC, started in 2018 and has so far put out a handful of works, including a life-coaching book written by Poston’s mother, Andreia. All are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

“I think it’s really cool,” Wilson said. “I mean, we’re still young, and you don’t see a lot of young people publishing things.”

Wilson and Poston’s book — “Spider Friend” — is about two sisters (Poston and Wilson pretend they’re sisters in real life). The sisters’ task for the day was to clean, and while they were cleaning they encountered a spider, which they would eventually befriend.

“I guess the moral is to understand that we don’t have to kill all the bugs, because some of them are necessary,” Poston said. “Especially in the summer, spiders can be really helpful.” 

The twist comes when the reader is told the spider was actually a human boy that a witch turned into a spider for being disrespectful.

“We kind of got the idea from ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Wilson said.

Wilson and Poston grew up together in western Garfield County, with Wilson attending Rifle Middle School and Poston going to Two Rivers Community School in Glenwood Springs.

When Lark originally suggested Poston write a children’s book, the first person who came to mind was Wilson. She needed help writing and editing the story.

“That’s when I came into the picture,” Wilson said. “At first it was nothing, so we started adding a little bit of things on to it, which is where some of the other characters came into the book.”

Poston said they are a good mix.

“Because I love writing,” she said. “It’s just, when (Wilson) comes into the picture, she’s really good at peer editing. I think after that is when everything really tied together.”

Writing a children’s book sounds difficult. Developing a storyline in itself is a tall order, but Andreia Poston was surprised by just how quickly it took when Luana and Wilson told her they were exercising their literary prose for a publisher.

“I left to work, and when I came back, ‘Mom, I wrote a book,’” Andreia Poston recalled.

She also spoke of Lark providing what’s turned into an indelible opportunity for Luana and Wilson.

“It’s amazing that they’re going to have something to show for the rest of their lives,” she said. 

Being 13 years old and already having their names across the front cover of a book available for purchase on Amazon is a feat few have accomplished.

That’s why Garfield County Libraries are publicly highlighting their work. The two are slated to be featured at the Silt Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18. In addition to meeting with the public, Wilson and Luana are entering a children’s writing competition being offered by Lark. Lark is currently accepting children’s book writers to enter by messaging him on Instagram, @brettlark.

Writing a story is hard, the young authors agreed. In order to write more, they need all the confidence and convincing they can get. 

“To do a continuous story, we’d have to think of a whole new kind of genre,” Luana said. “I think that definitely takes some work, and I feel like if this gets a lot more recognition is when we’ll really start thinking about it.”

If you go…

What: Meet the authors of “Spider Friend,” Sophia Wilson and Luana Poston

Where: Silt Branch Library, 680 Home Ave.

When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18

How much: free

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