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Orillia author creates children's book to encourage people to be 'more present'

Proceeds from book will benefit Ronald McDonald House, where author's nephew stayed during meningitis battle; 'I wanted to do something to kind of pay them back'
Kyle Weber 1-8-22
Orillia author, Kyle Weber, is pictured with his wife Kelly and his nephew Jack. Weber recently published his first children's book in support of Ronald McDonald House.

Kyle Weber, a Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate, has written his first children’s book, Jack had a Dream of a Backwards Machine.

The 31-year-old started his publishing career when he was 12 when he created editorial cartoons for The Orillia Packet & Times newspaper.

“I’ve always been into illustration, and I’ve always been surrounded by writing. My dad self-published a couple of books and so did my mom. I’ve always been into arts, so coupling my illustrations with self-publishing a book seemed like a natural thing to do,” Weber said.

Weber decided to become a children’s author shortly after his nephew Jack was diagnosed with meningitis a few years ago.

“Things were really dark, it didn’t look like he was going to make it, and then there was a chance that if he did come out of it he would probably have some lifelong challenges like hearing loss or behaviour issues. However, he miraculously came out of it unscathed,” Weber said.

During Jack’s time at SickKids Hospital, Weber’s sister and brother-in-law stayed at Ronald McDonald House.

“Through that time, I just became aware of Ronald McDonald House and saw how helpful it was for my whole family. It impacted me and I knew I wanted to do something to kind of pay them back,” Weber said.

“At the same time, I think the world of my nephew for surviving his meningitis and everything he’s been through. I really value the time that I spend with him, and a lot of that time has been through reading him children’s books.”

As an artist, Weber became confident that he could write a children’s book as his way to honour his nephew and raise awareness for Ronald McDonald House. He is donating all proceeds from the book to Ronald McDonald house.

“The premise for the book is it starts out with Jack having the best day of his life, and when he goes to bed that night, he gets thinking that he wishes he could live that day again and again. So, the next day he wakes up and decides he’s going to build a time machine to go back and re-live that perfect day,” Weber explains.

“Jack spends all this time building this backwards machine in his backyard, and what happens is as time goes by, he kind of misses out on life.”

Weber says the book’s message speaks to kids but can also resonate with adults.

“Something I’m very aware of in my own life is I spend too much time on work, and not enough time with family and friends. The message of the book is to just be more present, think about the things that are actually important rather than chasing these things that you think will lead you to more happiness,” he said.

The recently married Weber works in digital marketing in Waterloo; he is hopeful that children of his own are in his future.

Jack had a Dream of a Backwards Machine is available for $14.99 and can be found here.