Local author wants to bring out positivity in Aberdeen

Kaitlyn Rowe wants to raise her seven-month-old daughter Genesis in a positive climate.

Now living in Aberdeen with her husband Leroy and Genesis, Rowe, a former California and Renton and Tacoma resident, even wrote a book “A is for Aberdeen.” The book is about bringing more positivity to Aberdeen.

Rowe, who’s 22, wrote and illustrated “A is for Aberdeen,” a near 40-page book which shows the “ABCs of Aberdeen.” The rhyming children’s book stars Wishkah, a dark-haired child who helps show off many of the positive attributes of Aberdeen. The positivity starts from the attribution Rowe wrote, which thanks her husband Leroy and Genesis, for always having her back.

Then, on the first two pages of the book, Wishkah says the following:

“Hi! My name is Wishkah! Yes, just like the street. The one I walk daily on my very two feet,” page one reads. “I live in Aberdeen, a cool little city. Here, let me show you what makes me so giddy!”

The illustrations show a great deal of detail, all the way down to the green East Wishkah Street and South F Street signs outside of Selmer’s Furniture.

The book is full of fun illustrations that add to Wishkah’s rhyming. One page — “N is for Nirvana” — in particular shows a few of Aberdeen’s famed sons — Kurt Cobain, the founder of Nirvana; Joel Dublanko, the former Seattle Seahawks’ linebacker who played for Aberdeen High School, and Bryan Danielson, a famous WWE wrestler. The page includes the rhyme “We all know this one,” Rowe wrote. “But as for famous faces, Aberdeen has a ton!”

Rowe, whose bubbly personality showed throughout her conversation with The Daily World, wants people to look beyond the problems Aberdeen has and focus on the good. If not for themselves, then for their children.

“I believe every single kid deserves to be able to open a book and be like, ‘This is where I’m from and this is why it’s so great!’” Rowe said.

Rowe has Aberdeen to thank for one huge part of her life: She met Leroy in Aberdeen.

“We chose to move to Aberdeen because my husband went to school here,” Rowe said about Grays Harbor College. “He graduated. We met here, because I was in a Running Start program and we met there. I fell in love with him and I fell in love with the city.”

While Rowe sees a few of the issues the city faces, such as homelessness and drug use, she wants to look past that.

“I was able to look above (it) because I was falling in love with my husband. …” Rowe said. “I was so excited whenever I got to come here to visit him. The college has so much going on all the time and the teachers and the community are so nice.”

Rowe said nobody seems to talk about the various events transpiring across Aberdeen. One of the events Rowe loves is the water balloon fight on Thanksgiving Day, which happens annually on Myrtle Street. One of her pages refers to that very event.

“That’s a wonderful thing, to be able to bring your kids to Myrtle Street on Thanksgiving and to throw water balloons with Aberdeen residents and Hoquiam residents,” Rowe said. “That’s a beautiful tradition.”

Rowe said the problem is people don’t seem to know about events such as the water balloon fight on Myrtle Street.

“That’s why I’m so happy with this book and happy to be doing this series, and including all these traditions and the things that people don’t even see,” Rowe said. “Because I seriously feel the reasons why people say, ‘the community’s dying, oh our town is going to hell,’ is because they’re so busy looking at all the negatives that they don’t realize nothing is going to get better if you only focus on those negatives.”

While the book is aimed for children and to show the good things about Aberdeen, it also points out a little history of the logging industry, nearby horticulture and zoology throughout Grays Harbor, and the culture that is nearby. And Rowe has done her research.

“A is for Aberdeen” in the end was not just me,” Rowe said. “It was a community project. When I start developing these books, I go into depth with my community about it. Every letter I have peer editors from the community giving me feedback. One of my pages is ‘Q is for Quinault.’ I got in contact with members from the Quinault (Indian) Nation, asking what items they’d like to be seen. I got in contact with Quinault children and being like ‘what are some things you’d like to be able to open the book and be like ‘Oh my gosh, I know that!’”

Rowe has also included a scavenger hunt of sorts for the children. The scavenger hunt shows many of the locations Rowe includes throughout the book. Once the reader, or their parents, mark all of the locations — such as local schools, parks, shops, restaurants, etc. — the child can add their name onto the Certificate of Achievement at the very end of the book. The certificate anoints the child as an official “expert of Aberdeen, Washington.”

Rowe wanted to thank the people who helped her get the book off the ground, which includes Tectonic Comics and Games, in Aberdeen; Bee Street Espresso, in Aberdeen; and Harbor Books, in Hoquiam. When her book released, she sold more than 100 copies at Harbor Books, in Hoquiam.

But, the reason why she started writing was for her family.

“I started writing for my daughter so she can love where she grows up and feel connected to her roots,” Rowe’s quote says on the back of the book.

Rowe has already started on her next book: “H is for Hoquiam.” She hopes to have it finished by this Christmas.

For people who want to buy the book, they can buy locally — $15 for paperback and $22 for hardcover — at Bee Street Espresso and Harbor Books. Or, they can buy online at Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.