Oct. 24—HAVERHILL — Dressed in his gear and toting a camera, Mitchell Foy set out on an adventure to photograph whatever came across his path.
He thought he’d encounter a red fox, a deer or maybe a family of turkeys or other woodland creatures.
“That’s when I found footprints of a Tyrannosaurus Rex,” he said. “Then I saw her. She was walking away but I followed her to a land of living dinosaurs.”
That is the essence of a children’s book that Foy, 20, wrote and illustrated during his senior year at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“I got the idea from my graphic arts teacher, Brian Trainor, who told me and the rest of the class to write a short story,” he said.
He recalled his kindergarten days at Pentucket Lake Elementary School, and a 100 day of school celebration for which he brought in 100 plastic dinosaurs that he’d collected over time.
“Since I love dinosaurs I included them in my story,” he said. “I kept writing and when Mr. Trainor saw me drawing sketches as part of the assignment, he encouraged me to turn my story into a children’s book and to find a publishing house.”
Mitchell Foy lives in Haverhill with his parents Michelle and Shawn Foy and older brother, David Foy.
Michelle Foy said she contacted the Austin Macauley publishing house then sent in her son’s story and his illustrations, hoping it would catch their attention.
“We mailed it off to them in October and last November they told us they wanted to publish it,” she said.
“After several rounds of Mitchell proofreading his book, the first copies arrived in August.”
She said the book was a smash hit during an event held on Oct. 16 at the Sawmill Ridge Community Center in Atkinson. A capacity crowd arrived to listen to Mitchell Foy read his book, “T-Rex and Me,” she said.
At the conclusion of his reading, he received a standing ovation then people in attendance stood in line to buy the book and have it autographed. The line of over 100 people lasted for more than two hours, he said.
“We sold out that day and now we’re ordering more,” he said about his book, which he said should appeal to children in kindergarten up through elementary school grades.
Mitchell Foy was diagnosed with autism at age 5 but says it never held him back from passing all MCAS exams, graduating high school, writing a children’s book and working on another.
He said his second book involves a brave knight in shining armor battling a fierce dragon.
“I’m thinking the dragon and I will become friends, just like the T-Rex became my friend,” he said.
Mitchell Foy’s book is available on Amazon and through Austin Macauley Publishers USA.