Professor’s forgotten family-penned children’s book finally published

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 13:39
Kent Chapman and his daughters, Claire Jarman and Meredith Chapman
Kent Chapman and his daughters, Claire Jarman and Meredith Chapman

DENTON, Texas (UNT) — Kent Chapman, an accomplished biology professor and researcher at the University of North Texas, is now also a children’s book author. Chapman actually wrote the book around 20 years ago with his two daughters when they were only 5 and 3.

“The girls were learning how to read, and so one weekend we did a little project,” said Chapman. “We decided to make a silly little story together and called it ‘Pat the Bat.’ The girls drew pictures of his adventures, we stapled the pages together and they took their new book to school to read to their classmates. Then about a year ago, we were doing some cleaning up and found it in a closet.”

Chapman took the time to reread the book and realized it was actually good. So, he turned to a friend who is a professional illustrator and together they were able to get “Pat the Bat” published.

“It’s almost like a legacy to pass down,” said Claire Jarman, Chapman’s oldest daughter and a UNT alumna. “It’s so sentimental and came from the heart. We did it as a family and one day we get to pass it down to our kiddos. In fact, it’s also not just for family. Our dad has created a book other families get to share.”

Claire and her younger sister Meredith Chapman say this book is a great example of their childhood and how they were always involved in fun adventures and activities with their father. As they grew up, watching Chapman teach at UNT, they both decided to attend the university and follow in his footsteps as educators. Claire graduated in 2014 and is now a science teacher at Parkhill Junior High in Richardson. Meredith just graduated May and recently used “Pat the Bat” as a teaching tool.

“I did my student teaching at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD,” said Meredith. “I read the book to my second grade students recently and they all loved it. They thought it was so cool that I wrote it with my dad and now they all want to write a book.”

Chapman is also interested in writing more books. While “Pat the Bat” has only been out for less than a year, it’s done so well that a sequel will be released this fall titled “Nat the Rat.” In the meantime, the family’s first book is currently sold on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble and on the website of his publisher, Maclaren-Cochrane publishing. 

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