For his entire life, Clay Boura has loved to draw and write stories. When he was just 12 years old and attending Best Junior High he created a cartoon character named Beamer which would go on to impact his life in ways he could have never imagined. Clay, a 1996 Ferndale High School graduate and current Oak Park resident, is also the proud parent of three Ferndale School District students. Clay dreamed of becoming a cartoonist, following in the footsteps of the great Charles Schulz or Jim Davis. He created his own cartoon strip with his character Beamer and submitted his concept to a number of comic strip syndicates, but was turned down each time. Not to be deterred or give up on his lifelong dream, Clay found encouragement and inspiration while reading bedtime stories to his children and had an epiphany: he would become a children’s book author & illustrator!
On January 6th, 2015, Clay released his first book Leave it to Beamer Presents: Don’t Let the Cat Out of the Bag. He has since released his second book, Leave it to Beamer Presents: The Elephant in the Room. The Beamer book series is all about English idioms and other figures of speech, especially how confusing they can be to kids (and adults). The books teach the meanings of the sayings in fun and memorable ways.
To get the word out about his book, Clay started in a familiar place: Ferndale Schools. Together, Clay & Beamer have visited every Ferndale School from the Early Childhood Center up to Ferndale Middle School as well as schools in Berkley, Royal Oak and as far as Alcona, sharing his love of storytelling with students and parents all the way. Self-publishing your own work isn’t all fun and games, though. Clay has also spent the past 2 years at school visits, assemblies, book fairs, craft shows, book signings and anywhere he can get his books out there. And his hard work has paid off! His books are now available at local and regional stores, from children’s boutiques like Modern Natural Baby to large book retailers like Barnes & Noble, as well as a number of online retailers.
Clay attributes some of his inspiration for pursing his dream to his time spent within Ferndale Schools. He says early access to the arts allowed him to explore and grow his creativity. “One other thing that has always stood out to me about Ferndale Schools is the diversity. From elementary school to high school, I was always surrounded by kids and teachers from all walks of life. That diversity was always very inspiring to me. No matter who you were or where you came from, anything was possible.”
The teachers that Clay had while attending Ferndale Schools played a big part in making him the person he is today so it only made sense that he send his three kids to Ferndale Schools so that they could grow up having the same positive experiences. “I am very fond of my time in Ferndale and I am extremely happy that my three children are now in Ferndale Schools.” When asked about his journey to becoming an author, Clay quotes the late author Napolean Hill, who said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This is the messages he shares with the students during his time at the schools. “No matter how young or old you may be, and no matter how big or small your dream may be…if you firmly believe that you can reach that dream and you’re willing to put in the hard work… you can do anything and be anything.”
If you are interested in purchasing any of Clay’s books you can find them locally at Modern Natural Baby in Downtown Ferndale or check out his website for online retailers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CLAY AND BEAMER WEBSITE: http://www.leaveittobeamer.
com/ FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/ ClayBouraBooks TWITTER: @ClayBoura