Children’s Book Celebrates Fort Smith Bicentennial

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A children's book is being released as Fort Smith celebrates its Bicentennial and features local experiences and history through the eyes of a child.

My City is a Fort is preparing to hit bookshelves.

"It was a great opportunity for them to understand how cool our city is and what their role is in it and that was our inspiration for the whole thing," author Kathy Watson said.

Watson began writing the book two years ago and was inspired by the concept of a fort.

"The idea of the opening line of this came to me," Watson said. "Forts are cool and we all build forts, whether it's in your backyard or the living room. We've all done that."

Every page includes a different adventure you can experience in Fort Smith, including Fort Chaffee, UA- Fort Smith, Judge Parker's courtroom, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and much more.

"I feel like putting all of those things together is kind of interesting because the kids kind of get to explore all of these different things that are in Fort Smith," Stacy Bates, illustrator said.

The colorful illustrations are all done by Bates, a local artist and elementary school teacher.

"I know how great Fort Smith is, but even after illustrating the book it was kind of reinforcing everything that I thought about it," Bates said.

Both women created this vision together along with publisher Crystal Costa and the Bicentennial Board, a book that will be read by thousands of people for generations to come.

Thanks to giving sponsors around the area, every elementary school in Fort Smith will receive copies of the book, allowing every child the chance to get to see and read the book.

If you want to get your hands on the book and meet the talented ladies behind it, they're doing a book-signing on Thursday night (May 3) at the Fort Smith Main Library branch on Rogers Avenue from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

To purchase My City is a Fort online, click here.