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Life with Lenny

Growing up can be difficult. As a kid this ever-changing world around us can be a scary place. Trying to grasp these new questions and experiences makes it easy to get lost in a maze of confusion and uncertainty. Luckily, there is help in the form of a sasquatch named Lenny.

Lenny the Bigfoot is the star of the new children book, “A Family for Lenny”, written by Mechanicville native Andrew Ferrone and featuring art by Liza Salmon. “A Family for Lenny” is the first adventure for the titular bigfoot that tackles tough questions and situations that some children face on a daily basis. More specifically, this book covers childhood abandonment.

Andrew Ferrone, the writer of “A Family for Lenny.”

“The main goal of this book is to kind of teach those lessons that often times authors are afraid to touch on in children’s books. In other words, for example, “A Family for Lenny” touches on the topic of childhood abandonment. It’s geared towards kids growing up without one or both of their birth parents and this book is kind of different in that it doesn’t have the typical happy ending.”

This sense of pragmatism and wanting to touch upon these issues were some of the main driving forces behind the push to create Lenny and his story. Ferrone, a third grade teacher at Martin Luther King Magnet School in Schenectady, would see kids having to deal with this everyday. 

“I had so many kids in my classes over the years that were facing this situation and then didn’t have answers,” said Ferrone. It was in his search to find a children’s book that spurred him to write his very own. Ferrone was so dissatisfied with the answers given by the books he found that he took it upon himself to provide some of his own.

“I was looking for a children’s book to help teach these kids or help show, you know, you can still have a positive life. And I found most children’s books that deal with these situation have the perfect ending where the main character finds their parents in the end and it’s hard to relate to. So, that’s where ‘Family For Lenny’ was born, Lenny struggles with that issue, ‘Where are my parents? Why did they leave me? Was it something I did?’ Ferrone said, “he does realize that he has characters around him, he has people around that do love, that do care about him. There is a happy ending but it’s not the fairy tale happy ending.

Artist Liza Salmon hard at work creating Lenny’s world.

Even though Ferrone had a clear goal in mind in what to tackle in his book, he still struggled on how to present his ideas. It wasn’t until he was doing a construction job at the artist Salmon’s home, where he saw a painting of a Bigfoot laying around, that he came to a realization. Ferrone asked Salmon about the picture and she nonchalantly said, “Oh, that’s Lenny.” Ferrone found how he was going to tell his story and tackle these issues.

“That’s the ultimate goal, I want kids to relate and that fairy tale ending isn’t realistic for so many kids. At such a young age they are so trusting when you do a fairy ending where ‘I found my parents’ at the end of the book. Kids grab on to that and really what’s happening is they are set up for another letdown and the last thing these kids need is another letdown.”

After “A Family For Lenny”, Ferrone and Salmon will continue the series, tackling a new topic with each book. “These problems are real. Sadly enough, they seem to be increasing more and more. This is one book that deals with childhood abandonment, but “Lenny’s Life Lessons”, the greater series, is going to touch on some serious childhood problems. The one we’re hoping to have released by Christmas deals with a child (Lenny) who feels different.”

“A Family for Lenny” is available now through CreateSpace and Amazon. Both links can be found on the official website at lennyslifelessons.com.

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