“Clayton Sparks Leaves His Mark” by Abby Gray

“Clayton Sparks Leaves His Mark” by Abby Gray 175 219 Reader Views Kids

Clayton Sparks Leaves His Mark

Abby Gray
BC Books, LLC (2022)
ISBN: 979-8985396034
Reviewed by Diana Coyle for Reader Views (06/2023)

From a very young age, Clayton Sparks was a kind and considerate person and made friends wherever he went according to the story, “Clayton Sparks Leaves His Mark: A True Story of a Hero” by author Abby Gray. He was so kind that as a child, instead of asking for gifts on his birthday, he asked friends and relatives for monetary donations he was going to give to the local food bank. He even donated gifts to the less fortunate at Christmas.

My very first impression of this book was that Clayton Sparks was a very special person, indeed. Instead of benefiting from gifts given to him, he thought of the needs of others before anything he may have wanted at the time. Without a second thought, he wanted to give to the local food bank to supply food for the needy. Or even at Christmas, he wanted to fulfill the needs of children or families that were without the basic essentials. If everyone could adopt such a kindhearted attitude toward others as Clayton did, the world would be a better place overall.

It was extremely sad to read that Clayton’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 24 when he was involved in a skiing accident. At such a young age, Clayton had touched so many lives with his kindness, love, and grace that it was decided a children’s book would be written to honor the special person he was. I was additionally touched when I read the back of the cover. I found out that the author, Abby Gray, is the wife of Clayton’s liver recipient, and her writing this book was a way to honor the remarkable gift that Clayton shared with them. Plus, the illustrations were done by Ms. Gray’s mother, Dee Everett. What a wonderful way to pay honor to such a caring and giving man as Clayton!

I especially loved that the author included two full pages of suggestions in the back of the book that children can do either by themselves or with their families to spread some love and kindness around in their communities. Suggestions ranged from having a birthday party and asking for monetary donations instead of gifts, supplying food for a local food pantry, or volunteering at a soup kitchen handing out meals to the hungry. Yet another suggestion was visiting a nursing home to spread some cheer to the residents. Children and parents have a nice list to choose from to inspire their own acts of kindness in their communities.

Although this book didn’t suggest a specific age range for readers, I would say it’s aimed at younger readers, not only because of the simple sentence structures and illustrations offered, but it’s also a very short book that is just the right length for younger readers to enjoy. “Clayton Sparks Leaves His Mark: A True Story of a Hero” by Abby Gray is a wonderful way to teach kindness to younger children by sharing this book with them. Children are so impressionable at younger ages, and this would be the ideal book to teach this virtue to them. Well done, Ms. Gray! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.