Neighbor stories

Eight-year-old becomes published author, holds book signing with help of Nextdoor

Written by Nick Brinkerhoff

How many people can say they were a published author before reaching middle school? A fourth-grade boy in Raleigh, NC can, and he’s hosting three book signings to celebrate this achievement.

Fourth-grader Christian Hutchins wrote a book called The Giant, which is about overcoming fears and the importance of teamwork. The story describes a giant who is treading heavily on the town and destroying it in the process and the goal is to stop him from further damaging the town. Christian’s father, Darryl, found the story in Christian’s backpack and instantly knew the story had a special spark to it that others would be interested in reading. Darryl told ABC Raleigh the story “had conflict and resolution, and I was like, ‘that’s neat for an 8-year-old concept.’ When I saw this, it was something I wanted to encourage him to continue doing.”

The next step was figuring out how to get the book published. That’s when Darryl turned to Nextdoor to seek advice around publishing and how to get the book distributed into school libraries. Among the publishing advice and praise from neighbors on Darryl’s post was a comment from Chris Ashworth, a neighbor that runs the local Hallmark Store. Chris was interested in checking out an advanced copy of the book and seeing if it would be something they would carry at their store. He was so impressed with the story and knew it would be popular amongst his customers, he decided to carry it and host a signing ceremony.


The Hallmark store has a long history in the Cary community, with Chris’ grandparents opening the store in the 1960s when the town was small and only had one stoplight. Since the beginning, Chris’ grandparents built the store on the groundwork of giving back and building the local community, so it was natural to help Christian get his book on the shelves. Chris told ABC Raleigh, “We’re always looking for local talent to showcase in our stores…So, when the book published and we met at the office and I found out how young he was, I was floored, it was amazing.” Chris hopes that by carrying the book, they can encourage and inspire other children to follow their dreams no matter what that may be.

Christian is already planning on writing a second book. In addition to being a young author, Christian is an entrepreneur and athlete. To be able to attend Jimmy Weinert’s Motocross Camp this summer, Christian raised his own money through odd jobs all which were found on Nextdoor. He pressure-washed decks, driveways, raked leaves, and helped clean businesses.

The first book signing will be held on August 18th between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Lynn’s and Daphne’s Hallmark Store, located at 1335 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27511. If you are not in the Raleigh area but are interested in purchasing Christian’s book The Giant, you can order it here.

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