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The Tortoise and the Author

Local children’s writer Simons Acquah publishes stories that reflect positivity
      Forget the tortoise and the hare. There’s a new turtle in town. Simons Acquah, a writer originally from West Africa, is introducing a new turtle. 
      Fourteen years ago, the Ghanaian storyteller went to Jefferson City, Missouri, on an academic scholarship to Lincoln University. After graduation, he and his family settled in our neck of the woods. 
      “My wife Kate and I both grew up on the water,” Acquah told me. “So we moved to North Beach to feel closer to our roots.” 
     There Acquah, an insurance agent by trade, follows his passion: getting children reading through telling stories. His kids are his collaborators. “My three children love my books,” he said. “They are my first line of defense when I’m editing or if I need help with a story.” 
      His stories are his own, but the colorful illustrations are not. They’re the work of graphic artist H. Likhon. “I’ve never met him in person,” Acquah said. “But he brings my ­stories to life.”
       That collaboration realized Acquah’s first children’s book, The Speeding Tortoise. It’s the story of a slow tortoise whose wish to be fast is granted as he begins a journey into self-discovery. Acquah’s most recent release, The Flying Tortoise continues this narrative while encouraging readers to work hard for their dreams.
      The North Beach author’s next addition in his series, Bully Monkey, will hit the presses before summer. The main character, the Tortoise, is the same. All are self-pubished.
     His books are for children, but the message reaches across generations.      Acquah said the tortoise illustrates his favorite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saying: If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving. 
      “I believe the Tortoise heard Dr. King very clearly,” Acquah said. “It always moves forward despite its many limitations. I want to publish stories that reflect that positivity for children anywhere in the world.”
      For more on Acquah’s story and series: