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Author names character in book after Chazy youth

CHAZY - One local youth made such an impression on an author, he's become a character in his latest book.

Derek Drake, a seventh grade student at Chazy Central Rural School, has a minor character named after him in children's sports fiction author Fred Bowen's new book, "Touchdown Trouble."

The story of Drake's inclusion in the book dates back to last September, when Drake wrote a letter to Bowen as part of an assignment in Sonya Lambert's sixth grade class. In his letter, Drake wrote what he thought of Bowen's book, "Winner Takes All," the fictional story of a young boy on a baseball team named Kyle who fakes a catch which leads to his team winning the league championship.

"The book made me think about how I would react if I were in a situation like Kyle's," Drake wrote in his letter. "I understand that because Kyle made the catch behind the wall and nobody probably saw him, it was tempting for him to lie."

After reading Bowen's book, Drake wrote he will "always tell the truth."

The words in Drake's letter were moving enough for Bowen to not only name a character in his new book after him, but to acknowledge him in a speech as well. Though Bowen is an author and children's sports columnist for the Washington Post, he was also an attorney for the federal government for 30 years. And, in his retirement party last September, shortly after ter receiving Drake's letter, Bowen pulled out the letter and read to his friends and colleagues what Drake had written, demonstrating his motivation for wanting to retire from law and write full-time for children.

"I think they all understood at that moment exactly why I was retiring from the law," Bowen wrote in an e-mail to CCRS superintendent Kevin R. Mulligan.

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