A biker from Niangua is making a name for himself in the business of protecting children. Len Hart is a court liaison for his group, The Guardians of the Children, which advocates against child abuse. He is also the author of several children’s books with many more written and on the way.
Hart also rides 100 miles round trip in order to read to Head Start children in Mountain Grove, and he has been doing it for years. It is a passion for him, not a money maker. Hart says he does it all for the children. Reading to the children gave him the idea to write his own books.
“Usually when you go to head start, one of the teachers will hand you a book and you turn sideways to read that book that they handed you. You try to read it upside down and sideways so the children can see the pictures. They get upset real quick if they ain’t got a picture to see. The stories are cute and all that, but they don’t really teach a whole lot,â€ said Hart.
â€œI’m not throwing rocks at other people’s stories. But I told the children, ‘I have an idea. What would you like to have a story about? Of course they all raised their hands. I told them to think about it and tell their teacher, she will write them all down and will e-mail me. Then I will see if I can’t write a story with the things that you want in it’. I got a list of about 22 different things, and of course you gotta have pictures for all of them. Some I could cross out right away because they were copy written stuff like SpongeBob, or Wonder Woman. They had such a big variety of things from sisters, to dragons, puppy dogs, and big green tractors. I said, ‘I think I’ve messed up. I don’t know how I’m going to make a story out of 17 different things with a wide variety’. I got to thinking about it and the Lord put it on my mind, ‘Why don’t you just make the story exactly what the children want?’â€
Thatâ€™s exactly what Hart did. He has published several books in his ‘For the Children’ series. The series has a variety of themes. At first, Hart said that he did not have a picture for every page so he started paying closer attention and began to do his own illustrations. Hart adds that he found a way to make a book with spiral binding, which allows the children to see pictures on one side of the book, while he reads the words on the other. Hart likes to write books that do more than just tell a story. He wants the children to learn while they are having fun listening.
“I did ‘Bobby Likes Wheels’. It taught about shapes. Every time Bobby saw something round, it made him think about a wheel. Then I showed them a picture of a square and said, ‘Is this a circle? Is this round’? And they said, ‘Oh no, no, no’. Then I would show them a triangle, and an oval and finally show a circle,â€ he said
“None of these are money makers. I did it for the children. But I did put them up on Amazon, and Ebooks,” Hart explained.
The books are priced at 99 cents each.
Hart is also a driven member of The Guardians of the Children, which helps local law enforcement and children who are in, or have been in abusive homes and situations. The group’s goal is to serve as a public benefit organization to improve the quality of life in their community by educating the public and making them aware of ways to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to the reality of child abuse. When they are introduced to children, they provide mentoring, support and protection, when it is necessary. The group is are also a non-profit organization.
“A whole lot of us that are in Guardians of the Children are in Bikers Against Child Abuse. We have a lot of experience in caring for children. The Guardians of the Children allows us to do a whole lot more for the children and their families. We’re not mad at the Bikers Against Child Abuse or anything, we consider them our brothers in doing the same thing. We became the first and only chapter in Missouri towards the end of May. They had a big party, and sixty people from other states who were past members from Guardians of the Children all showed up.”
GOC will be set up at Wal-Mart in Marshfield on October 24th and will provide information, candy, balloons, and will take pictures of children while sitting on group members’ motorcycles.
You can find out more about the Guardians of the Children here, or call them at 417-241-8254.
Ben Cain is a freelance contributor to KSPR.com’s 11 Cities.Â