Montana Treasure: Great Falls author encouraging creativity with - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Montana Treasure: Great Falls author encouraging creativity with 'Sugarbeet Falls'

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In a world where expressing creativity can sometimes be frowned on, one man in Great Falls is doing his part to show children it's ok to have a different outlook. He's doing it with the help of students across the state.

Ryan Acra's office is filled with personal artwork made by students, and he uses it to inspire others.

After having a child when he was very young himself, Acra took the role of a parenting very seriously and wanted to ensure his son had an outlet for creativity.

“He always wanted to play superheroes, and I remember one day - it sticks out in my head - he’s like, 'Today I want to be The Mist.' I said, 'That’s a cool superhero name, what’s The Mist,' he said, 'He's invisible, but when he walks by you he makes you wet,' and I thought man, that is a lame superpower that you make some people damp. But for some reason it stuck with me, it was so creative and fun,” said Acra.

That’s where the inspiration for Acra's book series Sugarbeet Falls all started. The main character has the ability to conjure up real-life superheroes to help him with day-to-day life. Acra self-published the first book and placed the story in Sugarbeet Falls, a fictional Montana town that's inspired by the real towns he grew up in, like Ekalaka and Wolf Point.

What's more important to Acra is teaching kids to develop their creativity.

Acra travels to schools and community events throughout Montana, helping kids come up with their own superheroes, and many decorate his office today.

“My favorite part of the job has been doing author visits to schools," he says, "I’ve only done schools here in Montana and I’ve done probably 15 or 16 schools. I talk with classes kindergarten all the way through high school."

He says the best part is seeing the kids who don’t think they can be creative have fun with it.

“It's so fun when you see that light bulb go off that says, 'Wait I can do this, I can be creative,'” said Acra.

So as he continues to write the books, Acra challenges everyone to be creative and find the superhero within.

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