A good teacher never stops learning.

A good teacher never stops learning.

Christopher Stanley has been an educator for 10 years, but it was a lesson from his son, Samuel, that inspired him to fulfill a long-time dream of writing books for children.

The books Stanley writes and publishes through Jump Splash Books, the imprint he founded with his childhood friend, illustrator Alexander LeVasseur, are designed to entertain and enlighten young readers.

The Grove City native and South-Western City School District alumnus returned May 11 to the district, paying visits to Finland Elementary School and the South-Western Kindergarten Center.

"It's my first time back to the district as an author," he said. "It's an honor and really humbling."

During his visit to the schools, Stanley read from his first book, The Tree Watcher, the story inspired by his 8-month-old son during a walk.

Stanley said he was preoccupied, thinking about the mundane details of life, when he looked down and noticed Samuel gazing intently at the trees that rose above him.

"Samuel was staring up at the trees with a look of wonder and amazement," he said. "I started looking at the trees through his eyes."

His son taught him we shouldn't take things for granted, Stanley said.

"It made me aware of the importance of mindfulness," he said. "There are amazing things to see all around us if we just stop to look at them."

That was the message Stanley imparted to the students at Finland and the kindergarten center last week.

At Finland, he read from his book and asked students to list all the benefits we get from trees.

Stanley's message about mindfulness fits in with an overall theme at Finland, Principal Elizabeth Hollis said.

"We're teaching our students that we all can be writers," she said, "and sometimes a student doesn't know what to write about in an assignment and we tell them, take a small moment in your life and make it something special."

It helps being able to have a writer who attended South-Western Schools visit her students, Hollis said.

"There's a greater connection than with an author from another city or state," she said. "Meeting a writer who is from our community, it helps inspire them to realize they can be writers or anything else they want to be."

The teachers he had at Richard Avenue, Brookpark Middle School and Grove City High School helped inspire him, Stanley said.

"The history teachers, especially, were so important to me," he said. "It was obvious they loved what they were doing and it helped me want to be a teacher myself."

Stanley, 31, previously was a social studies teacher. Along with his writing career, he is an adjunct professor of history and political science at Ohio Dominican University. He lives in Upper Arlington with his wife and children.

Jump Splash Books aims to inspire imagination and wonder in young readers, he said.

"Alex and I want to put something original in the world," Stanley said. "If we can make someone who reads our books happy, that's our purpose."

The team's new book, I Dreamed I Was a Bird, is the start of a series that reveals the imagination of a child wondering what it would be like to fly. Future books in the series will imagine the experience of being other type of animals.