Forgotten Kitchen Utensils Prompt New VocationBy Kayleen Reusser fs82 Published: Aug 17, 2018
A couple of dusty, forgotten kitchen utensils behind a refrigerator prompted 1991 Summit Christian College graduate Dr. Kent Kessler g91 to find a new vocation, that of children’s author.
Kessler, a native of Liberty Center, OH, began his degree in Christian education at Fort Wayne Bible College (FWBC). By the time his four years had ended, the institution had changed its name to Summit Christian College (SCC).
Over the years, Kessler worked as a youth minister and pastor. He currently works in the Taylor University mail room, writes church curriculum and teaches online classes in Theology, Old Testament Survey, Evangelism and Discipleship for Ohio Christian University.
But it was his role as father that prompted Kessler to think about becoming an author. He and his wife, Melissa, are parents to four children ranging in age from 8-19.
When the children were younger, Kessler was a stay-at-home dad while Melissa worked as a music teacher in public schools. After taking a role, where she helped children to read, she now works again as a music teacher in the Eastbrook Schools in Grant County, IN.
With the emphasis on reading and education in the family, it seemed natural Kent would often take his children to visit their local library. “The library was close to our home," he said. “The kids loved to explore its wonderful children’s area.”
As he read books to them, Kessler was inspired to write his own children’s books. But what to write about?
In 2009, the question was answered when, while cleaning behind the family’s stove and refrigerator, Kessler discovered a couple of kitchen items that had been dropped and shoved aside. “I wondered what they might say if they woke up in the middle of the night and could talk to each other," he said.
Kessler made up names and scenarios for the items. A wooden spoon became Count Spatula, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Other characters included Woody, a wooden spoon, Coli the Colander, and four measuring cups that became a family of singers.
Kessler wrote 30 stories, dividing them into six books which became the series ‘Tales from Three Drawers Down’.
As Kessler shared the stories with his kids, he was gratified when they asked for more. But there was more to his storytelling than entertainment. “The stories not only introduce kids to items used in the kitchen for cooking, but they explore spiritual aspects," he said. “When a utensil finds itself dropped behind an appliance and seems to be lost and forgotten, we can think how things in life can change and be unsettling but as Christians we’ll stick together.”
Each story has questions at the end of the chapters to provide opportunities for adults to interact with children. His daughter, Allie, wrote questions for Books 4-6. “She included a Bible verse that tied in with each story," he said.
According to Kessler, the stories are designed for children up to eight years of age. “I encourage adults to use appropriate kitchen utensils to act out the stories," he said.
The stories are color-illustrated and available for purchase from Kessler and on Amazon. “I hope to create them as eBooks as well," he said.
Kessler, has performed readings to children at public libraries and at Taylor University. He is available for speaking at other events. “I enjoy presenting my stories to children," he said. “They encourage me and provide valuable input. I hope to encourage them with my stories as well.”