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A project that's a literary endeavor

Tory Jacobson decided to forgo the shovel, dirt and blueprints typically involved in Eagle Scout projects and try something more his style. But that doesn't mean there is any less work involved.

The Math and Science Academy senior and Troop 196 member who said he one day wants to be a television show writer, is currently writing and illustrating a children's book for his Eagle Scout project. His goal is to finish the book and raise sufficient funds so he can publish enough copies to provide to two children's hospitals in the Twin Cities.

Writing and illustrating a children's book may seem like a difficult task for most people, but to Tory it's second nature. He comes from a family of recreational artists.

"My mom and my grandma have always been good at painting, but I like to draw," said Tory, 17, whose book's title is yet to be determined but is centered around two character he created named Mac and Earl.

The characters are best friends and find a secret passage in Mac's house that leads to a fantasy world, where Earl is called to fill the shoes of a missing hero. The attention that Earl receives makes Mac jealous and puts a strain on their friendship. In the end, though, the two realize that they both need each other to save the fantasy world and they become friends again by the end.

Mother Janet said her son has been drawing since she can remember and that he's got the natural talent and creativity needed to put together a compelling children's book. He's also got a little help.

Digging in

As a part of the requirements of the Eagle Scout project, Tory has to incur 100 hours of volunteer work, and part of that has been enlisting feedback from his younger brother Charter and his classmates at Valley Crossing Elementary.

Earlier this year, Tory had a marketing session with the elementary students, in which he asked for feedback on what would make a good children's book. He said the brainstorming session was extremely helpful.

"I have a lot of ideas about what kind of story I want to tell," Tory said, "but it's the kids who are going to read it. So they gave me some good ideas about what they would want to see in terms of illustrations and characters."

"I had a choice of characters for them to look at and tell me which ones they think would be a good character for a villain, hero, everyday person, a teacher, a person in their community, etc. and why. I also had a few paragraphs of story lines for them to tell me how they felt about it or what they thought should happen next. So they are a major factor in helping to write this book."

Tory has also enlisted friends and family to help him raise the money necessary to find a publisher for the book.

Recently, he put on a fundraiser at O'Malley's that brought in more than $1,000. Now all he needs, he said is someone with expertise in the publishing world.

"I think that's going to be the hardest part," he said. "Once we can get a publisher, that would help us get an idea of how many books we can print."

Once he gets the books printed, he'll be providing copies to Gilette Children's Hospital and United Children's Hospital. And, of course, he plans to send some copies to the library at Valley Crossing.

Tory Jacobson is looking for anyone in the book publishing industry who may be able to help him with his publishing goal. Those interested in helping can email Tory at or his mother Janet Jacobson at