For years, Charles Pratt has been a father. For four years, he’s been a student resources officer with the Bakersfield Police Department. At the start of this year–he became a children’s author–the book is called “Excuse me, I Have a Question.”
“They inspired me to tell the story I've had in my head for years and years and years,” Charles Pratt said about how his family, the people he works with, and the students he serves were his ‘why’ behind writing the book.
“A lot of things inspired the book,” Pratt said. “More specifically, it’s the kids that I work with on a daily basis in the Bakersfield City School District. Just seeing their youth, their drive and motivation. But also some of the other kids who don’t have a lot and need a mentor.
The book follows two friends who dream of becoming police officers. The story begins when the boys get to shadow a police officer for the day.
“It’s being able to bridge that gap so to speak, to let these kids know we are human as well. We are not robots. We do have feelings. We do things outside of the job. Obviously, I wrote a book. I try to get down to their level as far as talking to them on a regular basis. And showing them what we do.”
Pratt shows “kids of any age” through the perspective of a nine-and-a-half year old, the daily operations of the police department, what they do in the field, and how they interact with each other and civilians. Pratt is already working on a sequel.
“It’s a story of friendship, a story of encouragement, [and] it’s the story of following your dreams, aspirations,” Pratt said. “Also going back to the title, ‘Excuse Me, I Have a Question, it talks about always answering or asking even when you may not get the answer, but continuing to ask them, especially for kids.”
Pratt asked his own questions during readings of the book to BCSD students he serves.
“One of the schools at Fremont Elementary [was] one of my test classes, so they actually got to read it before it got published,” Pratt said. “So they were excited when I came back, they got excited and asked me a lot of questions about the book.”