Feb 29, 2012 • By

Drowsy Dad becomes winning writer

Like a lot of new parents, Ron Rauss suffered a serious slumber deficiency. The lack of sleep wasn’t a total nightmare, however. It inspired him to write the children’s book “Can I Just Take a Nap?” available now inside millions of specially marked boxes of Cheerios.

“I stayed home with my son right after he was born. Going through that experience, I think, taking naps was on my mind a lot,” Rauss recalls with a laugh.

Rauss wanted to create a story that interested children as well as the adults reading it to them.

“A lot of parents would love a kid who likes to take a nap, although most kids don’t. What would happen if you were lucky enough to have a child who loved his naps, but there was something that got in his way, and he couldn’t do that?” says Rauss.

Rauss began penning poetry when he was quite young but didn’t consider writing children’s books until he became a father two-and-a-half years ago. The Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author Contest gave Rauss the nudge he needed. The contest is a partnership with nonprofit First Book and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing that’s resulted in the distribution of 50 million children’s books inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios since 2002. (Read “10 years, 65 million books!”)

“My wife subscribed to Parents magazine, and there was a blurb, a little notice in there from General Mills about the contest. It was just a little thing in a corner space of the magazine, and I happened to see that.”

Rauss entered the contest in February 2010 and learned that he won in October 2010. There were more than 8,000 entries! In addition to getting his book inside Cheerios boxes, he received a $5,000 cash prize and a publishing deal with Simon and Schuster. Hardcover copies of “Can I Just Take a Nap?” go on sale in June.

Although Rauss studied architecture at Virginia Tech, writing has become his career. He has worked on a few different books since winning the Spoonfuls of Stories contest.

“I write a lot of picture books. I have a project called ‘I’m Allergic to My Iguana.’ That’s my next book. I’m starting a middle grade novel, as well,” explains Rauss.

Rauss says writing for kids, especially his tot Aiden, is a dream come true.

“I think this is something I will always do, and regardless if any of my other books get picked up or published, I have something to share with my son.”

Editor’s note: Rauss lives with his wife and son in the Washington, D.C. area. You can visit his writing desk and step into his studio at RonRauss.com.