Don M. Winn

Genre: Children’s / Chapter Book / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: July 8, 2016

Number of Pages: 178

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The beloved tutor Alchir has vanished! And a dangerous criminal with a grudge against Alchir has just escaped from prison. Kaye is determined to find the tutor and earn a fine reputation as a knight. The search leads Kaye, Reggie, and Beau to a sinister manor house at the edge of a dark forest where nearby villagers live in terror of a deadly monster. As they investigate the mystery of the forest beast, they uncover a terrible plot that could destroy Knox. When there’s no one to turn to for help, can they save the kingdom-and their lives-by themselves?


*Silver Award Winner: Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

“A cracking, fun-filled adventure. Highly recommended!”

—The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“LEGEND OF THE FOREST BEAST captures colorful adventures, fun characters, and inspirational thoughts in a quick and easy read for children.” —IndieReader Review

“OMG! My kids and I just finished reading book 3 of the Sir Kaye series. We loved, loved, loved this book. It was full of twists and turns, excitement, near misses, and lots of humor. . . It’s a must read. The whole series is a must read. We are impatiently waiting for book 4!!” —Amazon Reviewer



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or Signed Copies from Progressive Rising Phoenix Press


Author Interview: Don M. Winn

1) Why should parents want their kids to read the Sir Kaye Series?

First, kids love the stories and the characters, so they’ll actually be reading. The books are fun and funny, featuring lovable characters learning to do the right thing—acting with courage and bravery, respect and loyalty—while having great adventures and developing solid friendships. Even the most reluctant readers are engaged.

And for parents who are concerned about such things, although the Kaye books are probably technically classified as fantasy—after all, they take place in the fictional land of Knox, which is loosely based on England of the late 12th century—magic and superpowers are not found in these books. Why? Books like that are very popular, but there are plenty of them out there. I wanted to create books that could help kids learn life lessons about how to live in the real world, how to handle big problems with their brains and ordinary human skills, just like all of us regular people have to. Superpowers and magic are not coping skills, and can’t replace them.

Parents will also recognize that the Kaye stories aren’t just entertaining, but contain great lessons for kids in a variety of situations: kids with absentee parents learning to handle their feelings, kids adapting to cope with dyslexia or other learning challenges, kids dealing with bullies, kids who fear they aren’t good enough but learn how to discover their strengths and feel good about themselves, and kids learning how to build and maintain good friendships despite the inevitable conflicts that arise between friends. Life lessons learned at an early age can mean fewer painful growth experiences later on.

2) Why do you write for children? What drew you to children’s literature?

As a dyslexic, I know what it’s like to struggle to read. My grandmother spent time with me, reading with me, and helped me develop a love of great stories. That love of story is what helped me persevere as a reader, and now a writer, although reading and writing will never be effortless for me.

The more stories I read as a kid, the more I learned to see myself differently. That was important, since nearly all of us who are dyslexic judge ourselves harshly. We always compare ourselves to our peers who seem to learn with little or no effort, and unfortunately, we can gain the impression from even well-meaning educators that we’re unmotivated, stupid, slow, or lazy.

But when I was immersed in a story with characters who had feelings like mine, or who struggled with challenges like mine, I learned that I wasn’t the only person who felt the way I did. It gave me hope to see that others could meet challenges and do difficult things and believe in themselves. That meant that there was hope for me!

Little did I know that I was encountering what’s called in psychology a “hero of self-reference.” While there weren’t any stories about people with dyslexia when I was a kid, reading about people who dealt with other struggles served my need to feel like I wasn’t that different from everybody else. Through stories, I learned that struggle is nothing to be ashamed of.

Today, at-risk readers and dyslexics are rarely presented with successful depictions of characters like themselves. And while I write to entertain all my readers, there’s a special place in my heart for struggling students who can’t imagine themselves ever being a good reader. I want them to see heroes of self-reference uncovering hidden strengths, dealing with their feelings and the frustrations of their own situations. I want kids to learn that if they need to do things differently to get the job done, that’s a strength, not a weakness.

Once kids actually learn to read, then, for the rest of their life, they read to learn. Reading still provides the largest educational platform. That means that for the tens of thousands of folks out there who never learned to read well, their learning opportunities diminish dramatically at a very young age. If I had never begun to think of myself as a reader, I could also have never been much of a learner.

I write books so at-risk readers can begin to think of themselves as readers and learners, full of potential and strength.

3) What inspired you to write the Kaye books? A particular person? An event?

The Kaye books grew out of a little writing exercise I did one day when I was bored. I wrote a short story about a knight named K who lived in the land of Knox. I used every single word in my dictionary that started with a silent K. (I really like dictionaries!) Anyway, that was the origin of a knight named K who could knit.

Years later, someone read the story and said, hey, what if this knight who knits was a kid? That idea took root in my mind, and then as I was visiting some elementary schools to talk about my picture books, the students kept begging for a chapter book, and those two events together eventually turned into Sir Kaye, the Boy Knight.

4) What kinds of interaction do you have with your fans? What do your fans mean to you?

One of my favorite things to do is to visit schools and interact with the kids. It always makes my day when I get an email from a reader. Here’s an example, one sent to me while The Lost Castle Treasure was still a work in progress. It was from an eleven-year-old boy named Kai, sent to me via his mother.

“Dear Mr. Winn, I really liked Sir Kaye and I want very much to read the next one. You advertise it at the end of the first book, but I’m frustrated that it isn’t available yet! Can you please tell me when it is coming out? (Can you write any faster? Maybe drink some more coffee?) From Kai, age 11 (and little brother Liam, 8)”

I’m happy to say that Kai is now enjoying the second and third Sir Kaye books and I hope I get another email from him soon that says he’s anxiously awaiting the fourth book.

5) What is your favorite scene from the Sir Kaye books?

The scenes I like best are those that involve moments of vulnerability on the part of the main characters, Kaye and his best friend Reggie. But to say any more than that would give away important parts of all three stories. However, there is one scene I really like that I can share without giving anything important away. In my second Sir Kaye book, The Lost Castle Treasure, a frightened Reggie is making a quick getaway from an unoccupied part of the castle and rushes headlong down the stairs. When he gets to the bottom of the last flight he trips over his own feet and goes rolling head over heels across the wide floor of a room that just happens to be the kitchen. Red-faced and out of breath, Reggie looks up and sees the castle cook and three kitchen boys staring down at him. The startled stares of the kitchen boys are interrupted by Abelard the cook, who asks, “Well, Master Reggie, what brings you to the kitchen?” Embarrassed, Reggie blurts out the only thing he can think of to explain his sudden arrival. “Do you have anything to eat?” he asks.

This particular scene is inspired by my boyhood experiences. All my neighborhood friends and I expended tremendous amounts of energy playing outside—exploring, bike riding, digging holes (another story), playing football, and hundreds of other things. When you use that much energy you just have to refuel. Frequently. So every few hours, one of our unfortunate mothers would discover several red-faced, grass-stained, mud-caked, smelly boys standing in her doorway and demanding, “Is there anything to eat?”



Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of ten picture books and three children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, and Legend of the Forest Beast. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others.

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic himself, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.










GRAND PRIZE: Author Skype Visit + Library Bound Copies of Books 1-3

2nd PRIZE: Skype Visit + 3 Softcover Copies of Books 1-3

3rd PRIZE: Signed Softcover Copy of Book 3

*Winners of Skype visits can gift them to a school, public library, or homeschooling parent*


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