JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Master Sgt. Daniel Crook serves his country as a military working dog scheduler at the Air Force Security Forces Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland by day, but by night he writes and illustrates books for children. Through his stories, he hopes to bring a little light to what many see as a troubled world.
When the pandemic began, Crook immediately saw reading as a way to effect positive change.
“During the early stages of the pandemic, when many across the globe were isolated, we wanted to encourage children to stay at home and help limit exposure and the spread of the virus,” Crook said. “We decided to consolidate our first ten books into one digital download and put it out for free for a limited time. The results were interesting.”
The book was downloaded 793 times across nine different countries.
One of Crook’s other books subtly touches on the topic of suicide prevention in the veteran community, which gives parents the opportunity to discuss the topic with their children.
This book is unique in that it was written not just for kids, but also for adults - specifically, those who have served in the military, Crook said.
“I hope the book helps achieve cross-talk between parents and children,” he said. “I believe if a member is at their most vulnerable state and is facing a difficult decision, the memory of their child and this specific discussion will resurface and the member will choose to seek help instead.”
Mental health is an important topic for Crook, who struggles with anxiety and depression himself and whose son was diagnosed with the learning disorder dyslexia. Both issues served as catalysts for his career as a writer.
Crook likes to use his creative work to bring awareness to other pertinent topics as well, such as healthy eating, patience, bullying, self-worth, loss and grieving, gender barriers and racial bias.
This senior non-commissioned officer says he did not get into writing books for the money, but for a bigger purpose.
“I write the books to help others,” he said. “Life is all about perspective. I see the numbers and believe each of those readers was searching for the specific book for a reason and either found the help, solitude or enjoyment they were searching for.”