Arts & Entertainment

Cranford Resident Releases Debut Children's Book

Kozak with her sons, who inspired “The Travels of Adventurous Alexander and Relentless Russell.” Credits: Kristina Kozak
Kozak created both the book and the illustrations. Credits: Kristina Kozak
Kozak with her family on vacation. Credits: Kristina Kozak

CRANFORD, NJ – Cranford resident Kristina Kozak recently released her debut book, “The Travels of Adventurous Alexander and Relentless Russell.”

The children’s book, written and illustrated by Kozak, is based on her two sons as they travel through the Dominican Republic and explore new places, meet new people and animals and learn interesting facts along the way. It is the first one in a series of books, with each book focused on a new destination.

“I got the inspiration for this series from all the fun vacations we have been on,” Kozak said. “I grew up in a single-family household. My mother didn't have the money to take us on any trips. I am trying to give my sons the experiences I wasn't fortunate enough to have at their age.”

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Throughout the book, photos of people, schools, animals and scenery are incorporated with the story. At the end of the novel, Kozak lists famous people from the Dominican Republic and links to websites where people can donate to children in the Dominican Republic who need school supplies and medical expenses.

“I sincerely hope the book and series brings people or children to another place where they can learn and have fun at the same time,” Kozak said. “These memories are forever etched in our minds, but ones I must share with others who don't get to see all these great destinations.”

Kozak, who’s lived in Cranford for 14 years, is an elementary education teacher in Woodbridge. She’s been visiting local schools to talk about her book and introduce the destinations to kids.

“My sons like the book a lot, but they’re embarrassed because they were much younger at the time,” Kozak said.

Kozak is already planning the rest of the series, which will explore Costa Rica, Florida, the Jersey Shore, Rome and more. Right now, she’s planning multiple book signings and author visits.

“I hope to see my book everywhere in the future,” Kozak said. “I would love to have a cartoon series of each place, an app or online interactive game where children can go explore with the boys, and a line of character toys someday.”

“The Travels of Adventurous Alexander and Relentless Russell” is available now on Kozak’s website and at Periwinkle’s, where she will do a book signing on Saturday, Dec. 9. The book is available for preorder on Amazon and will be released in Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and Mascot Books later this year.

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