Storytellers Seek to Find the Light

Illustrating and writing team Gnat and Corky visit Antioch Community High School to share their story about capturing the true spirit of children.


Emily Higgins

Natalie Sorrentino’s main illustration for “Addison the Light Catcher,” a heart warming story about a younger sisters journey in seeking out her brother’s light.

It only takes 32 questions and a potential interview for author Courtney Kotloski and illustrator Natalie Sorrentino to capture the spirit of real kids and create a meaningful story.

Each book created within the Gnat and Corky series focuses on a child with a different perspective on life. Every personal story and poem that is created holds a universal message to spread acceptance and love that can be understood by all ages.

The first book in the series, “Addison the Light Catcher,” sheds insight on what it is like to be an advocate for a younger sibling with special needs. The watercolor illustrations target young kids and the inspiring words within each book draws in a mature audience.

“Everybody has a light inside,” Kotloski said. “Every single person has a point and purpose for being here. It is important to share your light and seek it out with others.”

The most recent book, “Will it,” features sophomore William Barr and his story of seeking as many opportunities as he can before he is unable to. Barr was able to fill out the fun, quirky interview questions on Gnat and Corky’s website, such as “What do the stars do when the sun comes up?” and “What does the tooth fairy do with the teeth they collect?” From there, it takes a personal interview for a true story to blossom onto paper.

Throughout both of their writing and illustrating careers, the dynamic duo has received continuous support. Both Sorrentino and Kotloski have been encouraged to pursue their dreams and hobbies at a young age and have learned valuable lessons throughout their journey.

In this year’s Storytellers Series, Gnat and Corky represent what it means to be a true storyteller: to seek out a story worth telling, capturing a powerful message and placing it for others who deserve to hear it.

“We are more alike than different,” Sorrentino said. “In the world we live in today, there is so much focus on what separates us, and that furthers the divide. When you take away all of that and you reach the core, we are truly more alike and have a story to share.”