The Release of “Will It”

Antioch alumna, Courtney Kotloski, wrote a children's book based on ACHS's sophomore William Barr.


Sierra Ward

"Will It" display at the book's release.

Courtney Kotloski, an Antioch Community High School alumna, knew she wanted to be an author from a young age; she has always been drawn to words. After college and an assortment of jobs, Kotloski met her illustrator Natalie Sorrentino. Together the pair created the characters of Gnat and Corky, which are apart of children’s book series based on real children.

“I think children’s stories, especially this project that is based on the spirit of real kids, helps us see each other more clearly and empathy can spread,” Kotloski said. “If we can be kind, empathetic and share joy and the unique spirit of all people of all abilities of all colors of all creeds, I think we can make an impact. We like creating these stories because the message is universal in all of them. Each book is different. Each kid is different, yet there is a universal tie that brings all readers in with messages of love, hope, joy, perseverance and humor: things we can all relate to.”

Gnat and Corky’s newest book is called “Will It” and is based on William Barr, a sophomore at ACHS. To appear in the series, Barr answered questions on their website, Barr has Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a genetic disorder with a wide variety of symptoms.  However, this does not stop him from having a positive outlook and enriching the lives of those around him with his kindness and sense of humor.

On February 17, the school’s auditorium was packed with Kotloski, Sorrentino, Barr, his family and community members in order to celebrate the release of “Will It.”

At the event, there were many different versions of the book available for purchase. Some of these proceeds were donated to the high school’s music programs; a choice made by Barr. In addition to the opportunity of purchasing the book, those in attendance watched a presentation by the authors and the book’s publisher. There was also a book signing, book reading, meet and greet and Q&A which included the Barr family as well as the author and illustrator. One of many people in the audience was junior Marcella Rivera.

“It was really cool to see a student of ACHS featured as the star of a book written by an alumni of ACHS,” Rivera said. “I really enjoyed [the event] and found it interesting to see someone featured like this.”

“Will It” is the third book in an ongoing series about real kids for real kids. Each of Gnat and Corky books exude the spirit of individual kids while maintaining the same positive message throughout the series.