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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (July 22, 1999)
Lincoln man reaches children with his art
By Patrick Kelly
While it is difficult to teach chil
dren about the importance of growing
up on the right path, one local writer is
finding that the key is creativity.
Tom Frye is a mentor for gifted
children in the Lincoln Public
Schools, a counselor for Family
Solution (a federal family counseling
program) and an author ot 8 books and
several short stories, songs and plays.
On Wednesday, two of Frye’s plays
were performed at the Animal
Sciences Complex on East Campus as
part of an event sponsored by the
Educational Talent Search, a group
which helps elementary school chil
dren with their studies.
Frye sees the potential for these
plays to have a positive influence on
I think plays would be a great for
mat to immediately reach kids,” Frye
The first play, “Kastleland,” was a
fable which dealt with making the
right decisions in life and avoiding
temptation. While the play originally
was written with children aged 8-9 in
mind Frye has noticed that the play
gets enthusiasm from teenagers as
The second play, “Scratchin’ the
Together, We're Making Lives Better
621 Rose Street, Lincoln
Eight Ball,” based upon Frye’s 1982
book of the same name, was geared
more for an older audience. The play
was centered on drug abuse. Parents
and teacher groups were concerned
about the violence and the language
used in the play. Frye sees the use of
such as necessary and realistic.
“Some people call it violence, but
I call it action because it pulls you
through. When it gets you to the mes
sage, you’re gonna get the message,”
The two plays along with the rest
of Frye’s body of work have put him in
demand with many groups. Frye’s
work has become part of summer
camps, required text for college cur
riculum, role playing and board
games. Frye is even considering
developing a video game based upon
the premise of “Kastleland.”
Recently, Frye has won an out-of
court settlement concerning the copy
right to his work, “Kastleland.”
As prolific as Frye’s writing career
is Frye also is bound by his commit
ment to children. Fry’s writing is
inspired by his work with “at-risk chil
dren.” Frye also attributes his writing
style to his own childhood. Frye, who
grew up in the Havelock neighbor
hood of Lincoln recalls some of his
own run-ins with the law.
Frye was ordered to work with
children and since then he has been
able to relate to troubled children
because he understands their situa
Frye works with children on both
side of the spectrum. On one end there
are children who have serious disci
pline, economic and family-related
problems. On the other end, Frye
works with children who come from
more stable backgrounds. In addition
Frye has served as foster parent to nine
children (not all at once).
“I get a good balance because dur
ing the year I also work at schools as a
mentor so I see gifted kids and at-risk
kids and I see them both at risk
because some of my gifted kids still
have that drug allure. So, in every
thing I do I try to have a message,”
Frye said, commenting on the range
of children that he works with.
Ultimately Frye would like to
devote his time to writing. However,
the children have become too signifi
cant part of his work and his life to
walk away from completely.
“My ideal schedule I think would
be working with kids three days a
week and writing four days a week,
that would be perfect.”
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