A book with a message on monitoring screen time

By Emma Bartlett
Posted 1/3/23

Andre Collins has an important message to share with kids in his new children’s book “Everywhere I Go” about a Martian named Martin.

Martin, who lives on a plain planet, leaves …

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A book with a message on monitoring screen time


Andre Collins has an important message to share with kids in his new children’s book “Everywhere I Go” about a Martian named Martin.

Martin, who lives on a plain planet, leaves and discovers a colorful planet full of beauty. The planet’s adults, however, cannot see him while they are paying attention to their phones. The book is meant to teach children the importance of monitoring screen time.

The Cranston native and current San Diego resident self-published the paperback in November and is now sharing the story of Martin with kids through in-person and Zoom story times.

Collins, 30, is an active-duty Navy sailor working at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT). He grew up behind Cranston’s William Hall Library and said the library was the place to go after school. He attended St. Paul School down the road followed by Bishop Hendricken High School where he graduated in 2010. Collins went on to the University of Rhode Island but left to go into the Navy where he spent nine years. During this time, he was deployed to over six countries and spent three years in Japan where he completed volunteer work with kids which he enjoyed. Looking to the future, Collins knew he wanted to work with kids, but was unsure in what aspect.

Fast-forward to 2020, Collins’ book became a pandemic project. His initial idea was to write a book about his dog, however, the pandemic shed more light on the amount of screen time in his home and how it could potentially be a problem.

“My hope is that my book is a tool if your child or you find yourself in that limitless scrolling,” said Collins.

Collins said the book’s message is important. He looked up the average screen time of an American cell phone user and – while he couldn’t find a definite answer – results ranged from two hours to seven and a half hours a day. As more technology is implemented into everyday life, Collins suggests this is “uncharted territory,” and, when parents raise kids, they have to navigate how much screen time is enough. He added that if individuals find themselves in a continuous scrolling mode on their phone, they should take a break and go outside.

“Screen time to green time,” Collins said.

Motivation was the biggest challenge Collins faced while writing “Everywhere I Go.” When he first completed the book in 2020, he published an initial version on Kindle to get the story out there. Since then, the work has been improved – including the story and illustrations. Collins reached out to his friend Joseph Vasquez, 22, who is currently at Parris Island for Marine Boot Camp, to illustrate the book; Vasquez is also a Rhode Islander and comes from Providence. He graduated from Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Cumberland and studied art and nursing at CCRI. He is Colombian-American and worked as a tattoo artist before enlisting into the Marine Corps – this was his first book he’s illustrated. 

As for the virtual story times, Collins reads “Everywhere I Go” to students and will put puppets of each character on the screen while he’s reading. He has the book memorized, but his wife will sometimes assist in the readings by holding the book behind the computer screen for him to read. Collins will have fun with the puppets by telling kids to either scream or give a thumbs up when Martin appears on the screen – Collins said he runs this idea by teachers.

Collins’ favorite aspect of the book is Martin’s character, and he plans to release three books for the series. His hope is for the first story to raise enough money so he can pay for the second book’s illustrations. Overall, he’d like the project to pay for itself.

“Everywhere I Go” has also been awarded a Golden Wizard Book Prize which Collins is excited about. Based in the United Kingdom, this award is given to books that make readers’ imaginations fly; it is a stamp of approval that proves authors have met the organization’s high standards in creating an outstanding children's book that will be read over and over again.

Collins has also created contests via Instagram for readers to incentivize individuals to get outside. People who use the hashtag “#EverywhereIGo” and take a picture of the book in some location around the world will be entered into a contest.

Overall, Collins said if he makes one person happy or smile, he’s done his job. To contact Collins for a book or Zoom reading, you can reach him at andrecoll123@icloud.com.


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