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Fan pens book at age 10

Joanna Lagedrost | Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing a book is nothing short of impressive. Penning 100 pages and publishing that work at age 10 is extraordinary.

Jake Keyes, an 11-year-old native of Spokane, Wash., visited the Notre Dame campus this past weekend not only to see the Pittsburgh game, but also to sign copies of his recent publication, “The Little Gipper’s Welcome to Notre Dame Football.”

The book was published on Oct. 15 and became available at the Hammes Bookstore on Oct. 29.

“I think this is a great book for younger readers who want to get more information about Notre Dame football,” Jake said. “I’ll look back at it [writing a book] and I probably still won’t believe that I did it.”

The book is organized into chapters about Notre Dame football coaches, Heisman trophy winners and other great players, historic games and some campus landmarks.

Not previously associated with Notre Dame in any way, Jake, who celebrated his 11th on Oct. 29, said his love of Notre Dame football stemmed from a three-day Basic Skills football camp he attended in South Bend in the summer of 2010.

Jake’s father Mike Keyes said he cannot remember exactly how he heard about the camp but decided to enroll his son. The pair, along with Mike Keyes’ father-in-law, flew halfway across the country to attend the camp, run by Notre Dame football players and coaches.

“We just had a really nice time,” Keyes said. “That kind of changed [Jake’s] life.”

While at Notre Dame, Jake said he visited the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.

“When I was at the Hammes Bookstore, I looked around at all the great football books, but I didn’t really see any for my age group,” he said. “[And I thought] Well, why can’t I do this? And I just started to write a book.”

Once he was struck with the idea, Jake said he just really wanted to finish it.

“It took me about a year [to write],” Jake said. “It took up a lot of time and it was a lot of work, but I had fun doing it.”

Jake also included many Notre Dame pictures in his book. He used some pictures from the Internet, he said, and his dad retrieved some others from the Notre Dame Archives.