It isn’t every day that a retail outlet at McCarran International Airport hosts a book signing.
But then, it isn’t every day that co-authors who are 13 and 10 write a book that can fetch $23.95 a copy.
On Monday, Izobel and Cianna Sturges glowed in the light of TV cameras and met McCarran officials and Hudson News retail outlet executives to kick off sales of “Las Vegas … Are We There Yet?”
It’s a self-published hard-cover booked packed with travelogues on Southern Nevada attractions that appeal to kids, sample itineraries, budget tips and packing checklists.
Izobel, an eighth-grader at Judge Myron E. Leavitt Middle School, and her sister Cianna, a fifth-grader at Ruthe Deskin Elementary School in Las Vegas, got the idea about a year and a half ago of sharing their adventures at fun places in a journal.
Encouraged by their parents, Ron and Debbie Sturges, Las Vegas residents since 2001, the girls wrote about their experiences in family-friendly attractions in town.
“When we first moved here, we had a lot of friends and relatives visit us and we would talk about places to see,” Debbie explained. “When we went to the Atlantis show (at the Forum Shops at Caesars), they wrote an outline about the experience.”
The parents took pictures of the girls having a good time. One day, they thought “Why not share these experiences?”
So they did.
It took about a year to compile a series of stories to develop the book.
But every good author knows that success is often dictated in the marketing of the material. That’s when the girls fired off letters to Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of the Clark County Aviation Department.
“I got their letter in April and it put a big smile on my face,” Vassiliadis said. “It was great to see these children so excited about Las Vegas. It was pure delight.”
A quick phone call from Vassiliadis to executives with the Hudson Group, McCarran’s retail operator at the airport, was met with enthusiasm.
Izobel’s letter to Vassiliadis sought a kiosk location from which the book could be sold, but Hudson delivered counter space instead. That delighted the young authors who sent a thank-you note a month later after they received word that the book would be sold by Hudson.
“I am so, so, so excited when my mom said our book will be sold at the airport!” Cianna wrote. “Every time we go to meet some friends when they arrive there, I always told my mom that every time we go there, I imagine our book being sold in the stores.”
The sisters’ writing talents were recognized recently by the Las Vegas City Council and the board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Clark County Commissioner Mary Beth Scow was on hand for the book signing, which took her back to her days on the Clark County school board.
“It’s a great example of kids setting a goal and then reaching that goal,” she said.
The experience has affirmed the sisters’ desire to become writers when they grow up.
Now that they have their first book on retail shelves, the girls are looking at writing other books about some of the places their parents have taken them on trips — Hollywood, Phoenix, New York, San Diego and San Francisco.
So where’s their favorite place to go in Las Vegas?
Without hesitation, it’s unanimous: the Adventuredome, Circus Circus’ pink glass-enclosed indoor theme park.
“We’ve even ridden the roller coasters there,” Izobel said.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.