Four animated illustrations created more than a decade ago to launch a clothing line that never materialized inspired a 9-year-old Dublin student to write a “biography” about his fictional adventures.
Roman Gonska, a third-grade student at Indian Run Elementary School in Dublin, was selling the books April 9 at the Kids’ Business Fair on the campus of Hilliard United Methodist Church, 5445 Scioto Darby Road.
The business fair, first held in 2018 and again in 2019, was not held the last two years because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Twenty-six students, ages 6 to 16, from the Dublin, Hilliard, Upper Arlington and Jonathan Alder school districts, participated in the Kids’ Business Fair, organized by Learning Leaf.
The business fair is designed to showcase projects by children who are tasked with creating an original idea and then marketing it, said Kristy DiGiacomo, owner of Learning Leaf, an online tutoring provider.
Students began working on their presentations in January; parents were not permitted to assist them on the day of the business fair, DiGiacomo said.
Three judges, including Hilliard Schools Superintendent David Stewart, chose projects they considered most creative, that had the most business potential and other categories for which students were recognized at the conclusion of the fair.
Roman said he was inspired to write fictional stories about himself visiting places in a book he titled, “The Adventures of Roman German,” after his mother, Rosana Quiroz, showed him illustrations she had created for a clothing line she intended to launch while the family was living in New York City.
Quiroz and her husband, John Gonska, are in the ministry and lived in New York City, Israel and Australia before settling in Dublin.
“One day, (during the pandemic), I showed him the characters (made for the clothing line), and he fell in love with them,” Quiroz said, noting that she had made the drawings look like her son.
The first book, “The Adventures of Roman German,” was published in English and Spanish and was released in November 2021 on his ninth birthday. It is available at romangerman.com.
The character’s name in the book is based on Roman’s full name, Roman German Robert Gonska.
“The book is about places I have been but with made-up stories,” he said.
A second book will be published that will include locations in New York City and Little Collins Beach, in Sydney, Australia.
Other students participating in the business fair included Aashi Mather, 11, a student at Columbus Academy who lives in Westerville.
Mather was selling handmade soaps as “Serenique Soaps by Aashi.”
The name of the product is an amalgamation of the words serenity and tranquility, Mater said.
Among her customers at the fair was Wendy Zimmerman, a first-grade teacher at Hopewell Elementary School in Dublin, who purchased a candle from Mather and Gonska’s book to read to her students, she said.
Isaac Opalek, 12, a student at Hilliard Station Sixth Grade School, sold handmade wands made to look like those used by the protagonist in the Harry Potter series. Toward the end of the fair, Opalek said he had sold 24, for $ 3 each
“The amount of entrepreneurship (demonstrated here) at such an early age in incredible,” Stewart said.