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updated: 7/20/2012 8:29 AM

'Glee' star Chris Colfer inspires teens at Naperville bookstore

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  • "Glee" star Chris Colfer visits Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday to promote his new book, "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell."

       "Glee" star Chris Colfer visits Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday to promote his new book, "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell."
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Fans get the chance to see "Glee" star Chris Colfer during his visit to Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday. "No matter what life brings him, we'll always be here to support him," Casey Cogan, 18, said.

       Fans get the chance to see "Glee" star Chris Colfer during his visit to Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday. "No matter what life brings him, we'll always be here to support him," Casey Cogan, 18, said.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Colfer wins Golden Globe

 
By Annalisa Rodriguez
arodriguez@dailyherald.com

Casey Cogan came all the way from Canada to meet her idol -- and she brought gifts.

The Ontario native, 17, wants Chris Colfer to know that no matter what life brings him, his fans will always be there to support him.

And so to send the message, Cogan bought the "Glee" star a ring engraved with the words "Our Inspiration" because she heard Colfer, who is gay, say in an interview that he never thought marriage was an option until recently and that in the future he wants a ring on his finger.

But Cogan didn't stop there. She also set up a website where 365 fans submitted art and wrote the reasons why they love him -- one for each day of the year. The resulting scrapbook took her five months to put together but was definitely worth it, she said.

"He's just done so much for us," Cogan said. "I wanted to do something personally to give back to him and to show him how much he means to me and to so many people."

Cogan was one of 600 fans who came to Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday night to see the actor best known for his role as Kurt Hummel on "Glee" present his new book, "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell."

The novel is aimed at middle-school readers and tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner Bailey, who, through the mysterious powers of a cherished storybook, leave their world behind and find themselves face-to-face with the witches, wolves, goblins and trolls they grew up reading about.

"I think it'll be interesting to see his writing style because we haven't gotten a chance to," said 18-year-old Gabrielle Wojtyna of Winfield.

Carol Stream resident Karen Suarez, 18, said it's inspiring for Colfer's fans to see him experiment with other projects, including the upcoming independent film "Struck by Lightning," which he wrote, produced and acted in.

"He's definitely not sitting back," Suarez said. "He's going after his dreams, and that's something really admirable and something that kids can really look up to."

In third season finale of "Glee," Colfer's character was among the graduates of William McKinley High School. But fans hope the transition will lead to better things for Kurt Hummel.

"I want him to have a goal and a dream and to finally get that," Wojtyna said. "Every time he wants something, they take it away from him."

Suarez said Colfer is an inspiration to LGBT youth who don't see many positive portrayals of people like themselves in the media.

"He's really inspirational," she said. "It really helps a lot of LGBT youth that don't have a lot of role models to see someone like themselves on TV."

Bartlett native Tara Retondo, 18, said Colfer's own experiences with bullying have been a motivation for her.

"He's my inspiration," she said. "I was able to get through high school because of him, and he does that for everyone."

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