What a joy to receive e pictures from the SPARK Worldwide team in the Amazon, pictures of the children with the book and coloring book I illustrated! You never know how a story or even just a picture will impact a heart.
I am so happy to have Jack Foster
illustrate The Funny Bug! His lively
artwork really brings the story to
life and accentuates the fun.
The book is dedicated to my
funny husband who created the
funny bug. It lived in our home
for many years as we raised our
four children and still pops out
every now and then when our two
grandchildren come to visit.
I have just finished the illustrations and edits for the second SPARK Worldwide picture book published by Guardian Angel Publishing. Both books are stories based on real children that SPARK Worldwide helps. The proceeds from the books go to fund the work SPARK does, helping kids in need all over the world. The author, Leanna Brewer, is also the woman who started the organization. Her heart, as well as the heart of each Spark team member, is bursting with love for these kids. They build homes, conduct food outreaches, build orphanages, serve schools, dig water wells, and more. Their goal this year was to build 50 water wells. Halfway through the year now, they have already built 49!
I feel like I know the kids after working on these books. I sense Leanna’s loving compassion as I paint and draw. What a privilege this is. Here is a few clips.
I just have to share a couple of pictures from my daughter’s wedding. It was a beautiful event despite the weather. Rain, wind, and cold created many challenges, but isn’t that just like real life? :) The chapel, called The Brooks, was like something out of an Anne of Green Gables story and the reception building was filled with warmth and textures and a gorgeous huge stone fireplace. Fireplaces! There were also two more outside. The couple who owns the venue have such a vision for the place. The husband used to be an architect and he and his wife designed the whole complex. They have a visible passion for the holiness of marriage and the chapel emanates a tangible peace. Lovely.
I attended my niece’s basketball game a few days ago and met a lady, age 71, who was joyful and kind and friendly. I learned she had experienced the death of two children, age 30 and age 18. They both died of a genetic heart disease. The youngest one died suddenly, without knowledge that she even had a problem. The oldest left a two year old son after being diagnosed with the disease 8 years previous. She too has been diagnosed, as well as her 50 year old daughter and several grandkids. This woman’s faith in God and her children’s faith in God seem to be the major catalyst in her resilience. My heart ached for her. I cannot imagine the depth of sorrow she has endured. But before I even knew this information, her strength, joy, and compassion struck me. Clearly, there was something remarkable about her. She said she loves her work, a neonatal nurse who sees lot of traumatic situations with newborns, many from drug addicted moms. She gets to love on the babies and develop relationships with the families. She looks like your everyday grandma who lives in a little town no one has ever heard of, nothing remarkable or noticeable at first glance. She is so full of life and love. I told her I would be praying for her, which I am. I told her she was a hero to me, which she is. To have endured so much pain and be so full and giving is nothing ordinary. It is truly brave.
The holidays are quickly approaching and what a beautiful start to the season-our daughter is engaged to be married! The proposal took place under a beautifully lighted tree that actually reminds me of my logo tree. We could not be happier for them. In the midst of wedding preparations, I am busy working on the second picture book for Spark Worldwide International. It is a story about giving that I think will resonate strongly with children. It is a true story of two little girls in Columbia. I am tackling the dummy a little differently than I have done before, focusing on the main characters on each spread first instead of completing the whole scene on each spread. I hope that this will keep me connected to the characters well and consistent in rendering them. This story is a bit more challenging for me illustration wise and I love that. I can’t wait to get to the coloring stage.
Other current projects included writing the second journal story in a series for girls and completing the final illustrations for an activity book. I am hoping to fit in time to send off some writing samples to at least one educational publishing company before the first of the year. My Etsy Shop? On hold for now.
The first spread of the book is one that did not contain the characters but sets the stage for the Columbia/Amazon River setting. Here is a little clip:
Yesterday I attended the North Texas SCBWI Convention in Addison, Texas. It was wonderful! I have been to many of the conventions but this one was special. Marvin Terbank was the keynote speaker. He shared about humor in children’s books and really about humor in all aspects of life. He is almost 80 and still teaching English and writing funny entertaining grammar books for children. His adorable wife travels with him. They are very interesting and kind people. Other speakers I had the pleasure of hearing were: Sally Lee (writer of over 50 educational books for children), Jan Peck (one of my favorites), Rosie Pova.
I look a little crazed in this picture, smiling so big and trying not to blink. It is what it is:)
I’ve worked hard an another project that is very close to my heart and one that has twirled around inside of me for years. I’m sending it out tomorrow. We will see what happens. This particular project is one for young girls. My own daughter who is now 23 is a lot of the inspiration. I love projects that engage kids in not only thinking, but hands on activities that connect with them on several levels. Actually, all the projects I am involved in right now contain that layer of hands on activities. I love creating. I love creating things where kids are involved in creating. :)
On another note, I’m gathering books from my shelf to add to the SCBWI auction at the upcoming convention. Ugh, it is always so hard to part with books. Here is a one I am laying on the alter.
I really love this book. Hope someone else will be inspired by it too. Then again, maybe it won’t sell and I’ll get it back, kind if like Abraham and Isaac.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the Titanic exhibit at the Mayborn Museum in Waco, Texas. It is a beautiful museum with lots of interactive designs for children and adults. At the beginning of the Titanic tour, each guest is handed a boarding pass with a name of an actual passenger that was on the ship that fateful trip. Each pass has a little information about who the passenger was and why they were on the Titanic. Mine was Hilda Slater. She was returning from a trip to England where she had purchased her wedding dress and was about to be married when arriving in New York. She was 30 years old and had given up on a singing career funded by her brother for many years with no success. Winding through the exhibit, I couldn't help but think about Hilda, wondering if she survived or not. At the end of the exhibit, guests locate the passenger name on their pass among all the names of survivors and non survivors. The names are on a large wall. The lists are organized by first class, second class, third class, and staff. Looking at the lists visually, helped me see the devastating number of lives that were lost and made them real individual people. My passenger was one of the survivors. The staff had the greatest number of casualties followed by third class passengers who were housed in lower areas of the ship. Such a sad story knowing how easily such a tragedy could have been avoided.
I have seen and read so many books on the Titanic, but this exhibit gave me some new ideas for some creative projects for kids and stories that have not been told, or at least I don't think so. Research will let me know if I am right about that or not.