Monday, July 5, 2010

One of my other hobbies....

I felt impressed over the weekend to share with you another one of my hobbies.  You may not have guessed but I love art and books, as a consequence I also collect childrens' books.  In fact I still shelter a dream of one day being able to illustrate childrens' books.  I have been off and on attempting to complete a bachelor's degree in illustration since about the year 2000.  I know pretty sad that ten years later I still haven't finished it, but as well as taking time off to serve a full time mission for the LDS/Mormon church I also got married back in 2006 and a decision had to made of who would continue on with school and who would put their education on hold in favor of earning money to live by in the mean time.  As you can also guess I was the one that ended up stopping school.

However, thanks to darling friends, like Becky, who kept me apprised of and sometimes even dragged me along to forums and conferences on literature for young readers and childrens' book illustration. Also thanks to my mother and co-workers who gave me projects to help me hone my skills.  I have been able to limp along in hopes of finally retuning to finish my degree.

At one of these conferences that I went to, with both Becky and my mother, I was fortunate enough to be able to meet and listen to lectures by both the writer and illustrator for the book I want to share today: Sarah Stewart and David Small

They were wonderful, both very different and interesting people, who also happen to be married.  I learned an immense amount from them, especially David (as he is the illustrator) and have been inspired in more ways than one.

Funnily, the book I had pop into my mind this weekend to share with you is called The Gardener.  I know you're probably saying to yourself that it isn't really that much of a coincidence considering most of what I post on this blog is about my adventures in gardening, but this book isn't really about gardening.  Here is the small blurb from the publishers printed on the inside of the book jacket:

"Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds, plenty of stationary, and a passion for gardening to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker.  There she initiates a gradual transformation, brightening the bakery and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows.  But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece, which she hopes will be powerful enough to make even Uncle Jake smile.
Colored by a Depression-era setting,
The Gardener introduces readers to a winsome and determined young heroine, whose generosity will reward all who meet her."

This delightful book is one that I especially fell in love with, both for the story and the pictures (no wonder it won the Caldecott).  It shows how any talent or gift you may have can be used to bless and bring light and joy into the lives of others as well as yourself.  I think it shows why I love art and creating so much.  Anyway here are some scans in the book (compliments of "look Inside" feature):

Some fun things to point out that I learned when I heard them speak, that the pets living at the Small and Stewart home almost always make cameos in the books that they publish together.

Also it's fun to go through the book and find the teddy bear that Sarah has had since she was a small child (she even had him with her in her pocket at the conference), David always likes to include him hidden somewhere in the books they publish together, in honor of his wife.

If you haven't read this book or any of the others they have put out, you really should.  The artwork is fun and both of their writing styles are entertaining (yes David Small has not only illustrated books by other authors, but had also written a few himself).  Hope you have a happy trip to the library.  Happy Monday!

~ Fraise

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