Like myself, you might not have heard of Gwen Frostic, a 20th century Michigan artist. Author Lindsey McDivitt and illustrator Eileen Ryan Ewen have produced a beautiful tribute to a woman who would not allow her physical disabilities to keep her from the art she loved (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018).
As a baby, Gwen contracted a disease similar to cerebral palsy. Although it left her with slurred speech and she frequently fell down, she worked her hands extra hard just to learn how to write. "She sketched and scribbled. She doodled and drew. Gwen's grip grew stronger and stronger."
Throughout her childhood, "Nature felt like a friend, pulling her out to play." In high school she signed up for mechanical drawing--"learning to use rulers and compasses to draw machines--and the men squawked like angry blue jays."
In art school Gwen discovered how to make prints from blocks she carved out of linoleum. Eventually she launched Presscraft Papers stationary company which is still in business today. Drawn to the outdoors, she relocated to Lake Michigan's Betsie Bay so she could capture nature in her artwork.
Nature's Friend is a lovely tribute to a woman who once said, "Love this earth, love its waters...care enough to keep it clear."
In another lovely nature picture book, Author Karlin Gray and illustrator Steliyana Doneva, team up to bring young readers a story in rhyme celebrating an ordinary moth (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018).
Although the moth feels like it's not as massive as an Atlas moth, as beautiful as a butterfly, or as graceful as a Luna Moth, a young boy is delighted when he finds it:
"A moth! A moth!"
a boy then screams.
He's running up to me.
I freeze and blend in with the wall.
Maybe he won't see.
But when his twinkling eyes shine bright...
his smile grows wide with pure delight...
His happy face is such a sight...
I enjoyed the moth's "metamorphoses" at the end -- not into another insect-- but rather into an appreciation of itself. This last poem reminds me of Miriam Franklin's debut novel, EXTRAORDINARY.
So how 'bout that?!
I'm someone's FAVORITE!
Little, grayish me--
proof of how
Ordinary can be.
I am giving away these books, both excellent curriculum supplements with activities included, through the summer issue of Talking Story on "The Great Outdoors." Leave me a comment here (including your preference) and I'll add your name to the list. Leave a comment through Talking Story and your name will go in twice. Don't forget to leave your email address if you are new to my blog. Giveaway ends July 23.
AND JUST BECAUSE...
Since to my knowledge a book that I've featured has never been on a billboard before, I have to share this picture that I grabbed from Eileen Ryan Ewen's Facebook page!