Rainy days are the perfect opportunity to curl up with a good book. Instead, I braved vast puddles and stormy seas to admire what's up with stories and the folks who create them.
First I went to the community center on Peaks Island to see Shana Barry, a former islander and creator of Fofers. She awed a crowd of all ages with her sweet vocals and guitar, singing about pink whales and peaceballs, creatures who inhabit the colorful world of Fof, a secret island off the coast of Maine. "Fofers are very shy," she told us, yet each of her characters has a certain furry something about them. Shana is multi-talented: writing songs, animating them, and fabricating fuzzy puppets that mesmerize kids with their serene faces and gangly limbs.
Her colors and simple graphics bear a resemblance to my daughter's work, which is inspired by a real, not-so-secret island but nonetheless magical. Daisy made this of our island:
We then departed across the bay to Many Voices, a book fair hosted by CAFAM and Curious City. It's a bright and busy bebop of activity, a must destination for anyone interested in books with diversity and great illustration, fragrant dumplings, and paper dragons.
We acquired the latest from Grace Lin, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, having become major fans of her Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat.
She graciously signed books while kids were running to the stations in her activity that followed the journey of the book's character. Brilliant!
It was a swell chance to meet up with friends, teachers, and fellow book lovers.
From Portland, we traveled in driving sheets of rain to Freeport, to see the
Maine Illustrators Collective exhibit, The Classics Re-Imagined. The Freeport Community Library is some swanky place, with a vast collection in a spacious and inviting environment.
My Alice version is below:
She's in good company, next to Leticia Plate's bright and graphic version:
And next to hers, Christina Siravo's:
Alice is the only book that had multiple re-imaginings here. No doubt because she's such a metaphor for feeling tossed about, confused, dwarfed by the chaos and surrealism of the world. Yet able to challenge conventions and remain ever curious.
Here is Marty's fun bunny:
And this is by Michael Boardman, who recently visited my MECA class with his silkscreen expertise.
The show is a fun display of the power of enduring characters that can pop to life in new ways. We returned to our rock in the ocean, content to curl up with a book at last.
Snuggled and cozy, like in this final scene I illustrated in Maddie's Magical Ride.....where a good book is the best way the end the day.