A Picture Perfect Present

By Darla Davenport-Powell

2/5/2015

On her Dad’s birthday, I handed her Mom a copy of “We Are Friends” my latest children’s book and she placed it on a table. Seconds later, Wendelaya picked up the book and her Mom snapped a picture. The next day she sent it to me and I was in tears. It was a picture perfect present, not only for Wendelaya but for me. On top of that, she told her Mom, “I love this story.” As a children’s author, it doesn’t get any better than that. Out of the mouth of babes.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Viola Davis brought me to tears too, as she stood on the stage and accepted her SAG Award for Female Actor in a Drama series. She said: “When I tell my daughter stories at night, invariably a few things happen. Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life and I build from there," she said. "And then the other thing that happens...she always says, 'Mommy can you put me in the story?”

Mirrors or maps?

Christopher Myers, children’s author and illustrator said the children he knows “see books less as mirrors and more as maps. They are indeed searching for their place in the world, but they are also deciding where they want to go. They create, through the stories they’re given, an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, of their possible destinations,”

We all play a part.

As authors and illustrators, we create mirrors and maps for children like Wendelaya to see

themselves in the story and dream beyond boundaries. That’s our part. In the words of

Christopher Myers, “The rest of the work lies in the imagination of everyone else along the way, the publishers, librarians, teachers, parents, and all of us, to put that book in her hands.”

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Testimonials

The friendship that I have with all of my children is by far the strongest place of comfort for me and a source of strength. Children are gifts. We Are Friends is a love note to children that says no matter the shape, size or color, they matter. Congratulations and best wishes with yet another milestone project.

-Lebo M Grammy-Producer, Arranger and Composer, "Voice and spirit of The Lion King."

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