Friday, May 20, 2011


Remember when I got eaten by the shark, and I promised you an explanation? Well, I’m finally getting around to explaining. Here goes…

My mom wrote a story, a fable about learning, inspired from what she observed as a middle school librarian. She observed so many kids who didn’t realize or seem to care when it came to getting an education, or didn’t know why getting an education was so important.  She wanted the kids to look beyond the here and now and see that school was preparing them for life. Thus, Feathers was written to share with a group of 8th graders at her school. My mom asked me to create some illustrations for her to show as she read the story. Once she shared Feathers with the group, the response was immediate. The kids really  understood the symbolism and teachers started asking for copies of the book.

That was two years ago. 

This is where the shark comes in.

Though my mom’s been begging me for years to finish illustrating her book, it took a kick in the pants for me to [almost] finish it. We were asked earlier this year to do an author/illustrator visit in Port Aransas during the school’s book fair. They didn’t threaten us with sharks, but this gave us the motivation we needed to get something tangible to present to the kids. I have to say that my mom did the bulk of the work to get this book ready and printed, while it probably would have taken “death by shark” threats to get me to work faster. [Thanks for your patience, Mom!] But it is done, and we made our deadline to be able to share the book with kids ranging from 2nd-8th grade, all of whom were able to grasp the meaning of the story. Here are just one of the many classes we talked to that day:


And the book…





If you would like to know more about the book, or are interested in getting your hands on a copy, my mom [Donna Van Cleve] is the lady to contact. Visit her site here. And while you’re there, check out her other books!

Ciao for now!

nessa dee

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