Jan Brett spoke to a crowded room at the Brown County Central Library last night at 5:00 p.m. She shared with us the inspiration for her newest book, Home for Christmas. She also told us about the tour that she and her husband took of Sweden, doing research for the illustrations in the book. Since a moose is a key character in the story, she took the time to actually draw the head of a moose for us.
All the while, she was sharing charming anecdotes, like how she met a friendly herd of moose, and how she got to kiss one on its big, blubbery nose.
She filled her half-hour presentation with encouragement for all the young writers and artists in the auditorium. She reminded everyone that just as our fingerprints are our own, so our stories are our own. We have unique vision and creativity, she said. It is important not to lose our vision as we grow so we can make both ourselves and others happy with our art.
I was in line for over two hours to meet Jan. She is, without question, a rock star. Her website states that she has over 37 million books in print. Her stories are rich, warm, and deep. I grew up with "The Mitten," and Clara is daily enchanted by "The Owl and the Pussycat." Which of her books did you grow up with? What are you reading to the children in your life?
I know we are all trying to be true to our visions; but on the drive home, I thought about all of our unique stories. Not the ones we make up, but the ones we are living. And I wondered, what artist would you choose to illustrate the story of your life?