Monday, March 7, 2011

Dragged from the dusty bins of my art room...

This is from a very old idea I had about a sunny haired SoCal girl who moves to the Great Cold North when her dad takes a job with the Alaskan Forestry Service.  Suffering from a severe case of culture shock and homesickness, she discovers a new kind of friend in Kodi, a young Kodiak bear cub.  Kodi helps Kaylee learn to weather her new surroundings and through their adventures, she learns to love this larger than life wilderness.
Originally planned as a children's book, I soon realized their story had great potential to teach about what is really happening in Alaska and our National Parks: from oil drilling to the hunting of wolves and seals, the plight of the polar bears losing their habitats as well as other Arctic animals to conservation and global warming.  So the idea went to the back burner as I knew I wanted to do more research on those issues and determine a way to speak about them in a way that inspires children to go online and discover more about the natural world and the importance of becoming stewards of the land.  I spent some of my childhood in Nebraska where we went on loads of field trips and girl scout camping trips and learned about trees and conservation (Arbor Day was begun by one of Nebraska's native sons, I was told) and Native American traditions and their relationship to the earth.  A teacher introduced me the works of author Jean Craighead George and I read "Who killed Cock Robin?" and the "Julie and the Wolves" series for the first time. Those years were really powerful influences on me, and she was educating young readers about conservation long before the "Go Green" movement came along.  So I'm still percolating on the nature of the stories I'd like to tell with"Kaylee and Kodi" but these two are dear to my heart...
And these guys I drew on greeting cards just for the fun of real story there except that I have no idea who I gave them to!

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