I’ll bet you didn’t know that the literary bug runs in my family, did you? Reading and writing both run in my DNA. A couple of my aunts, as well as my mom, have been librarians at one point or another. I have a cousin that does some editing and reviewing for books. Then there’s my cousin, Jessica. She published a book. Check out more . . .
I’m a graphic designer first and foremost, but I actually have been doing photography for much longer. I still do some photography here and there for my clients, but my main focus is design. At the beginning of 2014, I told my husband, Aaron, that I missed doing photography. But, I didn’t necessarily want to do it as part of my business–I wanted to create a personal photography project that would just be a fun outlet.
Enter: Frank the Chair.
Frank the Chair is a small, green chair that doesn’t have any hands. He loves to go on adventures that no other chair has gone on before! He has traveled around to many parts of Georgia, but has also been to Washington, D.C., Nashville, Missouri, and even El Salvador.
After a few months of this project, Aaron brought up the idea of doing a children’s book, but I just wasn’t sure about it. People in our community loved Frank–they would ask where he was when we were out and about, like he was our child. Even so, I wasn’t sure if people loved him enough to buy a book. (Not to mention the fact that I had never written and published a children’s book before.)
Fast forward to December of 2014, when I lost my mom in a car crash. My mom really enjoyed Frank–I don’t know if it was just following along on his adventures that she liked, or just laughing at the silliness of it all. Either way, she loved him enough to ask how he was doing after he was in the back seat when my car was broken into last year. (Frank was unharmed, in case you’re wondering.)
After my mom’s funeral, I decided that creating a children’s book would be a great way to honor my mom’s legacy. (Ralene here: Her mom was one of the librarians I mentioned!) I had heard so many stories of how much my mom gave her time and resources to provide books for her students and helped other teachers get books for their students. I just wanted to create something that people could have and enjoy. Who better to feature in this children’s book than our very own Frank?
Creating and publishing a children’s book is no small task. We didn’t want to skimp on an illustrator–I know how much kids love pictures! So, to raise the money to pay an illustrator, we launched a Kickstarter campaign. Thirty days later, we had all the money we needed, thanks to many generous family and friends. We loved the distinct style of our illustrator’s work, so there was no need to give direction. We sent over the storyline, some reference pictures of what we were thinking for different scenes, and off she went!
Now, six months later, we have a real book in our hands. It has been amazing to see this project finally come to life. But, the best part has been the responses I’ve received after sending out press releases and posting about the book on social media. I have heard from many of my mom’s colleagues and former students, reiterating how much she meant to them, and how much she impacted the community. My mom loved to read, and loved getting kids excited about reading–and hopefully this book lights that spark in kids who read this book!
I love my cousin’s heart–and I loved her mom’s heart. And I think Frank is just cool.
I hope you all will take the time to check out Frank the Chair Visits Kansas by Jessica Freeman on Amazon. Currently, it is only available in paperback.
What else are your kids reading these days?
Did I mention, though, Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior comes out in ONE week?