By JENNIFER STULTZ
Friends Joyce Frey and Kathleen Kuchar, author and illustrator of “Millie’s Garden,” explained how their recently co-created children’s book came to life at Friday Lunch and Learn workshop last week at the Vernon Filley Art Museum in Pratt.
“I never planned to write a children’s book,” Frey said. “I am a teacher, I write technical and academic books. But I just had to tell the story that took place in my garden. This is how Millie’s Garden was born. There is no other one. the low.”
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Frey, who taught for 20 years at Pratt Community College, said she has watched a rabbit raise babies in her backyard for years in the small town of Macksville, where she lives.
“I have a few plants there that I love to take care of and watch grow. But I have noticed that every year I also grow a batch of baby rabbits,” Frey said. “The same bunny comes back every year, I named her Millie, and I really like watching her from the window.”
Frey said the rabbit in his backyard made him realize that sometimes in life people take special moments, gifts, for granted.
“I am talking about nature, animals, children,” she said. “These are the most wonderful gifts any of us can have in our life. Sometimes we just need to slow down a bit and enjoy them. They allow us to see life through a lens that doesn’t. is not all cluttered with the world’s problems and the anxieties that surround us. These gifts allow us to use our imaginations. We must enjoy the creative things in life to be together, happy. “
Frey said she often spoke to her good friend, Kuchar (who lives in Hays, Kansas) by phone, and one day she told him about the rabbits in her backyard. Together, the two friends decided to create a children’s book with Frey writing the print and Kuchar, an artist by trade, creating the illustrations.
“I’m an acrylic painter, not an illustrator, so I had to find people to ask who had done this before,” Kuchar said.
Frey and Kuchar explained the process of making a book, complete with ISBN numbers, copyrights, a Shutterfly prototype, and a full set of framed illustrations, to a crowd of over 40 at the art museum. .
After their presentation, attendees were able to tour while viewing the illustrations, watch Kuchar mix and paint an acrylic picture, purchase Millie’s Garden books and have them autographed by the creators.
“Marketing a book on Amazon is a very difficult process to understand,” Frey said. “We found that we much prefer to share our story this way, with real people, who care about what we’ve done.”
Of the books sold during the Vernon Filley presentation, a percentage of the price is returned to the museum to fund future art projects and exhibitions.
Republished with permission