Who Am I? Who Am I?
A childrens book
History Behind the Story
Time spent with grandkids is precious. I salute all grandparents out there and pray you can devote as much time as you want to your grandchildren. Although Andy lives in a different city and even in a different state, I made sure we visited him at least once a month. During one of those visits when Andy was a toddler, he would love for me to tell him stories. I started telling him the story of a little frog who didnít know what he was. I made up the story as I went along. Thus, What Am I? What Am I?
Years lateróyes, years!óI decided to write down the story, turn it into a book, and dedicate it to Andy. But by then, I had two-and-a-half more grandkids. If I can dedicate a book to one grandchild, I could dedicate it to all four.
My dream is to visit their school/daycare and read my book to them as well as to all of their playmates. Andy has already started second grade so I might have missed the window of opportunity, but Iíll catch him when I tour for the next childrenís book which Iíve already written and revised.
Writing the book meant doing the illustrations. I love to draw but this art project would be too time consuming. Besides, my drawing talent sure could use a couple of lessons! My only option was to contact professional illustrators. I found some and the bids poured in. The lowest one was $12,500. Yikes!
Okay, I thought, what about professional artists? Surely, that was a lot better idea. Soon, I began to receive their bids. They ranged from $800 to several thousand dollars. Better, much better, but could I possibly lower that figure?
Then it dawned on me. I taught at Irvin High School for years. Several of my students showed me their drawings (even though I taught English.) Some had real talent.
I called the school and asked for the name of the schoolís art teacher. I made an appointment with her. After I finished explaining what I wanted, the teacher was more than delighted to take on this project.
I gave her a copy of the manuscript and she passed it on to her students. The winner of the contest would get to illustrate my book. Several months later, the entries started to arrive. Choosing the winner was a hard decision. These high school students have all the talent I lack and wish I had.
However, one set of drawings by a senior high school student really captured my attention. I contacted Jesus (Jesse) Alcantar and asked him if heíd be willing to illustrate the entire book.
The result by this extremely talented artist is what youíll see when you look at the book. Heís imaginative and illustrated each page with drawings that will rival any professional artist. Iím so proud to share this beautiful art with you.
About the Illustrator
Jesus (Jesse) Alcantar was still a senior in high school when author L. C. Hayden contacted him about illustrating her picture book. He is now a freshman in college and is majoring in education. He hopes to be an elementary teacher some day, preferably a second grade teacher.
Note: this isnít the first page, but this is one of my favorite drawings.