June Hedge a gram

Happy June,

     This is Jan Brett, and this is my June Hedge a gram, the time I take each month to tell you what I'm doing and why.  As you know, I'm a children's book illustrator and some of the stories I illustrate I write, and sometimes I choose to draw pictures for a story already in existence.  The story I like very much and will be making a book of, is Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Goldilocks is a little girl with yellow hair who explores a strange house in the woods.  I love to explore and I think curiosity is one of the human traits I most admire.  Because I was shy as a child, and sometimes timid, I like to remind myself to explore and to challenge myself.  Often that means trying something new.  When you're little so many things we do are for the first time.  We can't be promised that a new experience will be totally happy but the learning we receive is valuable.  Many years ago I illustrated Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and at the time I thought, why not three polar bears?   The bears in my first book are brown bears.  Now almost twenty years later I've decided to not only tell about three polar bears, but the Goldilocks character will have beautiful black hair because she will be an Inuit girl.
     Now that summer is coming you will have more time to read and make up stories.  A good way to start is to take a well known story, and change the characters or setting.  Do you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk?  What if it was a little girl who planted a giant sunflower?  The leaves on the sunflower stalk are just like a ladder.  How about setting Old McDonald had a Farm underwater, and King Neptune a merman would be the farmer.  I know you can think up lots more.  One of the most famous stories retold is Romeo and Juliet.  It became West Side Story and Leonard Bernstein wrote the music to it.
     It's good to look forward and also to look back.  Last month, I visited Okinawa, Japan to visit my daughter and son in law.  She arranged for me to give a talk and mini booksigning at the Camp Foster library.  I really enjoyed meeting the Marines, their families and the Department of Defense colleagues, especially the librarian, Cindy Shippley and her fellow librarians.  I loved hearing about their show at the library, featuring "Peeps" those yellow marshmallow chicks, only their peeps were dressed up and shown in different settings.  I am intrigued when a person creates a world in their imagination.
     On the way home on the plane I drew a four part coloring mural featuring reef life and a bull dog snorkelers.  Okinawa has beautiful beaches, and when you open your eyes under water, you can see colorful fish and in certain places, dramatic coral.  I put the coloring mural on my web site so you can download and print it out.   I was proud and honored to meet our military families, and this is especially for them.
     Happy drawing.  Bye for now, your friend,

                             Jan Brett