Welcome…to my world of infinite possibilities. It’s a place where one is never expected to grow up but is encouraged to stay forever young-at-heart. This world is one that I quite unintentionally wandered into, but that seemed to be expecting me for I found a wonderful publisher, River Road Press, almost immediately.
As a rule, I don’t sit down with a completed story in my mind. My stories usually begin with the first line, or the title. Such was the case with How High Can You Fly? The first line popped into my head while eating spring rolls at a neighborhood Japanese restaurant. By the time the entrée was set before me, so was the entire story on a paper napkin I had quickly acquired from our waitress. Thus, my first picture book was born.
The characters in my stories are my adult version of imaginary friends, and they’re just about as important to me as the ones who I physically share this earthly journey with. Through the years, more characters and their tales have wandered into my head – and heart – and it’s been my greatest pleasure to have shared them with children of all ages. My imaginary friends have opened the door to many a lifelong friend, and to them – both the imaginary kind and the human kind – I am forever grateful.
THE SHOPKEEPER’S BEAR
When a far-sighted shopkeeper encounters a bear in his store that has come in search of honey, he mistakes her for a woman “wrapped up in a fur” and hires her on the spot as his new assistant. Business increases as curious customers come to see the odd new clerk who has the store running smoothly again. But once the shopkeeper puts on his new glasses and realizes that his new assistant is a bear, will her smart running of the place be enough to keep her employed there? Perhaps not. But maybe something far more important will. Beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Evans, this is the first of several new books pairing DeVos and Evans together. Please see more of Rebecca’s work at www.rebeccaevans.net. The Shopkeeper’s Bear is age appropriate for 4-7.
Ms. DeVos’ third release, published through East End Publishing in New York, is written in her signature style of rhyme, and beautifully illustrated by Nicola Joyner in bright, bold colors. Barthello’s Wing is the tender story of a bug who was born with only one wing, but who desperately longs to be “like the others and fly.” But, because he’s unable to, he’s teased and treated as an outcast by all of the other bugs. In the end, though, Barthello teaches us that through courage, love and faith in oneself, every obstacle can be overcome. Age appropriate 4-7. (available in soft-cover only)
THE PATH WINDS HOME
Sometimes our differences can make us stand out in the most positive light. That’s the lesson our three little friends, the rabbit, skunk and bear, learn in this wonderful rhyming, 32-page, full color, hard-cover picture book, published by River Road Press in 2004, and beautifully illustrated by local artist Nancy Marsh. Once again, Ms. DeVos teaches the valuable lessons of love and acceptance for each other, and each other’s differences, through three animal characters who are forced from their homes because they’re different. Together they find the courage to face those that turned them away. Age appropriate 4-7.
HOW HIGH CAN YOU FLY?
In this delightful, 32-page, full color, hard cover picture book, published by River Road Press in 2002, Janie DeVos explores the diversity of gifts that we each bring to our world. Told through the eyes of a curious blue bird who asks all of his animal friends how high they can fly, the bird soon realizes that we are each wonderfully different, possessing our own unique skills and talents. Told in rhyme, this is a lesson in self-esteem, self-worth, appreciation of our own gifts, and those of others. Beautifully illustrated by Renee Rejent. Age appropriate 2-6.