Illustrations for children are more than colorful, pretty paintings. They are tools for education, celebration, and fun. They are a means for teaching children how to deal with serious issues in their lives where the outcomes are frightening or unknown. Children’s illustrations may also take the edge off of sadness and pain by providing an outlet for fun and whimsy. They can reassure a child that there is balance, beauty and harmony in the world.
That’s why I created “Inez Ibis Flies Again; the story of a courageous ibis who never gave up!”
People don't normally name the birds and animals they encounter, but after watching a white ibis for over six years, I simply had to. Inez was the name that I gave her.
What was it that made her stand out? First of all, she had a bad limp that made it difficult for her to keep up with the other ibis as they foraged for food. And secondly, she came back to our neighborhood again and again, to the same side street, and has for over six years. Why, we’re practically family!
Today she had two young ibis with her, sporting the brown feathers of youth. Her second family, although I suspect there may have been a third. I was happy to see them, even though they are skittish around humans. When there are long absences, I worry about her. She is usually gone when she has a clutch, but always returns.
One day I was out walking and spied the remains of an ibis. Nothing but a ball of white tail feathers, a beak, and the legs and feet. I was beside myself, thinking it must have been Inez for she doesn't move as quickly as the others.
Today I saw a hawk devouring a white feathered bird in the field and again I worried. There were precious snowy egrets flying about, it could have been one of those; or it could have been a cattle egret. There are many in the field where the cattle graze. When I finally saw Inez and her chicks, I was overjoyed.
|I imagined that Inez may have been hit by a car.|
|Exhausted ibis after a long migration.|
Inez is a courageous ibis. She has regained her wing strength and flies as well as the others now, but the limp remains. I admire her for keeping on in the face of a crippling disability. I thought about the countless children in our world who suffer in the same way. That was my motivation for writing and illustrating this picture book.
|Inez practices flyiing in the field; sometimes she falls.|
|When Inez finally "lifts off" she feels freedom|
|"Wheee, this is fun!"|
If you know a child who needs encouragement and the will to "keep on keeping on," please take a look at “Inez Ibis Flies again.” Samples are available at both of these web sites: