Seattle author and artist Jessica Delagardelle overcame adversity in her own life to create a book encouraging kids to do the same.
"Life happens and we all have to make the choice to stand up and be brave,” she said.
"Astri the Brave L’il Oyster" is about a young sea creature who faces her fears.
The project coincided with Delagardelle’s personal health struggle – doctors discovered a 16-inch tumor in her pelvis. It was removed, but there were serious complications and she had to re-learn how to walk.
Creating the book was therapuetic.
“My art actually became my help,” she said.
Rather than illustrating the book, Delagardelle handmade scenery and photographed sequences to visualize Astri’s underwater world. She was inspired by 3-dimensional images in View Masters from her childhood. That’s also when she first developed a love for the ocean while living in landlocked Idaho.
"I kind of lived vicariously through the library for my love of the water, because I lived in the desert," she said. "I saw the ocean for the first time when I was 13 and I was struck with such a deep, deep love for it."
Now she hopes to share that love with the next generation of kids – and their parents.
"I think that adults as well as children can really relate to the idea of taking something really difficult and turning it into a beautiful experience, to be shared with others,” she said.
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