Sea Glass Summer is the latest children’s book from Quispamsis-based author, Heidi Jardine Stoddart. Published by Nimbus, Sea Glass Summer is the story of little girl, Molly, who loves searching for sea glass with her Gram at her cottage by the sea.
The two spend long hours scouring the beach for colourful pieces of sea glass. That is, until Molly and her parents have to move far away from Gram and the sea, leaving the little girl to wonder if she’ll ever find her way to that special place again.
Author Heidi Jardine Stoddart readily admits that the book was heavily influenced by her own experiences. Growing up, Stoddart and her family lived in Ontario, but traveled East each year to spend their summers with family in St. Martins, NB.
She says of her childhood summers spent on the coast, “I think summer vacations, they just hold a bit of a magical place in our nostalgic, sentimental memories”. The character of Gram was formed from an amalgamation of a number of Gram-like figures in her life.
The colourful and 3D-like illustrations were created using collage, a technique new to Stoddart. Watercolour backgrounds were used as a base, with colourful paper pieces layered on top to finish the illustrations, the collage method streamlining the creative process but she admits that she quickly got caught up in the intricate details of each frame.
Writing stories is something that’s always come naturally to Stoddart, who started writing when she was just 8 years old. When asked what appeals to her about writing children’s books, Stoddart says, “I love art and making art, and I love reading and writing, so it brings that together. And I’m also an elementary teacher, so it just seems to bring my favourite things together in one thing”. Her students can’t quite believe she’s written the book they hold in their hands, until they see her picture on the back cover jacket. “Then their eyes get really big”, Stoddart says.
Like all writers, she’s already formulating ideas for her next book. No word yet on whether the sea will once again figure prominently.
The official book launch for Sea Glass Summer will be held Saturday, May 14th at Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay, from 1:30 to 3pm. Click here for more details.