many people she knew, Andrea Liberman Patel 77 searched for
explanations after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Her reactions,
in words and illustrations, led to her childrens book on
that day (Star Root Press, 2001)her attempt to make sense
of the world at a most basic level.
her first book project, seeks to explain a troubling and confusing
subject through colorful illustrations and comforting words suited
for young children, but relevant to readers of all ages. I
felt as bewildered and scared as a 3-year-old. The words were really
for me, she says.
her amazement, the book has become an immediate success, receiving
local press and public radio and television spots. It very
much feels like this book has a life of its own, she says.
It still stuns me. Nearly one-fifth of the 5,000 copies
were donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Site to be distributed
to the families of the victims. Eighteen percent of the proceeds
benefit a fund to support families.
a Massachusetts pre-school teacher, Patel has spent the last 12
years relating to young children. Like adults, they, too, need tools
to encourage discussion about troubling events, she says.
studied flute as a College music major at Oberlin; she never considered
herself an artist. I dont draw and I dont paint,
she says, which comes as a surprise given her books carefully
crafted, bright, color illustrations, which she created by using
her own homeopathic technique. During student naptimes in her classroom,
Patel tore images from tissue paper and dipped them in hot chocolate,
tea, or coffee to create the skin tones of her various characters.
and kids have responded very emotionally to the book, she
says, noting that schools nationwide have begun using it in class.
But hearing directly from people in New York, thats
the most gratifying.
Matthew E. Green 02