Thursday, August 11, 2005

Starting young

There was an article in the Orlando Sentinel today about a girl named Anna Johanson, a 14-year-old illustrator with two children's books to her credit (There's A Frog Trapped in the Bathroom and The Very Stubborn Centipede, both by Susan Snyder) and a third in progress. But get this: she started working on her first book when she was just 12!
This home-schooled 10th-grader from Deltona is imagining what it will be like in October to walk into any Borders Books & Music store across the nation and find her work on display, for sale. (...)

"Realizing that it would be in all those bookstores, I was like, 'Wow,' " said the teen, who also tap dances in her spare time, listens to alternative Christian music and plays with her orange cat, Moppet, and her terrier mix named Max. She draws inspiration for her art from Disney and from children's authors Shel Silverstein and Beatrix Potter.

Between her illustrating success and the fact that she's a homeschooler, I can't help but want to let out a whoop and a loud "YOU GO GIRL!" (But I will maintain dignity, as even my dog gives me a reproachful "Do you have to do that?" look when I get carried away.) I'm sure stories of those making a start in the publishing business remarkably young go back decades, but it seems I've read about several young authors/illustrators just in recent months. Pretty amazing. Children (and young adults) are capable of much more than they usually get credit for, and I suppose that's what makes them so irresistable to cheer along. I look forward to following Miss Johanson's progress in what I hope will be a long and successful career for her.