Children’s author visits Brundidge

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL Author and illustrator Nancy Tillman read three of her books to children at Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library Saturday morning.

Author and illustrator Nancy Tillman read three of her books to children at Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library
Saturday morning.

Nancy Tillman adds wonder to words.

The award-winning children’s author and illustrator uses timeless messages, colorful images and wide open spaces to convey the simple but powerful message that “You are loved.”

Tillman, of Tualatin, Ore., was in Brundidge visiting her mother, Susie Strother Hastey, over the weekend and was the guest author at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library Saturday.

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Tillman’s first book, “On the Night You Were Born,” is a New York Times best-selling picture book.

The picture book was self-published but was so immediately popular that it was then re-issued by Feiwel & Friends, which has published Tillman’s subsequent books.

“My books all focus on the love parents have for their children,” Tillman said. “The last page in each of my books reads, ‘You are loved.’

“I want the children who read my books or hear them read to know there is no one else exactly like them –that they are uniquely special and that they are loved.”

Tillman read three books to her audience at the Brundidge library, including “On the Night You Were Born.” The cover is wonderfully designed with two dancing polar bears.

“Do you know why the polar bears are dancing?” Tillman asked the children in attendance. “They are celebrating the night you were born. You brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning and the polar bears were dancing.”

Tillman’s book celebrates “the one and only every you.”

The children’s author said she approaches the writing of each book with prayer.

“I pray that each books affirms the importance of each child’s life,” she said. “I want each child to be continually reassured that he or she is loved.”

In speaking about the creative process in writing children’s books, Tillman said the creative process is a mystery that she couldn’t readily explain. The illustrations are created digitally, and she might use pieces of dozens of images to create a single image.

“I use a lot of wide open spaces in the illustrations,” she said. “During the first two years of a child’s life, there are no boundaries, yet. I want them to have these images of big, open spaces, of the moon and the geese flying over, images that will stay with them forever.”

Tillman was asked about “Tumford the Terrible,” a cat that has a way of finding mischief.

“Tumford isn’t ‘really’ a cat,” Tillman said with a smile. “He’s a toddler who is always getting into trouble, but no matter what mischief he finds, he is assured that he is loved.”

Tumford is assured of being loved even when he gets into mischief and Tillman passes that same assurance along to her readers.

“You are loved” is the message of all her books, whether it’s through “Tumford the Terrible” or a couple of dancing polar bears.

Tillman’s other books include “Wherever You are My Love Will Find You,” “I’d Know You Anywhere,” “It’s Time to Sleep, My Love,” and “The Crown on Your Head.”

Tillman worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to illustrate the book, “Let There Be Light.” Together, Tillman’s books have sold in the millions.