Children’s book an important legacy for family who called small B.C. town home during tragic time

i am I ’ was written by Shawn Eastland before his death in 2010.

An example of the colourful illustrations found throughout the recently completed i am I. (Artwork by Erin Parchoma)

Who, what, where, when and why am I?

These are lofty and universal questions for a children’s book to try to answer, but one written by a young man who died under tragic circumstances does just that.

The finished book was brought to life by a team of artists and the Eastland family who were living in Sicamous when Shawn Eastland, the book’s author, died.

i am I” tackles life’s big questions in a way children can understand, but seems relevant for anyone.

“Everyone who has read it has said this isn’t a kid’s book, it’s for everyone. This is the universal question,” said Karen Eastland, Shawn’s mother.

Eastland said Shawn had completed the book, including sketches representing how he intended the illustrated pages to look, in the fall of 2009. In early 2010, before the book could be illustrated and published, Shawn was killed in a car accident. He was 26 years old.

Related:First children’s book a touching tribute

According to Eastland, Shawn had a deep love for children, which led him to want to simplify the important and universal questions asked in i am I into a form they could understand. She added that her son was a deep thinker as a child and was probably pondering many of these questions at a young age himself.

“He was always very intuitive and very self-aware. He had great compassion for other people.”

Eastland said her son had always been a writer and artist. The book’s after-word, which serves as a tribute to the author, mentions his love of weaving words and pictures into hilarious or profound notes he often left for people to find.

When finished with illustrations from the friend and collaborator who he began working on it with, i am I was to be Shawn’s first published work. The illustrator told Eastland that with Shawn gone, the book became more than a project, it became Shawn’s legacy. Eastland said the illustrator felt it was important that the finished product feature artwork as close to Shawn’s original sketches as possible.

She said it has been a long process bringing her son’s vision to reality. One of the most important steps in that process was meeting artist Erin Parchoma, who Eastland said studied and understood Shawn’s creative process – bringing the sketches to full-colour life and embodying Shawn’s inquisitive and joyous energy. Lay-out of the book was handled by a friend of Eastland’s.

Related:Book kiosk piques council’s interest

The first print run of 500 copies of the book will be ready for Eastland to pick up this week. She said approximately 300 copies are already spoken for, many of them destined for the bookshelves of people in Sicamous, who Eastland said showed them enormous kindness in the hours and days following Shawn’s death.

“Within moments the house filled up with people and for days it was just a constant embrace. We wanted for nothing,” she said.

When Shawn’s friends from out-of-town arrived, Eastland said a local hotel gave them a special rate. She describes the kindness she received from the community in Sicamous and Salmon Arm where his service was held as ‘unbelievable.’

Eastland and her husband Clay will be visiting Sicamous from Dec. 7 to 10 with books in tow for those who have reserved them.

A reading of the book and an opportunity to pick up copies will be held at the Sicamous branch of the Okanagan Regional Library from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 8. Those interested in more information or to reserve a copy, can reach Eastland by email at livewithbrio@gmail.com.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sailings filling up on Northern Sea Wolf

There is a strong demand for the service

New ownership group presents Mount Timothy Resort plans

‘More activity and more people on the hill means more fun’

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read