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

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

Structure fire near Elko quickly contained, spreading prevented

A quick response by local firefighters today prevented the spread of a… Continue reading

Junior Bandits strong at Montana State Invitational

The Bandits battled hard in the tournament that saw them lose a close game in the semi-finals

City confirms its CAO is on medical leave

David Kim, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Cranbrook, is on medical leave

East Kootenay Volleyball has seven athletes at BC Cup

The seven athletes make up half of the team that is representing Zone 1 -Kootenays at the tournament

Wasa man stabbed four times at own home

The suspect fled the scene.

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read