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

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.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Support for music and arts industry critical during COVID, says MLA

A Maple Ridge-Mission politician talks about the current state of the entertainment world

Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

‘We want to do everything we can beforehand to reduce conflict,’ said Sgt. Todd Hunter

Pitt Meadows mayor responds to petition to halt development of North Lougheed Study Area

A petition with 628 signatures was put before city council on Tuesday evening

Searching for isolated seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with music and dance

Seniors outreach team at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society came up with a pop up jukebox

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read