It’s a strange time to do anything– have a baby, get married, start a business – but I know people doing all these mind-boggling things. Meanwhile, I can barely make my breakfast.
I forget what I’ve put in the pancake batter, slosh it on the counter, reach for a paper towel, only to remember I don’t have any paper towels. A pandemic snatched up every paper towel in America. I gaze out the window and wonder: what day is it? What is it I was doing?
I don’t know much about anything these days. I keep trying to make a plan, but I have no idea what to plan for. One thing I do know: the middle of a plague is a strange time to launch a book. How do you even do that? I know ZOOM parties are all the rage. I just hate them. They just depress the hell out of me. Books, like babies, however, pick their own time to be born, and for some reason, mine picked now.
I wrote this book because rivers, in general, inspire me, and true happy-endings inspire me, too. Our kids get so much doom heaped on their shoulders, and somehow they’re supposed to fix all that their elders have screwed up. Thanks a lot, folks. But there are beacons of hope out there.
I Am the Elwhais a picture book about a special river on the Olympic Peninsula, a true story for nature enthusiasts, animal lovers, budding scientists, historians, artists and conservationists. The story of the Elwha is important because scientists the world over see it as a prototype for troubled rivers everywhere.
It’s customary (and fun) to pop champagne and celebrate new books with family and friends, but now is not the time for champagne or merry-making. Drinking alone, I’ve noticed, is not particularly festive, either.
Nonetheless, books and babies do require a welcome, no matter when they show up, and I’m grateful to welcome this one, from the amazing StrongNations Publishing crew in Canada.
When the UPS guy dropped off the box, I was afraid to open it. I hadn’t seen the illustrations yet. After three years of work, what if I hated them? But I did not. I loved them.
Laura Timmermans did a dynamite job bringing this story to life. On top of finishing our book in record time, she’s incubating her own first-edition, a REAL baby,due in just a few weeks. She’ll deliver a new book, anda new baby, in less than 8 weeks. Holy smokes.
Robert Elofson – Tribal Elder, biologist, and driving force behind the dam removal and river restoration – collaborated on this book, and taught me so much about his river. When his copies arrived yesterday he was so happy that he had to call me.
And what he said just made my day. Robert said he realized he’d done what every kid dreams of in college—accomplishing something that makes the world a better place. And that if today were his last day, he could “die a happy man.”
I Am the Elwhais just right for older kids (third grade and up) to read by themselves. For younger kids, it’s good for snuggling on the couch and reading aloud.
Mostly I wanted kids just to enjoy a good story, and maybe even be inspired. But, if education is on your mind, parents and teachers can check off language arts, science, and history. Find the river on a map, or figure out a road trip, and you’ll cover math and geography as well. Unit Study enthusiasts can wrap in Native American culture, art, and drama too.
This spring is ushering in all kinds of promise… new rivers, new books, new babies of every kind. Life seems determined to carry on, in spite of plagues and our anxieties.
And though I wobble between sad, worried and confused, I look forward with hope to the day when we can open that champagne, toasting not just to our survival, but to the missed celebrations and milestones we usually celebrate together.
Joel says he wants to have a “Hugging Party” once this over (and we’ve all been vaccinated.) I want every one of you available for that party.
So stay well, carry on, and keep your eye out for happy endings.
If you’re interested in a copy, I Am theElwhais available at www.streamriffs.com
Welcome to Streamriffs.com, a place for fellow creek- walkers and nature lovers. Lori Fisher Peelen lives in California with her family.