Gideon Goes to School (Paperback)
About the Author and Illustrator: Jenny Hecker lives in Westerville, Ohio with her husband Jeff and a couple of slightly wacko cats. They have two grown sons and are sponsors to two Haitian children. Jenny has been a writer of a different sort for many years. She is the youngest of four children, one of whom is her sister and illustrator, Nancy Near. Nancy Near retired from her 25-year career as a software developer / strategy consultant with a dream of becoming a professional watercolor artist and a desire to (someday) illustrate a published children's book. Some dreams do come true! Nancy and her husband Jim live in Cupertino, California with two cats and the occasional grown daughter and son home for a brief visit. Nancy has traveled a fair amount but has not yet visited Haiti, except through her sister Jenny Hecker's photos and stories. About the Book: Gideon Goes to School was inspired by a little boy named Jacky who lives in an orphanage in Despinos, Haiti. Jenny has visited there several times and fell in love with the kids and the country. One night on a roof in Haiti, where sleep doesn't come easily and the geckos chirp a lot, Jenny took a flashlight and a notebook and wrote a draft of this story. She shared her draft, plus lots of photos, with Nancy, who let her imagination and her watercolors run wild. This book is the result of their love for each other and a long-ago promise to work together on a book "someday." Because we also share a love for those kids in Haiti, we are donating the entire royalties from the sale of each book to Imagine Missions, the organization that runs the Loyal Oaks Children's Home in Despinos. About the Sisters' Collaboration: Jenny and Nancy actually did work together to write and illustrate a children's book when they were teenagers. Jenny wrote the story of "Baby Long Legs" for their cousin Tommy, about a tiny Daddy-Long-Legs spider that lived under a screened-in porch. Nancy hand-lettered and hand-painted the story onto cardboard pages held together with binder rings. Thanks to a proactive and loving mom and her sister (our aunt), that cardboard original still exists.