There’s a very special place in Sheboygan, Wisconsin that not nearly enough people know exists.
Bookworm Gardens is somewhere families can connect with nature and literature all at once. It’s a place that nurtures both plants and imaginations.
Storybooks come to life among trees and flowers as different areas feature different themes and different books.
For the past five years, Bookworm Gardens has also played a role in hosting the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival. In 2015, the festival will pay tribute to a local children’s author as it opens a new section of the gardens inspired by one of her books.
Green Bay author, Miranda Paul, has written two books for kids – with three more set to be published in 2016.
Her first book, One Plastic Bag – with illustration by Elizabath Zunon – tells the true story of women in Gambia who took on a trash problem in their village and started a recycling movement that brought about inspiring changes. (Find out more at OnePlasticBag.com)
Paul’s second book was Water is Water, with illustration by Jason Chin. This poetic picture book teaches kids about physical science and the changing seasons through the eyes of two adventurous siblings.
This October, Paul will be honored during the festival with a new area at Bookworm Gardens that centers around her second book. Paul says she got a sneak peek at the garden and is excited for others to experience it too.
“It’s simple, beautiful, and functional, which is fitting because Water is Water combines Jason Chin’s beautiful illustrations with my simple text to celebrate and impart information about the science of water,” Paul says.
By functional, she means that this part of Bookworm Gardens will also serve a specific purpose.
“The landscaping in this section of the garden will prevent flooding by diverting water in a natural way. I love when art and nature can work together for good! I’ve been traveling all over the country this year, so it’s meaningful for me to be so close to home for an installation like this.”
View Photos from Inside Sheboygan’s Bookworm Gardens
For more photos – check out Bookworm Gardens on Facebook
Miranda Paul is just one of more than a dozen different authors and illustrators coming to Sheboygan for the festival, which also has events at the Mead Public Library and the Kohler Arts Center from October 9th – 11th.
“It’s a wonderful way for families to connect with authors,” Paul says. “For a child to meet a book creator makes that book come to life. I never got to meet an author or illustrator when I was young, and I’m grateful to the festival for making this a priority for today’s kids through school visits and free public events.”
Illustrator and author, Nick Patton of De Pere, has been helping promote the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival, and he’s also enthusiastic about what’s in store.
“Places like the Bookworm Gardens and events like the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival bring families and books together in a magical way,” he says.
Patton hosts the Picturebooking Podcast, which features many accomplished authors and illustrators of children’s literature. You can listen to a conversation between Patton and Paul in Episode 31 of Picturebooking, which was recorded at St. Norbert College this summer.
Despite the access Patton has to people at the top of his trade, he knows this festival is still a special opportunity to make connections. One person Patton is excited to have at the event is illustrator Christian Robinson.
In addition to illustrating award-winning books, Robinson has worked with Pixar Animation and the Sesame Street Workshop.
He also created the original artwork for the 2015 Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival (see above).
“Christian Robinson is one of the best illustrators working today,” Patton says. “And to not only have him at the festival but to have him create a custom illustration for the festival is so cool. Christian’s art is childlike and classic. I can’t wait to meet him and I can’t wait to see his presentation and his art-making workshop.”
But don’t get the wrong picture. While this festival is a great place for aspiring artists and authors, it’s meant to be a celebration for children and their families.
“It has everything you’d expect of a family festival,” Patton says. “Activities for the kids, amazing venues and fun presentations, and it’s all based off of books. Your child might connect with an author or illustrator and discover a lifelong love of reading.”
Miranda Paul says she’s looking forward to three days of fun.
“There’s loads of it to be had – from a bedtime concert, to art projects, to collecting author trading cards. I love connecting with readers; it’s one of the best parts of the job. I hope to inspire kids and parents, and they definitely inspire me.”
Paul also highly recommends stopping in at the “wildly artistic bathrooms” inside the Kohler Arts Center.
The theme of the 2015 festival is “A World of Wonder.” Festival-goers are encouraged to create their own wondrous experience. You and the family can choose from more than 50 different events – and admission to everything is completely free!
If you’re unable to make it to this year’s festival, put it on the calendar for the future. And make sure to schedule a trip to Bookworm Gardens soon.
Get a complete overview of events and visiting authors when you check out the official website for SheboyganChildrensBookFestival.org.
Look for Miranda Paul’s new books in 2016: Whose Hands are These?, Trainbots and 10 Little Ninjas.
- What: Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival
- When: October 9-11th, 2015
- Where: Events at Bookworm Gardens, Mead Public Library and Kohler Arts Center
- Admission: The Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival is FREE!
- Visit the Bookworm Gardens’ Website
- Visit Miranda Paul’s Website
- Visit Christian Robinson’s Website
- Visit Nick Patton’s Website
- Listen to Nick’s Picturebooking Podcast
Meet More of the Authors & Illustrators Coming to Sheboygan!