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Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Bev Stone is also a philanthropist, donating profits from her books to Idaho nonprofits benefiting children.
“I’m always looking for ways to help kids,” said Stone, who works at her home studio near Burley in southeastern Idaho. “Every little bit helps.”
She and friends established the nonprofit, the Bright Day Foundation, which is in part funded by 100 percent of the money made from her book sales. Annual donations go to several organizations, including Camp Rainbow Gold, a children’s cancer and family camp near Fairfield; the Mini-Cassia Domestic Violence Shelter in Rupert; and Hope House in Marsing.
Stone also donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Idaho, selling 50 hand-sewn stuffed animals she designed. They looked like white puppies, the main character in her book, entitled “Snowpuppies,” about the adventures of 12 pups made of snow. Stone sewed 35, and a friend finished 15.
Her books not only appeal to children but also to adults, especially her award-winning book, They Told Us Something Wonderful Was Coming.
“People who have bought that book tell me they give it to someone who brightens their life and makes the world sing,” said Stone. “It’s my favorite book because it reminds us all that we’re significant.”
She illustrated the rhyming verses with ladybugs, bees, fireflies, stars and clouds that all agree “they told us something wonderful was coming, somehow … they knew about you.”
One reviewer for the Gittle List’s Best Indie Children’s Picture Books noted the book is appropriate for any age. “Its message is one of affirmation and the joy of life.”
That book and Silly Socks & Other Stuff both won a gold award from the Mom’s Choice Awards, an organization that evaluates products and services for children, families, and educators. They are among 13 children’s books Stone has written and illustrated.
Whatever she writes and illustrates, Stone said she thinks not only of children enjoying the books but also of the adults who will be reading the books to children.
“I hope the books are entertaining and also provide a way for adults to talk to kids about some topics such as diversity, kindness, and respect,” she said.
“Some books, though, I write purely for fun, like my new book, Silly Socks Rock,” she said.
It’s a sequel to Silly Socks & Other Stuff, a collection of whimsical and wise poems.
In one poem called “Friends,” she wrote, “My friends are beautiful people no matter how they’re made; my friends are beautiful people even when their colors fade.”
Stone said the Socks books were entertaining and unforgettable because her son Calvin, a psychiatrist in California, co-illustrated them.
“Calvin has always been a talented artist,” she said.
She also sometimes collaborates with her daughter, Jamie, a child psychologist based in Chicago.
“Jamie is fabulous with words,” Stone said. “I always think of them when I write.”
A book dedication expresses her gratitude for their inspiration and being in her life.
“Before I saw you, I loved you still, beyond forever I always will.”
As Stone works in her home studio, she is surrounded by memories conveyed through her numerous paintings and photos of paintings that decorate the walls. Along with her book illustrations are sentimental scenes commissioned by committees as retirement gifts.
“I’m honored when people ask me to paint a scene that celebrates someone’s life or that portrays a time or place that is meaningful to that person,” Stone said.
She painted a watercolor of Bruce Newcomb astride a horse waving goodbye to people at the Idaho Capitol. A state legislator for 20 years, he served as speaker of the House for eight years before retiring in 2006.
The committee in charge of organizing a retirement party for Denton Darrington, a state senator for 30 years, asked her to paint a log cabin in the South Hills that has been in his family for generations.
Stone was also commissioned to paint the iconic Reinheimer Ranch barn that stands at the southern entrance to Ketchum. A grandchild of the original owner requested it.
“Preserving memories like those with a painting is really a joy,” she said.
At book readings and other events, Stone said people often tell her they have an idea for a children’s book.
“I encourage people to self-publish—for their kids or grandkids if for no other reason,” she said.
She also encourages her readers to share their comments about her books or ideas for books at [email protected]. Her books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and at the Full Moon Gallery in Twin Falls.
“I love to hear from people, especially from kids,” Stone said. ISI