September 29, 2013

Milton, The Square Shell Turtle

In today's guest blog, MaryAnn Tatro reveals the inspiration behind her new book. 

The inspiration for my book started twenty eight years ago.  I didn't realize at the time there would be a book in my future, but it was there....waiting.

My son (then five), his day-care, and a selected number of other day-cares were asked to participate in a project that would change the look and hopefully attract the local public to a certain park in the Cleveland, Ohio area that needed much attention and clean up.

The children were given a 10" x 10" tile and asked to paint anything on their tile that they wanted. There were approximately one hundred participants who took on the task. After the tiles were painted, glazed over and hardened, they were finally arranged and displayed at their new home—the city park.

My son painted on his tile (you guessed it) a turtle. He made short brush strokes and fingerprint marks he said were grass and a few light blue areas he called water.  Now to the average viewer, my son's tile painting could be deemed abstract, but to me it was a masterpiece.

A few years ago, I heard some rather disappointing news. This particular park was to be renovated and all the tiles had to be removed.  My husband and I decided, before all was lost, to make a special trip to Cleveland and photograph our son's tile.  To our amazement, the tiles were not damaged but relocated to another area park; and, I am pleased to report that is where they are to this day.

And so that takes us back to the beginning, the inspiration for my book, Milton The Square Shell Turtle. Now, I can't leave my husband out of the story completely. I gave Milton my husband's laid-back personality and his ability to avoid a problem (or as he puts it) SOLVING a problem by finding another way and keeping peace. Lastly, I wanted Milton to be different from other turtles.  And so he is, because in real life, we are all different and unique.

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