Plainfield teen, grandmother team up for children’s books
By Denise baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 3, 2012 12:10PM
Plainfield muralist, Kaitlin Mackey, edits and illustrates her grandmother's children's books. | submitted photo
Updated: June 5, 2012 8:00AM
Esther Mackey of Joliet and her granddaughter Kaitlin Mackey, 17, of Plainfield have always been close. Now they will attend book and library shows together.
That’s because when Esther needed someone to edit her four books, she turned to Kaitlin, a natural when it comes to fixing grammar and catching typos. In addition, Kaitlin created the cover art and interior illustrations for Esther’s most recent book, “Little Bear and Honey Bee.”
“I wanted to give Kate a chance to expose some of her talents to the public by getting her involved in a book that would be published,” Esther said. “I can do the stories, but not the illustrations or editing. Therefore we make the perfect pair to get a book published.”
“Little Bear and Honey Bee,” geared for children ages 2 through 6, is about the games the protagonists play with their friends and the “big brother” bears that help out when something scary happens.
Kaitlin, an Oswego East High School student, understands her grandmother’s love for words. She enjoys expressing her feelings through poetry and hopes to one day write a novel. Kaitlin’s career goals include teaching English and practicing law. But unlike her grandmother, Kaitlin also draws and paints murals.
Her first mural, featuring a DJ table and speakers, was for Kaitlin’s own bedroom. Then Kaitlin painted a Chicago Bulls-themed mural for her brother’s room. A friend then asked Kaitlin to paint a mural that reflected her interests: pom poms, theater masks and a microphone.
Kaitlin is now working on a mural for a neighbor. This one looks like a street in Paris. For now, Kaitlin is not particular to one type or medium of paint.
“I just go to the store and see what I like,” Kaitlin said. “If the paint looks good on the wall, I use it.”
Before creating the art for “Little Bear and Honey Bee,” Kaitlin first consulted with her grandmother, so she could better understand Esther’s creative vision for the project. Then, armed with a few drawing books and her own imagination, for Kaitlin has never taken an art class, Kaitlin brought the story to life.
“I had never drawn a raccoon,” Kaitlin said. “So I looked up as many pictures of raccoons as I could and put my own twist on them.”
Esther received a diploma from the Children’s Institute of Literature in April 2005 and has published two articles for Read America magazine. She is also the author of “The Adventures of Trouble, Duck and Big Dog,” “In Between My Brothers and Me” and “Trouble, Duck and Big Dog Go Camping.”
To order signed copies, visit www.esthermackeyauthor.webs.com. View Kaitlin’s work at www.mymuralmania.yolasite.com