Embracing who you are—including the weird, wonderful, and sometimes confusing—can be especially daunting when you’re a kid. Two new children’s books, written by Park City residents Chris Waddell and Katie Mullaly, take on this often sticky and complicated issue in different and yet equally tender ways.
Waddell (one-revolution.org), a decorated Paralympian and author of Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget, wrote his first children’s book, Is It Lonely to Be a Four-Leaf Clover?, for his wife Jean as a birthday present in 2015. In the book (which Waddell also illustrated), the clover tries to hide its fourth leaf until it falls in love with the dandelion and learns the very thing it has kept hidden is what it should be celebrating. “What stands out to me is the idea that we can hide what’s bad about us, but sometimes when we do, we hide what’s really unique,” Waddell says.
Land of I Am, the third installment in Mullaly’s Land of series, takes a look at the “I am” labels we all give ourselves. “The words we use to shape how we see ourselves can be very powerful,” Mullaly says. “But sometimes we must recognize that our ‘I am’ labels aren’t always the best or most truthful.” As with her two previous Land of books, Mullaly partnered with British illustrator Toby Allen (zestydoesthings.com) to create the images in Land of I Am. Mullaly fell in love with Allen’s work after discovering his “Real Monster” series, illustrations anthropomorphizing Allen’s own anxiety disorder and other mental illnesses.
Find Is It Lonely to Be a Four-Leaf Clover? and all of the Land of books at Dolly’s Bookstore (510 Main St, 435.649.8062).