Inspired by this Confidence
Carol Heyer's Story
One rarely sees an image of Carol Heyer painting without her beloved chihuahua mixes resting upon her lap. Her intense adoration for animals is clear as she types with one hand to allow petting time for woman's best friends, Peanut and Cashew Nut. Closely exploring her creatures' warm eyes, and funny faces on the picture book pages, introduces us to the real children's author and illustrator. We know her intimately through the delightfulness and beauty of her stories' animals that often meet Jesus.
"A wise man once said, `Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.' I have been lucky enough to write and paint, and have a career doing the things I love.”
Carol Heyer's words spark reflection, as we help our children discern their futures and choices. How do we inspire today’s youth to joyfully use their gifts to honor their Creator?
It was my mother’s imagination and gift of story telling that started me on my road to writing and illustrating fantasy and children’s art."
Faery gardens and imagination were not the only gifts that bloomed in Carol’s childhood. Living one’s faith and fostering virtues was encouraged in the Heyer home. While growing up in the nineteen fifties in California, Carol often read The Lives of the Saints with her mother. Her basic beliefs were built from religion books, and she still tries to remember and practice those lessons every day.
Humphrey’s First Palm Sunday and Humphrey’s First Christmas were introduced to readers in the last two years. Heyer’s hero, Humphrey the camel, reminds children that leadership is an important role, but it is Christ who shall receive the greatest honor.
Despite the success of these artistic endeavors, when asked why illustrating children’s books was what she most aspired to, Carol’s response is an enlightened observation, “I collected picture books, and thought that the amazing art on those pages rivaled any of the works hanging in galleries.”
Her keen observation is what encouraged Carol to stay the course and take a position as an illustrator for two beloved characters named Sebastian and Hopscotch, a shepherd and his lamb found on the pages of church bulletins. Katherine Zwers and John Tobin, who owned the rights to these cute characters, asked Carol if she would illustrate a book they wrote about Sebastian and Hopscotch. She jumped at the chance, selling her project quickly to religious publisher, Ideals Children’s Books. The result was her first picture book titled A Star in the Pasture.
Carol has practical advice for young artists: “Natural ability certainly makes things easier, but when I taught art years ago I came to realize that a student who loved art would often out shine all the others because they never gave up. They would be the ones that worked the hardest to achieve their goals. More likely than not, they were the ones that finally went into the arts.
I’ve also read some amazing stories about children who were inspired by their favorite authors. I see some of their art that was copied or influenced by a picture book they loved. In fact, I’ve received pictures of goofy camels, like Humphrey, dressed in outrageous costumes, and beautifully designed blankets."
Children’s literature touches children's lives, even if they are not dreaming of authoring. A good book can help children through difficult times. It entertains, teaches or inspires children to change lives of others. After reading about Humphrey's blanket gift to Baby Jesus, in Humphrey’s First Christmas , a little girl wrote Carol about her new community service - making blankets for poor children.
Carol Heyer's books grace the shelves of The Apostle Bookstore. Can't find one of your favorites, or don't reside in the Twin Cities? Judy will order a title when you call her at 952-931-0004.