It’s not often college students have the chance to experience learning as they did in elementary school. Many students remember the blissful days of regular naps, scheduled snacks and hours of outdoor play. While not all of our learnings experiences can be replicated as they were so seemingly long ago, Northwestern students now have the chance to relive storytime with author Andrew Zeller and illustrator Duha Lee with their new story Sleep Baby Samurai, to be read to students on Nov. 2 in the DeWitt Learning Commons.
Zweller currently resides in Canada, so he will be Zooming in for the event. Lee, however, will be joining readers in person. Many may know Lee through her husband, Dr. Han-Yen Kao of the business and economics department. NW students and faculty may also know her work from the illustrations in the summer 2020 edition of the Northwestern Classic.
Though Sleepy Baby Samurai is Lee’s first children’s book in the U.S., she has always been interested in art and drawing.
Lee said, “Drawing has always been an important part of my life. It is a way I express myself and share my view of the world with others.”
Originally from Taiwan, she has worked on illustrations for many children’s magazines. After the debut of Sleepy Baby Samurai, she plans to open her own Etsy shop where she will sell customized portraits and prints.
When asked what the process of illustrating the book was like, Lee said, “My favorite part is visualizing the story texts to illustrations, so it’s basically the whole process of making this book. I love communicating with the author, knowing his thoughts and combining them with mine and creating illustrations based on the words. I spent a lot of time researching and practicing how to draw the cave, redrawing it a few times because I was not satisfied with the outcome. I am happy with how it turned out.”
Not only were the authors excited to share their story with the NW community, but the Learning Commons staff was enthusiastic as well.
Greta Grond said, “We love to connect the NWC community with books. When we saw that a local artist had illustrated a children’s book, we knew we wanted to both celebrate a local artist and share a new and unique children’s book. We were hoping for any members of the NW community who are interested in pursuing careers in education, art, publishing or marketing to attend. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the whole process of creating a book from idea to text to illustrations to production to sales.”
The event took place on Nov. 2, in the Lower-Level Children’s Library of Dewitt Learning Commons. Lee’s work, as well as the trailer for Sleep Baby Samurai, can be found on her website www.duhalee.com.