Local author and illustrator Anne Boody Horwood has paired the hard-earned lessons learned during a period of personal trauma and her love of animals in a self-published children’s book, My Kind and Caring Animal Friends.
The onset of Covid-19 in March 2020 was a challenging time for everyone. Add into the mix family health issues, and many people like Anne experienced what she describes as a “horrific experience,” she said, “a time when everyone needed to reach out and be more kind and more caring.”
My Kind and Caring Animal Friends features Anne’s favourite animal characters who each in turn embody a form of kindness and caring. There’s Gary the Goat’s smile, Shelly the Sea Turtle and her plea for a safe environment for sea creatures, Buddy and his undying love, Richie Raven’s care of his friends and family, Peg the Pig’s gratitude, Cheerio the English Robin’s cheerfulness, Esther Rabbit’s plea for healthy food, Donkey Do-Right’s commitment to do right, Ralph the Rooster’s pride, and Puddy Cat’s plea to protect wild animals.
Anne retired from a successful career in journalism and communications in 2015. She was looking for a way to shed the stress of her working life when a friend suggested painting. Despite her successful career, she experienced what she believes is common to many women, that is, low self-esteem. “It’s a common trait among women, a feeling that they are not good enough,” she explained. “It can be a struggle with the re-occurring question: How do I measure up?”
Anne heeded her friend’s advice and picked up a paint brush, but it took her two years to say “I am an artist.”
Fast forward to today and Anne has transitioned from a career woman to a landscape painter, writer, illustrator, publisher of a children’s book, photographer, and poet.
The inspiration for My Kind and Caring Animal Friends comes from one particular animal friend, Smiling Gary, a Nubian goat that Anne met and fell in love with in Barbados.
“I photographed Gary, then painted him. I made and sold Gary the Goat greeting cards and I was overwhelmed with people’s response. ‘He makes me smile,’ they would say. My husband, who is my biggest fan, told me I should do something with Gary. ‘He’s the one,’ he would say. ‘He seems to capture the essence of all of the animals you paint.’ Gary was the genesis. It was absolute joy when the book was coming together in 2021, working closely with my husband who has an art and graphic design background, with a close neighbour and the printer. Sales feel secondary to the whole experience.
“People ask when the next book is coming out. I am not sure I have another one in me. I move where the spirit takes me,” she said.
My Kind and Caring Animal Friends is written for children four to seven years. Anne will be reading her book to children at the Meaford Public Library on August 24. To view Anne’s animal illustrations, visit paintwithpassionanne.com. To purchase a copy of the book, go to garythegoat.ca. The book will be available during the Carghill Children’s Book Festival on July 30 in Carghill.