Arts & Entertainment

SBU Professor Will Launch Children's Book on Sunday at Chestnut Ridge

669bfb5b01ad9b7ef009_6394f73b019f2a26b699_harris4.jpg
Pictured are family members of author Heather Lynn Harris reading for the first time the children's book she wrote to help her family cope with the death of her niece Nicole.
669bfb5b01ad9b7ef009_6394f73b019f2a26b699_harris4.jpg

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Heather Lynn Harris wrote “Clover and the Shooting Star” to help young members of her family cope with the tragedy of losing a loved one. She describes it as “a book of wonder and hope” that promotes a therapeutic way of understanding loss.

Harris, a professor of marketing communications at St. Bonaventure University, explained that her niece Nicole passed away “too soon and too fast" and that Nicole's own nieces and nephews struggled with the fact she was gone from their lives.

“I wanted the book to have a therapeutic nature that was hopeful and happy and let them know that while Nicole isn’t physically here with us, she is not gone forever and we will always have her,” said Harris.

Sign Up for E-News

Harris said her original intention was to write and illustrate one book to share with her family.

“I wanted the book itself to be spontaneous and feel very fresh. So I collaged in the writing with the paintings,” Harris explained. First she created the illustrations, then typed and printed the text, then laid the printed sentences over the paintings.

In her story, Clover the Rabbit witnesses a shooting star, then goes around asking the nighttime woodland creatures he knows if they saw it. Learning one by one that they did not, Clover is sad until an owl reassures him that others Clover had not asked had seen that shooting star. And that star would be remembered, just as loved ones are.

Harris said her family enjoyed the book and wanted copies. Their requests prompted Harris to take it to her publisher, the Buffalo Heritage Unlimited, to see if they thought it should be published. “They loved it,” Harris recalled.

“I wrote it for little children but adults appreciate it just as much because the message is universal,” said Harris.

The book, which Harris said was made and printed “100 percent in Western New York,” will be released on Sunday during a 2-4 p.m. book launch at The Casino at Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park. The event will feature an auction of stuffed animal characters from the book. Proceeds will benefit a no-kill animal shelter, in honor of Nicole and her love for dogs.

Studying illustration storytelling, Harris, who is completing an MFA in illustration (picture book illustration is her specialty) at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, learned the components that create an engaging composition. “The idea of being able to communicate visually is very powerful,” she said. “I wanted to try to communicate in a way that can bring people together.”

Harris noted that not only did she achieve a compelling, page-turning experience, but she also embedded subtle lessons that make her book much more than a story. “There are things that are very natural for little kids to learn,” said Harris, the mother of three. “They’ll open up the book and count how many babies the possum has. That repetition is beneficial for kids.”

She added that she asked an expert in early childhood development to check out the book. The expert told her the book contains a nice, universal message and that its woodland characters exhibit some valuable lessons.

For instance, the raccoon misses the shooting star because he had his head in a hole in a log. “We don’t want to hide away from the world because we’ll miss things,” Harris said.

“The best stories are the ones that are very true to your own experiences,” she added. “It came from such a raw place, straight from the heart. I wanted people to feel hopeful at the end and they do, they feel very hopeful.”

Please visit www.cloverandtheshootingstar.com for more information.

Harris has another book in the works, “Five Hungry Mice and a Box Full of Rice,” which she described as the retelling of an old children’s song. She plans to release that book either before Christmas this year or Easter next year.

Click here to listen to a podcast with book creator Heather Lynn Harris and reporter Mackenzie Watson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

After a 46-year absence, I'm Still at Home on Bona Radio

A timeworn idiom asserts that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.  As a retired guy, floating around in my mid-sixties, I easily qualify as an “old dog.” But since September I’ve been doing a weekly radio show on St. Bonaventure University’s radio station, WSBU FM, 88.3, the Buzz, and I’m thinking that perhaps that old negative phrase can be turned into a ...

Self-Defense Empowers Women

Real estate agent Mary Stachowicz fears becoming a victim of violence.

Why? Because she shows houses to groups of men by herself.

Stachowicz voiced those fears after the Jan. 27 “Beyond Self Defense Seminar” she attended at AKT Combatives Academy in Olean. And she said she believed that in order to overcome this fear, it would be valuable to learn self-defense.

“My son ...

The Story of Punxsutawney Phil

With Groundhog Day landing on Friday this year, thousands will watch in person and even more will tune in from home to see Punxsutawney Phil make his yearly prediction.

As legend has it, if Phil sees his shadow at dusk on Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter are on its way. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, and early spring can be expected.

Phil may very well be the world’s second ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 3:00 PM

YMCA, Olean

Financial Literacy for Students in Grades 6-8

Education

Thu, February 22, 6:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Trivia Night

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, February 23, 3:45 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Pokemon Club

Arts & Entertainment

CRCF grant gives $22 thousand for biennial, artist support

February 20, 2018

ALLEGANY, NY -- The Cattaraugus County Arts Council recently received a $22,207 grant from the F. Donald Kenney Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, once again in support of the Southern Tier Biennial Art Show.

The endowment fund was established through Mr. Kenney’s estate to support the biennial art exhibition in perpetuity.

A graduate of Olean High School, Holy Cross ...

Exhibit Opening at JCC's Olean Campus Offers New Ways to Visualize Disease and Recovery

OLEAN, NY -- A new exhibition, titled “Artist/Patient/Advocate: Works by Elizabeth Jameson and Ted Meyer,” offers new ways of visualizing disease and recovery.

Opening Friday from 6-8 p.m. in the Center Gallery on the Jamestown Community College Olean campus, this exhibit features artwork that incorporates diagnostic brain scans, photographs and rubbings taken from body scars. Los ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...