I’m still on a bit of WOTS high. After a long car ride home yesterday, including a pickup of the hubby’s car from his friends place post-hockey draft melee (because he DOES NOT DRINK AND DRIVE EVER!), a quick and dirty dinner, walking dogs, bath, a late bedtime and review writing I did not have a chance to let the day’s events sink in.
*A little parental wisdom I learned from yesterday’s fun: it is not a good idea to give your child an entire powered covered mini donut in the late afternoon especially if said child is not used to having sugar. In hindsight I can kind of see this wasn’t the best idea (think manic doll-hiding-and-revealing under a pillow and literally bouncing around at bedtime) but at the time I was swept away with buying treats off a truck (hey man, I am fumbling around as I go!)
Today was quieter and allowed for the opportunity to think about some of the highlights of the festival. I enjoyed the picnic in the park with my family, hearing book readings (Giles Blunt and Erica Ehm/Rebecca Eckler readings from their latest books were some of the fun ones I saw ) and to get introduced to some books I may not have otherwise found out about.
One such book is The Cutest Face by Rebecca Zak (ISBN: 9780981399102, Zak Books, 2010) written and illustrated by Zak, who is a teacher and oil painter. She told me that she was searching for a picture book to show her students that celebrated Canada’s beautiful diversity and found that what was out there was lacking. So she created her own.
This charming little picture book showcases Zak’s talent as a painter and celebrates all sorts of great cute faces and celebrating the diversity most Canadians find in their own classrooms. I especially liked that she celebrated not only cultural and racial diversity but also those kids at all levels of physical ability.
In this tale, it is class picture day and the teacher is appreciating the beauty of each student and the beauty of them all together.
I liked that this is a storybook in which many students in the GTA and Canada can see their own image reflected in and I always love any endeavour that promotes diversity and equity to children. Zak wrote this book after her first year of teaching, feeling inspired by the multicultural students around her. In fact, many of the faces in this book are inspired by actual students she has taught!
What I was especially impressed with was Zak herself. She not only recognized the need for new content, created it, published it (beautifully I might add) but she booked a booth at WOTS (even before she even had the hard copy ready) and cheerfully talked about her project to every interested individual who stopped by. Unlike some other exhibitors who tired our fairly quickly I saw her expressively chatting with everyone who sidled up to her booth.
I could feel her energy and I was mighty impressed. She loves this book!
Zak Books was founded out of a love of both reading and art and has a strong desire to do good in the world. I respect that as a kindred spirit (one of my favourite quotes of all time is “Be not simply good, be good for something” by Henry David Thoreau and it is the motto I try and live by and apparently so does Zak!)
Zak Books also collaborated with Opportunity International Canada on Face of Opportunity which celebrates the spirit of microfinance opportunities and people who are transformed their own lives through this process.
Now I thought my hubby and I were the cutest couple ever but Rebecca and Dave, her fiancé who cofounded Zak Books, are certainly up there.
(Rebecca with a feline friend- Image graciously borrowed from Zak Books website)
is an oil painter and an art teacher with the Peel District School Board and on top of writing and illustrating this book, creating a publishing company and promoting it; she is also currently completing her PhD in Education at Brock University! This is her first book.
Dave is also an artist in the broadest sense, involved in computer animation, graphic design, film, photography, painting, drawing, music, and of course, book design. He is also an entrepreneur who is passionate about global poverty issues and donates much of his time to such efforts. The Cutest Face is the second book Dave has lent his talents to, after Faces of Opportunity, published in 2009 through Opportunity International. Dave is the founder of Facelessbook.com, product creator at ArtResin.com, and cofounder of GoGoEco.com.
(Photo of Dave Zak from the Faces of Opportunity Website)
The couple live in Oakville, Ontario with their two cats (and multiple projects!)
I am so inspired by those who do not rest on their laurels and get out there and give their genius to the world, I am also inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit. Zak Books have two other titles forthcoming ‘Becoming Fools’ and ’Poor Grumpy Artist’ –watch for them both!
Oh, yeah and the books too!
If you want to order this book go to www.cutestfacebook.com and tell them Word of Mouse Books sent you! (I’m not promising a discount or anything just thought it might be cool for you to mention where you heard about it!)
Thanks for reading,