Peering up from their grandfather's knee, Denna Arnold's children grew up with storytelling, which enhanced their ability to dream. Now, other children will develop creative minds thanks to Denna's children's book, Grandpa, What Happened to Your Hair? The book, "fifteen years in the making" she said, is Denna's tribute to her dad and his vivid imagination.
Denna's forte is watercolor art. As a degree from Syracuse University in illustration and experience working with Kendall College of Art and Design would attest, her background is more in the visual arts. Needless to say, this book is unlike anything she has done. While Denna did complete all illustrations for her children's book, she stretched her talents to complete this project, slated to debut in December.
Denna's dad hasn't seen the book yet, but she did consult her children during its developmental stages. "They would always ask him what happened to his hair, and he would come up with all these crazy, creative ideas." She incorporated some of their memories—such as their grandpa's chair—into the illustrations. "They love (the book) because their grandpa is a unique guy, and they have great imaginations and are creative adults partly because of him," Denna said.
While the book outlines children's stories come to life, Denna is hoping to attract audiences of all ages to her book signing event on December 13 at C2C Gallery in Muskegon. Denna is also hitting the road to do book readings at area libraries leading up to this event, and at the gallery, on December 6, she will display all of her artwork from the book. Sharing Grandpa, What Happened to Your Hair? and promoting the cultivation of imagination is crucial in a world of instant gratification and technology. "The imagination is endless," Denna believes, and children should be allowed to investigate their world and their minds.
Denna encourages others not to fence children in. "Let them explore their imaginations."
Written by: Erika Rose is West Michigan Woman magazine's staff writer.