Youme Landowne & Anthony Horton

I am busy. Beyond busy. Busy like never before in my life. Two more weeks of this and then things should settle back into the regular level of chaos. But for now, I'm at a stage where I have unopened emails from a week ago.

Still, once in a while, I do open and read. And then I look on in wonder.

My little local independent bookstore, the Imagine Atrium, is hosting Youme Landowne on Friday, 10/17 and I'm so excited. I hope I can go. If you're in Jersey City, do go.

Landowne writes children's books and her Selavi, about Haiti's restaveks is really beautiful. The restaveks are the poorest of the poor children in Haiti, children whose parents farm them out to "reste-avec," or stay with, less poor families who promise to feed, clothe and educate them. In reality, the restaveks are often little better than slaves. Landowne's picture book, which she wrote and illustrated, tells the true story of some restaveks who made a little family which then turned into a real home. It's the kind of children's book I love: it tells are hopeful story about a really, really dark, real thing. I can share it with my children and they learn about the bad things in the world without learning too much about evil (a delicate balance, but I lean toward realistic pollyannism, the audacity of hope, and all that).

This new book is a collaboration with Anthony Horton, a homeless subway artist. The challenge? Here's what the Imagine Atrium post says:
How do you tell the story of a life that starts something like this?
I was born to people who didn’t want me and so they gave me away. But I guess the people they gave me to didn’t want me either. No one wanted me. That’s why I ended up on the streets alone and uneducated. I couldn’t read or write. I didn’t know anything and the whole world knew it.
This is the voice of Anthony Horton. Born in 1968, Anthony is a homeless artist who lived underneath New York City. If you want to see his work, you’ll have to walk along the tunnel walls in the darkest parts of the transit system.

The drawings look lovely and I already know that Youme's work is cool, so I have high hopes for this one. Check it out.