A 2001 graduate of West Hall High School is getting national attention with her series of imaginative, illustrated children’s books geared at igniting young imaginations.
Emily Winfield Martin’s most recent storybook, “The Wonderful Things You Will Be,” published by Random House, is listed at No. 8 on the New York Times list of Bestselling Children’s Picture Books.
Now a resident of Portland, Ore., Martin said books “have always been important escape hatches, friends, cabinets of curiosity and messages-in-bottles for me.”
Martin says “The Wonderful Things You Will Be” is a book “about wondering, about possibilities, about what a tiny person (or any person) might grow up to be.”
Her publisher’s website describes Martin’s newest project as a book “that celebrates the dreams, acceptance and love that parents have for their children ... now and forever.”
She described her decision to become a writer-illustrator as follows: “I was learning to paint while reading modernist novels and falling in love with movies in college and my artwork evolved into something extremely narrative — I’ve always thought of them as illustrations for imaginary stories. Most of my favorite music is very narrative, etc.
“Basically, I really like stories. I write them, sometimes, mostly for children. Writing is another net, like pictures, films, songs, to capture flighty ideas and hold them in place with letters and spaces.”
She enjoys being a children’s author because “children appreciate details and strangeness in such a beautiful way.”
Her newest children’s book is geared toward children ages 3-7.
Gaining national acclaim, she said, has been a surreal experience.
“It still seems very strange, but in a wonderful way,” Martin said. “When you send things out into the world, you hope they will be liked. To see that it is being liked is lovely.”