Inspired by family

Illustrator Debora Johnson and author Laurie Muirhead (from left) look over their first children’s book, 'Lullaby Lilly.' (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Local poet writes first children’s book, recruits painter sister to illustrate

When Prince Albert poet Laurie Muirhead visited family in Minnesota in 2008 she met her niece Lilly for the first time and came away inspired by the “spirited … crackerjack of a kid.”

“I was impressed by her ability to bring cheer and her want for life,” Muirhead said.

“She wanted to do everything and she’s nine-months-old. She could walk, she could talk, so when I got home I thought, ‘I’m going to write her a book.’”

The result of that writing is Lullaby Lilly, Muirhead’s first children’s book. She said when writing for children the goal should be to “write up” to the young audience.

“You want to write up because you don’t want to assume that they aren’t going to understand. You want to write up (so) they’re learning new words, bigger words or asking questions about the writing,” Muirhead said.

“There are lots of big words in it but it’s meant to have the big words. It’s got some rhyme in it and hopefully some poetic influences.”

The story is illustrated by Muirhead’s sister Debora Johnson, who created 22 20-by-24-inch paintings that were then shrunken down so they would fit in the book.

“I was really, very new, brand new to all of this but it worked out alright. It’s good but it took years because it was the journey of it all,” Johnson said.

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Go to go:

What? Book reading and launch: Lullaby Lilly by Laurie Muirhead and Debora Johnson

Where? Reading: John M. Cuelenaere Public Library

Launch: Prince Albert Arts Centre

When? Reading: April 15 at 2 p.m.

Launch April 20 at 7 p.m.

Admission? Free