Saturday, April 25, 2020

new book - A child's introduction to the wonders of space


I think I finished this book in January, but it took awhile to get the photography stuff set up and then to figure out how to use my camera. For a photographer's daughter, and someone who loves pinhole photography, I am certainly bad at using cameras. This time I made notes.


(All these images enlarge) Jim and his younger brother Alan were close when they were kids. Jim has memories of making Alan laugh when he started crying. As they got older, they took different life paths, seeing each other mostly for family gatherings and holiday dinners. Alan died suddenly at 51. When we cleaned out his apartment, we were sad to realize we didn’t know him well.


A year after Alan died their mom went into residential care, so Jim and I cleaned out their childhood home. Among many other things, we found a copy of The Golden Book of Astronomy that had drawings and scribbles in it. Jim has his childhood copy, which is worn but not marked up, so this must have been Alan’s copy. Jim supposes that Alan scribbled in his book so their mom got Jim another copy, and the marked up book went to Alan.


I saved a lot of stuff when we cleared up, mostly old books and comic books. Most of the books were added to a pile of old books I keep for collage. They were mostly geology texts and some field guides. When I was making sketch books and didn’t have enough book board on hand, I thought I would use covers from some of my the old books. I don't normally make altered books, so I thought the covers wouldn't be needed.


After cutting down the cover of The Golden Book of Astronomy there was a horizontal piece left over that contained the title. Things lie ignored on my work table until I feel I must pick up. Seeing the scrap sitting there day after day made me think the long shape with the title would make a very appealing cover for a book. From there I made pages to fit the cover. The obvious content was the marks Alan made in the book and his old comics. Preserving these childhood marks makes me feel more connected to Alan. Of course I had to add a lot of collage and my own marks to the pages, but the scribbles are all Jim and Alan's.


In this last page it looks like Jim wrote his name and Alan's for Alan to trace over. Under the flap on the right hand page is just a shortened version of this blog post. It ends with "Good bye Alan - we'll look for you on the dark side of the moon."

5 comments:

jeanne germani said...

That's such a nice idea for a book Judith...I've kept things from my childhood as well as they are special. I really love the comment on the last page that Jim made and the fact that he wrote Alan's name for him to trace over. I really love that particular format for a book...the longish stretched out landscape cover. I only have one brother...Alan...

Judith Hoffman said...

Thank you Jeanne, I'm glad you like the book. I was pleased with the long format too. Those childhood treasures are so important.

Donna Otter said...

This is lovely!

Donna Otter said...

This is lovely!

Judith Hoffman said...

Thank you Donna!