Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 6, 2013

Illustrator to sign copies of new book today, Saturday

By SHEILA SELMAN
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Illustrator Karen Gruntman will be signing copies of her new book, “Grandma’s Shoes,” at Shutterhugs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. today during First Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Only about 120 books will be sold. If the books don’t run out Saturday, they will be available for purchase at Shutterhugs.

Gruntman, a Goshen resident and retired art teacher from West Goshen Elementary School, illustrated the book for author Pat Fisher.

Fisher lives in Illinois, but is not stranger to the area. Her husband has a farm 1 mile west of Mongo in LaGrange County.

“Grandma’s Shoes,” which Fisher says may be her only published book, is being submitted to the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators for a Spark Award. The Spark Award honors alternative publishing.

Gruntman said she met Fisher while participating in a reading camp in Indiana. Fisher is very active in getting grants for reading camps.

“That’s how we met,” Gruntman said.

A few years later, Fisher contacted Gruntman and wanted her to illustrate this book. So a year and a half ago, Gruntman started illustrating “Grandma’s Shoes.”

This is Gruntman’s sixth time illustrating a book. Her first books was “The Lonely Christmas Tree,” published in 1995.

Fisher said she got the idea for the book back in the 1980s. “I put it on the shelf until I met Karen,” she said.

“My grandparents live on a little farm southeast of Huntertown,” Fisher said. As a child, Fisher spent a lot of time with them and the one thing that stuck in her memory was that her grandma only had two pairs of shoes. The black ones were her “good” shoes that she wore out. Her brown shoes were the “working” shoes she wore around the farm.

To illustrate this story, Gruntman did an enormous amount of research on the period, Fisher said, adding, “She did a good job.”

Gruntman’s illustrations focus on those shoes and all of the farm activities. The shoes hurt grandma’s feet, so it’s a good day when the postman delivers a new pair of shoes, Fisher said.

The book was written for children, but thinks children ages 6 and older would enjoy it more.

Kids can see a different way of life, since the main characters are Indiana farm people at the end of the Great Depression. “They didn’t have the same stuff we do,” Fisher said. “They placed a lot of value on things that mattered.”

She added, “It’s kind of a memory trip for adults.”

Follow Sheila Selman on Twitter at sselman_TGN