So essentially, this story I am writing is about a 12-year-old boy who saves a very important and highly unique collection of children’s literature illustrations from a flood that devastates the city of Cedar Rapids in June of 2008.
The flood is real. The collection is real (and was spared from the flood.) The boy and the story are not.
It’s been an interesting journey so far (and I am just now starting the actual writing!) working on a young adult fiction book based on real things and events.
And while so much of what I am writing is a fictionalized story, there are important lessons floating around in there.
For one, I’ve come to realize that when it floods people save what means the most to them…pets, photos, a special toy, whatever it might be. For my main character Noah, the collection of children’s book illustrations at the Cedar Rapids Public Library is what he cares about most during the disaster. Perhaps Noah’s story would be different if his house had been flooded…he’d be worried about his personal possessions.
But we see Noah risk his life to save something for the greater good…to preserve a piece of history…to save art. It’s a bold act for a 12-year-old boy. And my hope is that it can send a message…or messages really. That there’s value in history and collections and art. That sometimes we don’t know our own strength. That there’s hope among the destruction.
You’ll have to give “Evelyn’s Drawings Can’t Swim” a read when it’s ready and let me know if you think I’ve done my part.