It's been a year since David H. Jewell passed away on July 15, 2010. David illustrated three of my books in the If I Were a Farmer series. On July 19, 2010, I posted a short tribute to him, which is available to read in the archives.
Since Nancy and I daily sell books containing my stories and his illustrations, and since customers often ask questions about the illustrators, we talk of David often, lamenting his passing but expressing our good luck at meeting him and having him complete illustrations for three of my books.
David loved little kids and I often hoped he could come along with Nancy and me when we performed our show, but either he was busy working or "busy" recovering from an episode with his diabetes.
When I sign books for little kids, I often think of how David would've enjoyed doing so, but never have I wished him present at a book signing more than when Nancy and I were at the Lonsdale Library last Tuesday evening.
A very friendly, astute girl of about 9-11 years named Angela bought my book If I Were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure and brought it to me to sign as I was talking to some audience members. Even though she seemed to be in a hurry, she politely waited before she asked me to sign it. I recognized her as the child who had asked some pretty good questions immediately after my show. She asked me to address the autograph to her and her two younger brothers.
She seemed to really embrace the book and I thought how David would have been gratified at how much kids like the story and the illustrations. The character of Nancy in the story was the first thing David and I had worked on together. I loved the way he drew her as an assertive little girl who could tackle anything. Everyone, especially little girls, seem to love her spunk. Little boys seem to like her too.
On the drive home, my wife Nancy explained to me that Angela and her younger brother came on their own. She purchased the book with her own money by handing Nancy a five dollar bill, two one dollar bills, and then three hands full of change, each containing a dollar. She apologized for all the change, which included many pennies, but she had needed to use it to get the ten dollars for the book. Nancy had explained the change was not a problem, thanked her for the purchase, and sent her over to me to get the book signed. Before she left to get the book signed, she asked for another free sticker for her younger brother who could not come to the show.
The whole episode with Angela would have made David's day, as it did mine and Nancy's.