One day I received a phone call from Meadow Shadowhawk, a Native American woman who explained that she had a children’s book about a gigantic bird that lives in their suburban home that was seeking a publisher. I explained how our submission process worked and that we don’t publish children’s books. A few days later she called again, explaining a bit more about her family and her son and the awards that he had won, including one from Dr. Jane Goodall. Meadow explained that Dr. Jane would be willing to contribute a foreword.
I was intrigued enough to google the bird, which was a rhea, a South American flightless bird that is mostly raised for meat in the U.S. Their family had rescued one and she began sending me photos of it in their living room. By chance, I was heading to South America later that week so I told her to email me and that I would think about it.
By the time I returned to Portland, with even more photos of the rhea, Amica, in my inbox, I realized what bugged me about an illustrated children’s book: It would be lost in the end matter that the story was real. I decided that it would make a lot of sense to do a photo book of Amica because he is quite idyllic and the story was so interesting and unusual. The family and Dr. Jane agreed and a near-miss was turned into a very exciting book prospect for this November. I hope that you can enjoy these photos of Amica as much as I do!