The illustration above is one of Mary Anne's illustrations created for the book "Sam's Birthmark" Written by Martha Griffin about a little boy who feels different because he has a port-wine stain birthmark. The book strives to show that each child has things that make them different, and that those are the very things that make them special.
Mary Anne began doing water color sketches for a family Christmas Card 15 years ago when her 90 year old mother moved in with her, to let the family know the latest news about her mom through pictures instead of boring Christmas letters. It was such a hit that the tradition continued year after year, always reflecting family news like a new dog in the family, Christmas caroling, cooking, decorating the tree, grandma having a walker and then wheel chair, etc. in a whimsical, poignant, and sometimes funny way. The card is now so anxiously anticipated by friends and family that Mary Anne has to start thinking in early fall how to reflect the spirit of family life with her daughter and the 3 dogs. Even though, sadly now without grandma and Dauphne, the chocolate doxxie.
After discovering how to publish 3 or 4 books at a time as needed on My Publisher, Mary Anne started a tradition of her hand drawn books as gifts for special friend's children, as thank you gifts for vacations together, and as memorial albums for trips to Itally etc. instead of photo albums.
During the slow time after 2008, Mary Anne had time to do a special book for a friend's child as a Christmas gift, showing whimsical drawings of the child having fun doing things he especially enjoys.
Over lunch, Mary Anne showed Martha the book about Mason as Martha was talking about her frustration over not being able to find children's books that addressed issues like her son's port-wine stain birthmark in a positive way. Martha was mesmerized by the book about Mason, and the childlike watercolor drawings.
The "what if" light bulb went on for both women. Martha dreamed of telling a story that young children could read that would help them understand how having a birthmark or anything that made them seem different could be seen to be a very positive thing that made them not only different but very special! Mary Anne started dreaming about how to draw all the scenes Martha was describing. The next year was one of serendipity and collaboration as Martha wrote the story, and Mary Anne illustrated it.
The book, Sam's Birthmark has now been sold in almost every country in the world and all across the United States, and embraced by throngs that have been affected by the port-wine stain birthmark. Now it only makes sense to take the same story to all children to show how all their differences make them special through this very special little story.
Please consider "Sam's Birthmark" book as gifts for all the SPECIAL children in your life! Go to www.samsbirthmark.com to order your copies for the holiday!