“You shouldn’t do that…
Instead, you should
climb this tree
and dangle upside-down with me.
It’s so much fun,
don’t you agree?
This is the way that
you should be.
You should, you should!”
. . . begins a new book written by Morgan author Virginia “Ginny” Tilby. Growing up the youngest of six children to parents Francis and Della Tilby, Ginny often looked up to her older siblings. With nine years between her and the next child, she frequently used her quiet time as a quest to learn to draw like them. During her time at Morgan High School, she made sure to sign up for every art class offered to help progress that goal and is grateful for the encouragement and teaching she received while there. In fact, she credits much of her success to her high school art teacher Mrs. Joanne Corpany.
Telling of a time she was a bit intimidated, Ginny shares, “She [Mrs. Corpany] told me once, ‘Well of course you’re scared. New things are always scary!’ She believed I could do this long before I did and often spoke to me futuristically about seeing my ‘beautiful illustrations in children’s books someday.’” Taking this encouragement to heart, Ginny gained the confidence needed to become Morgan High’s Visual Arts Sterling Scholar. With her hard work and amazing talent she went on to win runner-up at region.
After her graduation in 2003, it was no surprise that Ginny wanted to continue her art education. Starting out at Utah State University and then moving to Weber State University, she is now studying at Utah Valley University majoring in illustration. Having had the desire to someday write and illustrate a children’s book, she knew just what she wanted to do when she was required to work on a senior capstone project prior to her graduation with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
School projects often mean tight deadlines, and so she set out and was able to write the first draft in less than two months. She is now in the process or reading, re-reading, critiquing, editing and revising. Ginny got her big break last summer after attending WIFYR-a conference for writers and illustrators for young readers. In addition to the wisdom she gleaned from editors and agents speaking at the conference, each attendee was able to have their work looked at by publishers. In less than a week, Ginny was contacted by Christopher Robbins from Familius Publishing with an offer to publish her debut book.
Her work titled “You Should, You Should” is not only a charming and entertaining story, but one set to teach important life skills. Good books influence a broad audience regardless of their genre. Ginny describes the book as “a story about a fearful, people-pleasing character who learns in the face of peer pressure to assert himself, appreciate his differences, set boundaries, and reveal his own identity.”
She chose to use a hippopotamus for the main character as hippos appear large and awkward. Throughout the story Hippo’s friends exert their influence on him regarding various aspects of his life—food choices, how to walk, dance, sing, and even what to wear. The compliant hippo readily foregoes his own choices in favor of doing what pleases others or in doing what they believe he should do. Eventually Hippo gains the strength to chart his own course. It is after he shows his true interests and talents that he discovers that his friends like him even more for being himself.
Ginny desires to write books that can “be used both at home, in the classroom and also in a child therapy setting.” Her idea is to teach important life skills and principles in a “playful, non-preachy way.” Excited with her new book, she is looking forward to working on many of the other stories and ideas she has brewing in her head.
In addition to her up-and-coming book, she also has a children’s story app that can be purchased on i-Tunes called Kitty Wants. A little different than a regular e-book, a story app is interactive and by touching different objects, readers will discover fun surprises.
While her book does not go to print until Oct. 15, those wanting a sneak peak will be able to purchase the e-book in May or can go on Amazon.com right now and pre-order a hardcover copy. To check out more of this talented young author/illustrator’s works, check out her blog at http://ginnyillustration.blogspot.com or stop by the Orem City Fire Station to admire a mural designed by Ginny herself.