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Why is there a Gnome in Grow Home, Little Seeds?

Why is this Gnome in a book about seeds?

When you read the tale of the adventurous seeds of the Leon Levy Preserve, Grow Home, Little Seeds,  you learn all about real plants of the Bahamas. The fabulous illustrations by Monique Carroll bring the seedlings to life in a fun way.

When you turn to the Acknowledgements to learn who helped bring the book to life, you see a gnome. Yes, a gnome in blue clothes with a red hat. Why is there a gnome in Grow Home, Little Seeds?

When the author, Elaine A. Powers, researched the plants of the Leon Levy Preserve, she asked the Bahamas National Trust Botanist, Dr. Ethan Freid, what his favorite plants were. 

Dr. Ethan Friede, Botanist at
the Leon Levy Preserve 
Photo Credit: Melissa Abdo

He replied that they were all his favorites.

 “Well, which plants would you like to see in the book?” Elaine asked. He couldn’t decide, but there was something that he did want: A gnome.

Dr. Freid provided valuable information to Elaine as the book was written, and she decided he deserved his gnome. She learned that Dr. Freid had dressed up as a gnome for Halloween and there were photographs! Thus, the gnome who appears in the book—who looks a lot like Dr. Freid—honors him for his work to conserve the plants of the Bahamas.

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BOOK PRODUCTION: Illustrations, by Elaine A. Powers, Author

People are often pleasantly surprised to meet the author of books they or their children love, and it’s fun for the author, too. One of the questions I’m often asked is if I also do the illustrations.

Heavens, no! I’m not nearly talented enough to create the wonderful pictures in my books. So, how do I find great artists?

If you are planning to publish with a traditional publisher, they select the illustrator—unless you are a combination author/illustrator, as some very talented folks are. Since I am an independent publisher, I choose my illustrators.

A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding the waves in a red sneaker

I first used a friend who was a graphic artist to bring Curtis Curly-tail to life in Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers. Unfortunately, Art Winstanley was unable to continue as my illustrator, so I looked for someone I hoped could copy Art’s style.

I was fortunate to find Tucson artist, Anderson Atlas. Anderson and I continue to collaborate on many projects. He is a talented artist and video-maker and is responsible for bringing Curtis to life at my You-Tube channel.A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding on the back of a Hutia, a rodent

Then, one of my co-workers asked me if I had any work that I could throw his son’s way. His son, Nick Thorpe, had just graduated with a BFA and was looking for work. I needed book covers for my “Don’t” series about animals of the Sonoran Desert, and he delivered bold, vibrant illustrations that really help sell the stories.


A book cover, with a Native American 'feel,' and a painting of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake








Out-of-Country Illustrators

a book cover of a nature preserve, where seeds are cultivated. Seeds are drawn as cute charactersFor my books based outside the U.S., I use illustrators located where the books are set. This is beneficial in several ways. Local artists bring accuracy and their cultural feel to the artwork. And, people are more likely to purchase a book that has been illustrated by a famous local artist. The Internet is wonderful for finding these talented individuals.

How do I pay the illustrators?  I prefer to pay them for my sole ownership of their work. That way, they get their money and don’t have to wait for the book to make a profit. Some artists request a percentage of the profits once the amount they were paid upfront is reached, but the record keeping for a publisher of my size would be prohibitive. I love to support the creative people in my life and do agree that the artists can show their work owned by me to further their professional development.

Many modern illustrations are digital media. This allows for the easy transfer of images around the world. Changes can be readily made, as well. Need a tree replaced? A minute later, the new one is there on the page. It’s truly wonderful. Art images tend to be large files and can be delivered through services such as Dropbox.

Thanks for reading today at Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My! Questions about illustrations? Contact me at