As Beaches Episcopal School (BES) students greeted the school year with the goal of turning “readers into leaders,” one alum brought the theme full circle with the publication of a book she illustrated.
Flagler College senior Nancy Harms, who graduated from BES in 2007, credited “God’s perfect timing” with the opportunity to become the illustrator of author Debora Scott’s “The Mission to Save Goodness Garden.” In an interview published in her alma mater’s newsletter, Harms said that she was out taking a walk when she bumped into Scott, her neighbor, who had been proofreading her children’s book. After she’d taken an immediate interest in the story, Scott allowed Harms to read it – and a few months later, after deciding to publish the story, told Harms she was in need of an illustrator.
“It was certainly good that I went out to take a walk on that particular day last summer,” Harms told BES.
Harms attended BES from kindergarten through sixth grade, where she said the school’s art program and computer science classes helped shape her future as a designer. The artist, who currently majors in graphic design, called “The Mission to Save Goodness Garden” an effort between creators – an author and illustrator – in which they both became leaders in their own areas of expertise.
In the story, a tongue-twister reciting hero named Blessed Blueberry embarks on a “mission of mercy” to save Goodness Garden and the Temple of Truelove when they come under attack by the Voice of Evil. Blessed must become a Wisehearted Warrior by meeting other virtues – or Voices of Goodness, as they’re known – to save the garden and its inhabitants.
The finished piece is a colorfully illustrated story of bumbling fruits who take on lives of their own. According to Harms, Scott was so pleased with the outcome of the book that there will likely be another. Should Blessed Blueberry take on a new mission, Harms will embark on another one of her own: working as a published illustrator for the second time.
With her accomplishments, Harms hopes to reiterate the importance of developing reading skills in molding future leaders.
“Reading incites imagination, inspiration, and ingenuity. These are traits that help to make good leaders,” she told her alma mater. “By working together and respecting each other’s ideas, we were able to achieve the final result.”
“The Mission to Save Goodness Garden” was published Sept. 1 and can be found on Amazon in paperback and digital and in Barnes and Noble’s online Nook store.