PERHAM — Some childhood dreams are supposed to come true.
Perham author Darla Medeck-Johnson made sure hers would, when she penned the very first sentence in her children’s picture book, ‘Dewdrops to Raindrops’.
Published in 2021, this book is now finished, and Medeck-Johnson took the time to read it to an audience at the Willow Bookstore during Turtle Fest.
“Reading to children is something that (my husband and I) did as parents,” she said, when asked why it was important to read stories to children. “And now, as grandparents, we read to kids all the time. It really helps teach them words and how to read — which is definitely a life skill.”
Medeck-Johnson’s love of reading, teaching and science played a role in the idea that later became “Dewdrops to Raindrops”. He follows Sappy, a small red oak tree who is very thirsty. Along the way, Sappy meets a new friend, a little dewdrop, who teaches him about nature and helps him drink water.
While this book teaches children how plants grow, Medeck-Johnson also wanted to incorporate lessons about relationships and social situations through a fun story. At one point, Sappy gets upset with his new dewdrop friend, but he works through the emotional conflict alongside the readers. The illustrations in the book also incorporate different ways that Sappy correlates with her emotions, so children can learn about body language as well.
“My illustrator and I, my daughter-in-law Kassie Pesch-Johnson, took and incorporated some of Sappy’s positions when he gets angry and when he’s sad and down,” Medeck-Johnson explained, showing a drawing of Sappy upset . , her leaves looking like angry hands on her hips. “So hopefully it will also create the opportunity for children to be observant and to watch and say, ‘Oh, he looks sad’, just by looking and not having a scowl on his face. or a tear or something.”
That’s not the only way Medeck-Johnson and Pesch-Johnson have worked together to incorporate ways for kids to improve their observation skills in a fun way. On the back of the book, there are illustrations of animals, each labeled with names. These animals are found throughout the book’s illustrations. This way, when kids revisit the story, they can browse through the pictures and find the animals.
“I love science, biology. I love being outdoors. I love exploring. I love learning,” Medeck-Johnson explained. “And so all of those things made me want to incorporate an educational element into (‘Dewdrops to Raindrops’).”
She has also always loved teaching and, as a master gardener, she loves nature and plants. Everything about her book is a passion project. Along with her love for science and education, she has also wanted to be an author since she was a child herself.
“(“Dewdrops to Raindrops”) is just an extension of what I love to do and what I have to share,” Medeck-Johnson explained. “(Sharing this story) is awesome. I love it. I can’t even describe what it’s like to finally hold in my hand a book I’ve been thinking about for many years.”
“Dewdrops to Raindrops” may be his first book, but it probably won’t be his last. She has a few more stories up her sleeve and is currently working on a sequel to The Adventures of Sappy, with a second book set to roll out in the fall. Those who attended the reading of her book during Turtle Fest even got to hear a little taste, as she read the beginning of her manuscript aloud.
As a local author, she also likes to keep her book sales local. “Dewdrops to Raindrops” won’t be found on Amazon, and that’s because Medeck-Johnson wants to support local bookstores and the local economy.
“My husband and I are very community-oriented,” she explained. “So that’s really one of the driving forces behind it. Also, I personally needed to see (the publication) through to completion myself and not let someone else take decisions about the book over which I have no control.”
“Dewdrops to Raindrops” can be found at Willow’s bookshop on Perham’s high street and other local bookshops. It can also be purchased from the Medeck-Johnson site, dmjohnsonauthor.net. If any teachers are interested in visiting her for a guest reading, she also encourages them to visit her site.
“Support local businesses and buy local,” Medeck-Johnson encouraged the community in the Perham area. “I think it’s so important to support local bookstores.”
For more information on her upcoming books, you can follow her website blog or find her on Instagram @dmjohnsonauthor and Facebook @darlamedeckjohnsonauthor.