One of the generous awards and opportunities offered through the Society of Children’s Book Writiers and Illustrators is the Tomie dePaola Award.
This years prompt was to depict the main character from the popular tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The excerpt that Tomie gave us was from a version by Philip Pullman of the well known Grimm fairy tale.
Mr. dePaola challenged submitters not to fall to generic depictions that were too ordinary or “designed”, like what’s already been seen in media including TV and video games.
I don’t know if my depiction steered clear of that description as no comments were given. All I know is that upon reading Philip Pullman’s excerpt my mind went right to a visual of my daughter who has Down Syndrome. All that he had described was definately her character. Everyone who meets her is taken in by her. And yes, especially her Grandmother who loves her with a special affection, as what grandparent wouldn’t treasure a grandchild who, even now in her adult years remains playful,loving and with a child-like wonderous innocence.
And therein lies the danger. For all the years that I have known and read this famous fairy tale never have I seen it as raw and foreboding until I had come to this place in my life, and having read Mr. Pullman’s words:
“she didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.”
To those who have children, and especially those offspring with special needs, you know the gut wrenching implications that such trust and innocence can have.
No matter how often you try to alert and warn of possible dangers, sometimes just the familiarity of old highschool sports wear can jog them into thinking that the people they’re meeting are old highschool friends.
It’s unfortunate that there are so many Big Bad Wolves out there in the forest.
This is my submission to the contest and the Tomie dePaola Award Gallery.
It is a gouache painting on Linen-look paper.
Please check out some of the other wonderful submissions to the contest at the SCBWI Tomie dePaola Award Gallery site.