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Bernard author debuts new picture book


On some days, there’s just not a good word for the way you are feeling. If your socks are sagging and your pants are wrinkled, what do you call it? Maybe you’re feeling like a turtle. Maybe you’re feeling . . . halfway wild. Maine author Laura Freudig explores the connections we have with the animals around and within us in a new picture book called Halfway Wild, to be released this fall from Islandport Press.

Halfway Wild is a poetic and playful picture book that investigates feelings, emotions, and imaginations. It follows one family through the course of a day as they march through meadows like ants, dive to the depths like seals, play hide and seek like fireflies, and chatter like raccoons, until, at last, “. . . when the house is still and all we can hear are the soft, slow breaths of the ones we love, we’re a family of bears.”  Kirkus Reviews says the book is “good both for classroom explorations of metaphors and for inspiring imaginative play.”

The public is invited to join the author to celebrate the book’s release on Tuesday, October 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main St., Southwest Harbor. The evening will include a reading, author Q and A, book sales and signing, family-friendly games and activities, and light refreshments.

Laura Freudig lives in Bernard, on a sunny rise surrounded by woods and a salt marsh on a piece of property that has been in her family for generations, along with her husband, six children, two ducks, fifteen chickens, one dog, and one really wild cat. She has written more than two dozen short essays as well as two books. Her work has been published in The Bar Harbor Times and The Haverhill Gazette, and she has worked at AMC Outdoors and Windswept House Publishers. When she’s not spending time with her children, she enjoys playing the piano and the flute, hiking, drinking strong coffee, and, of course, writing. Naturally, she is an animals lover. “I love small birds, especially chickadees and English robins,” says Freudig. “But my favorite creatures in Halfway Wild are the ants. I love their antennas and their comical, waggling abdomens.”

The ants are the creations of artist Kevin Barry, who began drawing crazy cats and martial artist monkeys on his homework assignments. The award-winning children’s book illustrator now enjoys scratching out stories with elementary students, diving head-first into a great book, and exploring the wilds of New England with his own Halfway Wild family. Barry, who lives in central Massachusetts, is also the illustrator of Schnitzel by Stephanie Shaw.