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Islandport Press signs Artist Scott Kelley


Islandport Press is pleased to announce it has signed Maine artist Scott Kelley and will release his first children’s picture book, titled I Am Birch, this spring.

Scheduled for release in April, the book features an unlikely protagonist—a birch tree that becomes the protector of the forest. The story begins with rumors of a cold darkness spreading through the woods. A widespread panic ensues among the animals, which leaves their forest home in ruins. The birch, however, now just a stump, stays rooted in its cause: to show kindness, humor, and wisdom to the animals and help alleviate their fears.

Caldecott Honor artist and author of Some Writer! Melissa Sweet says of the new book, I Am Birch is a timeless tale for contemporary readers. The art is breathtaking and poignant.”

“Scott’s paintings are utterly unique and compelling,” says Islandport Editorial Director Melissa Kim. “Both his paintings and his writing demonstrate tremendous powers of observation as well as sly humor, and it’s that unusual pairing that made us realize this could be an outstanding picture book, one sure to delight young children and adults alike.”

Many of the paintings included in I Am Birch were part of a show, “Birch,” which was exhibited at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine, in 2017. Kelley had been working on a series of paintings of Wabanaki tribal elders, and another series of animals from the Maine woods. The two fused in his imagination. The story line was inspired by the legends of Gluskap, the heroic and kind-hearted figure of Wabanaki legends.

Kelley is a fine art painter whose work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums. His most recent show, “Loxahatchee Paintings and Drawings,” opened at the John H. Surovek Gallery in Palm Beach in December. Kelley lives on an island off the coast of Maine with his wife and son.

Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information, please call 207-846-3344, visit or email

Author photo by Derek Davis