Library will welcome Jayanne Sindt
Ryan Summerlin June 27, 2014
Park City-based author Jayanne Sindt has a thing for polar bears.
They were her favorite animals when she was a child. She had stuffed animals and would always go see them at the zoo.
The fascination with these creatures stuck with her all of these years to the point of near obsession.
"I have always been attracted to polar bears all my life," Sindt said during an interview with The Park Record. "In 2004, when the doom and gloom news came out that polar bears would be gone by 2050, I immediately booked my husband and myself on a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, to go out in the Tundra Buggies to see the polar bears."
Sindt will share her love of polar bears on Monday, June 30, when the Summit County Library, Kimball Junction Branch, will host an interactive reading and book signing of her new children’s chapter book, "True North: an Arctic Fable."
The free event will run from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
"I’ll ask for volunteers to do part of the reading and we’ll read excerpts from the book and then we’ll talk about polar bears, which is my favorite thing to do," Sindt said. "We’ll leave some time for book signing and questions at the end."
In addition to the reading, signing and questions, the event will feature an opportunity drawing for a polar bear photo that was taken by Sindt’s husband, James.
"He was also the photographer that took the picture for the book’s cover," Sindt said.
Lastly, artist Julia Wythe, who drew the pictures in the book, will also be in attendance.
"It’s going to be fun," Sindt said.
"True North: an Arctic Fable" is the second of Sindt’s books that deal with polar bears.
Her first, "Mato Finds True North," is a picture book that was published in 2010.
"It’s about a bear named Mato that finds out who he really is," Sindt said. " ‘True North’ is his story in chapter form."
The author actually began writing "True North" before she had the idea for "Mato."
"I was writing the book and asked my friend Jim Hawks if he had done any drawings of polar bears," Sindt explained. "He did some cute ones, so I asked him if he would do some more for a picture book."
Sindt wrote "Mato" as a poem while she was getting her hair done at a local salon in a just a few minutes, but "True North" took a lot longer to write.
"I started it back in 2005," Sindt said. "I started it because of a friend of mine, Cami Kidder, who is a documentary filmmaker."
Kidder comes to Park City from Los Angeles every year for the Sundance Film Festival.
"She was out the year when there were a lot of films about penguins," Sindt said. "I kept asking her, ‘What about the polar bears?’ and she said, ‘Well, that’s your job.’"
Sindt considers "True North" a fable.
"The reason is because all the polar bears talk," she said. "The story is driven by dialogue and all the characters, including a few of the secondary characters, have a backstory."
The talking animals are just a couple of the fanciful elements to the book.
"I tried to stay true to the environment of where actual polar bears live," Sindt said. "So, there are no penguins in this story, because they live on opposite ends of the world.
"We did, however, throw some magic dust into the story," she said. "We have Spirit Bear, who was modeled after someone from my own life. With my friend’s permission, I developed the character."
Sindt felt she has been led through the writing process thanks to a sweat-lodge ceremony she participated in a few years ago.
"I asked for guidance, and I’ve considered polar bears as being guides for me," she said. "I usually see a polar bear when I’m looking for a sign as to which direction in my life I’m supposed to go."
One of these times was when she and her husband moved to Park City from Vermont.
"I stumbling across [photographer] Thomas Mangelsen’s Gallery and he had all these photos of polar bears on display," Sindt said. "I actually have characters in ‘True North’ that were inspired by his photos."
To see the story come to life in a chapter book was cathartic for the writer.
"It was a huge process to go from poem to chapter book to get the whole story out, and I had a lot of help," she said. "Friends edited the story and helped flesh out the story. One of my friends, Jeannie Evans-Boniecki, is an English professor and gave me some guidelines and wrote the foreword for the book. That was an honor."
The Summit County Library, Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 W. Ute Blvd., will host a free book reading and signing event with author Jayanne Sindt on Monday, June 30, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.thesummitcountylibrary.org.