Kate Mullaly goes from ‘Land of AND’ to ‘Land of OR’
Local author Katie Mullaly had a specific goal in mind when she published her first children’s book, "Land of OR," five months ago.
"I wanted to create an atlas for living," Mullaly said during an interview with The Park Record. "The goal of the book is to provide children with tools for mindful living, and I see this whole big set — ‘Land of OR,’ ‘Land of AND,’ ‘Land of ‘WHY,’ ‘Land of BECAUSE. — so when kids read the books or when parents read the books to their kids, the messages transcend through the families. As the kids grow, they are able to maintain and use these messages and tools and they can refer to these books if they need help."
A few days ago, Mullaly released her new book in the series, "Land of AND," which is available at Dolly’s Bookstore, Atticus Coffee, Books and Teahouse, J.W. Allen & Sons at Redstone, Cole Sports, Samak Smokehouse, St. Regis and Montage at Deer Valley and Weller’s Bookworks at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. The book can also be purchased by visiting http://www.landofchildrensbooks.com.
Mullaly will be at Dolly’s Bookstore on Saturday, Dec. 19, to sign the book from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
"I’ll have copies of ‘Land of OR’ there as well, so people can get a set," she said.
"Land of AND" is about different ways people can include others, according to Mullaly.
"[Readers] find they can do this, whether it’s listening to others’ stories, or acknowledging them or seeing that even though someone seems big and scary, they are not," she said. "I created different creatures that went along with each different type of inclusion."
Mullaly enjoyed going from the "Land of OR" to the "Land of AND."
"’Land of OR’ was a very specific journey and in the book, the reader would go from this point to this point to this point," she said. "’Land of AND,’ on the other hand, is based on a river trip. I wanted a situation or setting that was more organic and flowing to fit the concept of inclusion. So as readers go along, I wanted them to feel as if they were inviting the other characters to join their travels. So, the river fit the flow metaphorically and physically."
When Mullaly sits down to start writing one of her books, she has the name and concept ready, but not the setting.
"When I started writing ‘Land of AND,’ I couldn’t help of thinking about the setting as a river," she said. "So, I came up with the idea that the readers would get into this bland boat and as they read on, the boat and the pictures get more colorful and the characters become more fun.
"It seemed like a good metaphor for life," she said. "When you include more, you have more fun. This is about accepting and embracing."
As with "Land of OR," Mullaly worked with artist Toby Allen, who is based in the United Kingdom.
"It’s funny because we have yet to talk in person," Mullaly said. "All of the things we have done with these two books have been done via the Internet."
One of the characters from "Land of OR,’ the mischievous Yabbut who tries to thwart the journey with questions, returns in "Land of AND," but it’s of a different species, Mullaly said.
"When we started doing illustrations for ‘Land of AND’ we discussed if we were going to keep the Yabbuts," Mullaly said. "Well, we decided to create a slew of them. So the Yabbut in ‘Land of AND’ is different than the one in ‘Land of OR.’"
Another constant in "Land of AND" is a map, much like the one in "Land of OR."
"I always wanted to do the maps and in both books, you will see a map inside the front cover and inside the back," Mullaly said. "The front map has no place, names or characters, but the one in the back is completely filled in. That way, when people finish the book they can see that they completed the journey.
"I’ve always loved maps and kids love maps," she said. "So why not add one more level to these books to give a visual journey of where the readers have been."
The maps serve an additional purpose.
"They can look at the maps and then go back and look in the book to see where these places are and that kind of creates the foundation for the travel guides that are online for all of the books," Mullaly said. "The maps give different discussion points in the journey and a fun way to keep the story going."
The online guides are found by visiting http://www.landofchildrensbooks.com .
Another visual touch in the art is more personal for Mullaly.
"The main character wears a hat and it’s a reference to my childhood," she said.
"I grew up in Vernal, so my family spent every weekend on the river and that hat is my father’s river hat."
Mullaly is already working on her new book, "Land of HOW."
"This book is about problem solving and the reader will travel through a land to get from point A to point B," she said.
Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., will host a book signing for Katie Mullaly, author of "Land of AND" and "Land of OR," on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.landofchildrensbooks.com or http://www.dollysbookstore.com.
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“My tools and reference material to paint the actual painting is much the same today as when I first painted a map in 1987.”