Olivier Dunrea

I was born in rural Virginia when Virginia was best known as a farming state. From as far back as I can remember, I have loved and longed to have farm animals. Not real ones, because those were all around me, but miniature toy farm animals that I could play with on the floor and hide. Hiding was a big part of my Southern childhood. And because I liked to hide, naturally I liked to hide things I owned. Therefore, the smaller the better, because things that were small were easier to hide. Every year I was given a few small farm animals. Some were made out of metal and carefully painted. Some were carved out of wood; those I loved best. But most were made of molded plastic. Well, when you play with animals, you make up stories, and that's what I did make up stories about animals.
My family members were not readers. We were poor and living "on the wrong side of the tracks" way out in the country. My mother married when she was fourteen years old. My granddaddy, her father, spent eight years in the first grade and never went beyond that level of schooling. If anyone in my family made it to the eighth grade, it was considered a real accomplishment.
While no one in my family read, they did tell stories. It seemed the bigger and better the story, the more attention a person got. I was determined to be the best storyteller. But I had a tremendous obstacle -- I was painfully shy. We all were. We kids barely spoke. We spent most of our time hiding or playing together timidly. If


It's Snowing!

Olivier Dunrea; Illustrated by the author

Baby is fast asleep when Mama spies the first flakes of his first snowfall. “It’s snowing!” she sings. “Baby, it’s snowing!” Mama bundles Baby in thick,...