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18 November 2012 @ 07:05 pm
Demi at Hicklebee's  
When I was a kid, I loved picture books. No surprises there, right? One of my favorite book illustrators was a lady named Demi, who drew these beautiful Chinese and Indian fairy tales with beautiful details and lots of rich gold ink. Reading her books always made me feel special, because they were so lovely and precious.

Yesterday, Demi was signing her books at Hicklebee's, a local children's bookstore. I can't remember how I found out about her appearance, but I wanted to see her because I've been a fan of her art for over twenty years now. But I had to work, and there was no one to cover the shift, so the only thing I could do was take a slightly longer lunch break and get a quick glimpse of the artist.

Over the past decade, I guess she's been doing a lot of biographies of famous figures ranging from Jesus Christ and Krishna to Zheng He and Gandhi. When I got there, she read from one of her new books, "The Great Voyages of Zheng He", and answered questions from the kids in the audience. I would have loved to ask her about her technique, and how she picks her subjects, but I figured it would be rude to bore the kids with those kinds of details.

I had just enough time to get her to autograph a book before I left. When I got to the front of the line, she seemed puzzled. Why would an adult be there? First she asked me if I was a teacher. Then she asked my husband, who had come to join me in case I had to leave before getting to the front of the line, if he was a teacher. I told her no, I just really liked her art, she sorta gave me this look like, "But my books are for children!" I mentioned that my favorite book as a child had been "The Hallowed Horse" and she said, "Oh, that was a long time ago!" and then looked to the next person in line.

So I guess that meeting didn't go as wonderfully as it might have done. But it was pretty neat to see Demi in person, and check out her new books. After all, I grew out of her target audience in the early 1990s, so I had no idea how prolific she'd been in the following decades. I'm glad I managed to slip out of work long enough to see her and get a copy of "The Great Voyages of Zheng He" signed by its author.