Gay Bogard and Lainie O’Neil, a creative mother-daughter team with deep Maine roots, have launched a picture book that tells the tale of a young girl from a boisterous family longing to see the world beyond her island, and the lonely seagull without a flock whom she befriends.
Gracie and Sullivan features the colorful textile art illustrations of O’Neil and takes place on Eagle Island, where the real Gracie — Bogard’s mother and O’Neil’s grandmother — grew up. Her memories of everyday life on the island, where she was the daughter of the lighthouse keeper and one of seven siblings, are the story’s inspiration.
“Mom and I always loved hearing my grandmother Gracie’s stories, and we wanted to keep those quintessential Maine memories alive, and at the same time, tell an engrossing tale that children would enjoy,” says O’Neil.
Bogard, a former home economics teacher in the Union and Waldoboro schools, adds that the pair enjoyed researching Eagle Island history, including the one-room schoolhouse, daily mailboat, and grazing sheep of Hard Head. “We started with these wonderful stories from my mother’s childhood, and it was such fun to flesh them out with details that would round out the story and enrich Lainie’s lovely artwork.”
Bogard is now retired from teaching and resides with her husband Ray in Hope. O’Neil and her husband Glenn divide their time between Hancock and Hillsborough, North Carolina. Gracie and Sullivan is the duo’s first book together. It was printed and published in Hancock, and is available for purchase at Elaineoneil.com or via email inquiry to email@example.com.