Put Into Print

West High School’s new iJag teacher, Carolina Kaufman, has a hidden talent that is starting to show.

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As students walk into temporary 4, filled with posters and color, they may not know that this vibrant room is the classroom of a published children’s book illustrator. The author, Lynn Carriker, saw Kaufman’s drawings and couldn’t resist. Carriker recruited Kaufman to illustrate for a poem that she had written. Excited for a new experience, Kaufman agreed.

“I wanted her to illustrate that [book] because I felt as though her illustrations kind of went beyond an ordinary illustration to a deeper sense of what was being said. And that’s why I love her art.” Carriker said.

I wanted her to illustrate that [book] because I felt as though her illustrations kind of went beyond an ordinary illustration to a deeper sense of what was being said. And that’s why I love her art.”

— Lynn Carriker

After losing connection for a few years, Kaufman and Carrieker reconnected and finally finished their work. Ten years after the initial idea, the illustration for the poem was finally complete and the book “Hope” was published. Being delighted with her work, Carriker asked Kaufman to illustrate for her new book, “Where Did You Go, Uncle Marty?’.

“When she got the book [“Where Did You Go, Uncle Marty?”] accepted by the publishers she was like ‘I’m really excited, I hope you’ll do this’ and the publishers were willing to use their illustrators but she was like ‘no no no I really want Carolina’” Kaufman said.

“Where Did You Go, Uncle Marty?” is a book about children coping with death. In this story a child loses their uncle and tries to learn to cope. The ability to depict what happens after death that isn’t specific to any one culture is key. Luckily the author of the book, Lynn Carriker, found Carolina Kaufman to illustrate. Kaufman has experienced many different cultures and considers that as a large part of who she is.

“I grew up in a very multicultural sort of environment. I grew up in Puerto Rico, I was adopted from Colombia, my parents are American and my mother’s Jewish, my dad is Episcopalian. You know the whole mix of sort of cultures have influenced the way sort of I do art or interpret the world.” Kaufman said.

The illustration process started about a year ago, and is aimed to be done sometime this winter. “Where Did You Go, Uncle Marty?” is aimed to be published around next February. Proceeds of this book will go to Jeff’s Place, an organization that works with grieving children. Proceeds will also go to the Pedi Pal program at Good Shepherd Community Care Hospice, which works with children that have life limiting illnesses.

In the future Carriker is hoping to publish more books, with Kaufman as her illustrator.

“I think she is a truly inspired artist, I think she has a strong faith in something greater than herself that helps guide her, and it’s certainly shown in her work.” Carriker said.

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