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St. Marguerite student illustrates book

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Artist Samantha R. Flynn, 12, Ogdensburg, has already illustrated her first book.

The sixth-grader at St. Marguerite D’Youville Academy teamed up with her art teacher, literary agent and author Mary Sue Seymour, Canton, to create a children’s book, A Friend in a Storm.

“I am very excited,” Ms. Flynn said. “I was so honored and surprised when she asked me.”

The story, for children ages two through eight, is about an unlikely friendship between a squirrel and an owl. Squirrel relies on Owl’s kindness when he locks himself out of his home during a storm.

“I thought it would make a great story to use animals to set an example of how to show kindness,” Ms. Seymour.

The pair is holding a book signing at St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore from 1 to 3 p.m. today.

No matter if she is writing a book or teaching a class, Ms. Seymour said kindness is a lesson she always tries to instill in children. Ms. Seymour, a Christian, said she is continually inspired by Jesus’ preaching of kindness.

“Life isn’t easy,” Ms. Seymour said. “We should always be kind to people, especially since you don’t know what kind of day they have had. They may be smiling on the outside, but you don’t know about what is going on at home.”

Ms. Seymour said she asked Ms. Flynn to illustrate the book because she was always impressed with her drawings and paintings.

“She is a perfectionist,” Ms. Seymour said. “She redrew some of the illustrations four times. That requires a lot of patience.”

“I was shocked and amazed when I saw her illustrations,” she said. “The colors are vibrant, expressive and creative. They exceeded my wildest expectations.”

The book, which took over a year to write, illustrate and publish, was printed in April.

“It turned out better than I thought it was going to,” she said. “The painting was the most fun. The last two pages were my favorite. I liked how Squirrel’s house turned out.”

Aimee M. Flynn, Ms. Flynn’s mother, said her daughter has always had a passion for art.

“Art has always been one of her favorite things,” Mrs. Flynn said. “She’s always had a pencil in her hand—even as a very little girl when she was three or four,” Ms. Flynn. “Being teacher, I see kids drawing all the time, but she had really developed the talent early on and she has blossomed ever since.”

Ms. Flynn, who has also designed back drop murals for her school concerts for two years and participated in both local and state wide art competitions, said she would like to pursue art as a career.

“I enjoy drawing the most,” she said. “I like to see what I can do and to surprise myself. It can also be very relaxing.”

Friend in a Storm is now for sale at the St. Lawrence University Brewer Bookstore and on Amazon.com for $9.95.

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