I was most honored when she asked me to take her collection of photographs, but I was also a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of it. What do I do with over 65,000 images, some of them still in slides? And, how do I honor such a legacy? As I sorted through her images, I revisited her trip to Hudson Bay from 2011. I was very familiar with the trip, and as I looked at the images again I knew what I had to do with them–a children's book.
It took me months to decide on a story line. Then I ran across a wonderful website, Polar Bear International, and found it full of facts about Polar Bears. The fun facts are interwoven as Bear Facts in the book, accompanying a story about two cubs, Peter and Penny, as mama introduces them to Hudson Bay, their new home for the winter. It is at this location that Penny discovers a new animal, mama calls them Humans. Penny finds herself fascinated by these creatures and just wants to spend her time watching them. Mama is torn between the worry about what the humans may be doing to their home, and the hope that maybe by learning more about her kind, they can find a way to save their home and secure her children's future.
A legacy was the inspiration for the book. But it's the images captured by Joan, that shows us how wonderful these magnificent animals are.
Thank you Joan Silling.