Ellen: The little girl who found her voice


about the book:

Most people take for granted the ability to speak and to quite literally “say” what’s on their mind. It becomes second nature. For a small number of people, it is neither easy nor automatic. Communication is a constant struggle. Artist Ellen Skidmore is one of those people.

Skidmore tells about her difficulties growing up with a severe speech impediment in a children’s book called ELLEN: The Little Girl Who Found Her Voice. The book is illustrated by 28 paintings in her distinctive style – full of luminous color and delicate but whimsical subject matter.

“This project was simultaneously one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges for me as an artist,” said Skidmore. “Telling my story and, perhaps more importantly, deciding how best to illustrate it, flooded me with memories and brought me to a greater understanding of who I am as a person.”

An exhibition of Ellen Skidmore paintings that illustrate the 60-page book opened in Aspen, CO, on August 22 in advance of the national launch of the book. Skidmore hopes parents will read the book to their young children to help them accept who they are – especially if they are considered to be “different” from other children – and encourage them to follow their passions.

Events for children and families kicked-off the art exhibition and book launch when it opened. The text of the book was mounted below each painting., which were placed in the same sequence they appeared in the book. Children old enough to read, walked through the exhibit to read the book and experience the artwork full scale; others were read to by their parent as they looked at the paintings.  A cocktail reception with the artist was held later in the day.