Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Research! Can you help me?

For me, research is one of the most enjoyable parts of illustrating a children's book. And I spent most of my day doing just that.

FARMER is a book set on a farm — duh. The family, I'm assuming by some of the language is German immigrants. Other clues — wood burning stoves, horse-drawn plows — tell me the story takes place, circa 1930 to 1940, or before.

Given all that, I figured, a Texas farm was out. I mean, Texas is for...Texans, not Germans. But I was wrong. After spending some time on Google, I discovered that Fredericksburg — about an hours drive east of Austin — is a historic and picturesque city settled by German immigrant families. Many of the old farm homes have been preserved and converted into bed & breakfasts or guest houses. And some of the farms now serve as museums. Perfect! Road trip!

Also, there's the Amana Colonies, about two hours east of Des Moines, Iowa. I'd love to take a trip back home for research, but that's probably out. Anyway, this is a whole new subject for me and I'm lovin' it!

If you can think of any picture books with a similar setting — German, farm, early 1900s — please let me know. I can use all the help I can get.


Kim said...

Ah, the Amana Colonies! I used to love going there when I lived in Iowa City. In fact, I'll be driving right by there Friday afternoon on my way to a conference!

Heather said...

Hi Don,
A little closer to you is New Braunfels and Gruene, just past San Marcos. Gruene has a fun arts & crafts market day the 3rd weekend of the month. Your family might like that. Gruene is a historic district, lots of great old buildings. (I probably spelled all the towns wrong.)

Looking forward to hearing your presentation this weekend!

rindambyers said...

I don't have info to help, but that is utterly FASCINATING that you found a spot of history tucked away like that you didn't know about!