Author and artist Jon Hoefer did just that when he decided to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of crafting a children's book that would be appropriate for all ages and also would raise money for and awareness about organ donation.
Jon and I spoke about everything from Avery's real-life journey to the multilayered symbolism and beautiful illustration in his book, "Avery's Gift." We also spoke about the spiritual aspects of writing something so moving and important.
Little Avery Toole was born with a rare and serious heart problem that required multiple surgeries (beginning at 5 days old). Her medical condition left Avery pale, weak, and unable to play with friends. She also suffered a number of heart attacks and had repeated hospitalizations.
When Avery was just 6 years old, she received the lifesaving gift of a donor heart from a little boy, Dalton Lawyer, who was fatally injured in an accident. This was possible due to Dalton's parents making the decision to donate his organs. In doing so, they saved Avery and 3 other children.
Today, Avery is a healthy, happy teen.
Since her heart transplant, Avery and Dalton's families have met and become very close. In the midst of dealing with a heartbreaking tragedy, Dalton's family's found the strength to make a decision that gave Avery the gift of life.
In this YouTube Video, you can hear how Dalton's father was able to hear his son's heart beat in little Avery's chest.
"Avery's Gift" is a children's book that is inspired by this true story.
In the book, Avery wakes up to find she has lost her colors. Guided by a fox, Avery sets out on quest to find her colors, and in doing so, embarks on a journey through a magical landscape where eventually, she and Dalton meet and become close friends. It is here that Dalton gives Avery a beautiful heart-shaped necklace -- a most precious gift.
Ultimately, Avery regains her colors and is forever changed by her friendship with Dalton.
"Avery's Gift" is a multilayered and magical tale, and with each purchase of the book on Amazon, $1 will be given to Donate Life America.
This book weaves in multilayered and spiritual symbolism and appropriate for children of all ages.
I hope you will give the interview a listen and consider buying this wonderful and deeply meaningful book.
Jonathan Hoefer is an author, illustrator, art director, and has been involved with the printing and publishing industry for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Visual and Performing Arts program, majoring in illustration. His illustrative work has been published in national newspapers and magazines. Avery’s Gift is Hoefer’s fifth publication, his fourth book working with Mascot Books.