“Goodnight, Boone,” with its rustic colored pencil
illustrations, creates a scene of a small bear under his Appalachian State University blanket,
drifting off to sleep amidst a hound dog, his dad playing his guitar, “candy that came from Mast”
and “skis that go so fast.”
The book is written by Yozette “Yogi” Collins and Marlis Jennings and illustrated by Ania Ziolkowski. It is a localized version of “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, the classic children's book in which a pajamaed bunny sighs goodnight to a green bedroom's “bears” and “chairs,” “kittens” and “mittens.”
“Goodnight, Boone,” 24 pages long, was published Nov. 15, 2012, by All Star Press. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com, at Black Bear Books, Stick Boy Bread Company and the Dan’l Boone Inn.
Collins grew up in Boone before moving to Washington, D.C., to work as producer and floor manager for NBC, FOX News, NASCAR Media Group and Raycom Sports. She continues to work as freelancer in D.C. and the High Country, stringing together sound bites and writing regional stories.
But when she wrote “Goodnight, Boone,” she was craving a more creative outlet “that was not another house project.”
“Knowing what it's like to not live here, I wanted to make something that people could take home as a souvenir, something they could read with their kids and remember,” she said. “I had received ‘Goodnight Moon’ as a baby shower present and reworked the cadence and structure of it. It's amazing to me that it was written so long ago and is so simple, yet it has withstood and still captures kids when they're not easy to capture these days.”
She and her aunt, Jennings, brainstormed all the facets of Boone that impress visitors and residents alike with the town's easy charm and reverenced nature.
“She (Jennings) immediately came up with the line, 'Goodnight candy that came from Mast,'” Collins said. “She was very involved in it, but didn't know I was publishing it or putting her name on it until I gave it to her for Christmas.”
Ziolkowski is studying art education at Appalachian State University and worked at an afterschool program with Collins' young daughter.
“My daughter would come home with these great doodles and drawings that she and Ania had done together,” Collins said. “She has a really broad application of art and did a couple of different renderings of the book. She'd never illustrated before, but was really excited about it.”
Collins and Ziolkowski drove around Boone taking photographs to reference for the book's drawings.
“Goodnight, Boone” was published at the same time as a similar book, “Goodnight Boone,” by resident Michelle Bolick her daughter, Blair B. Proffi. Bolick and Proffi's book was inspired by “Goodnight NOLA,” written by Cornell P. Landry as a tribute to unique New Orleans sights.
The difference between the two is “Goodnight, Boone” is framed within a wood cabin and refers to general Watauga sights. “Goodnight Boone” illustrates specific Boone scenes – Horn in the West, Doc Watson and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“It was amazingly coincidental,” Collins said.
When she stumbled upon her book idea five years ago, she told “maybe five people. The day I read the article on ‘Goodnight Boone’ is when my shipment of books were coming in.”
The ample response to “Goodnight, Boone” has spread to Washington, D.C., Florida and Massachusetts, where readers have purchased books online.
After a challenge of reformatting the book's original design and the years between idea and evidence, Collins remembered, “My mom learned how to bead with the Black Seed Indians in Montana. She said they always placed a mistake bead in there on purpose, because nothing is perfect, only God.”
She feels that the book has taken the same route, “colorful and quirky – like this town everyone loves so much.”
For more information, email Collins at (firstname.lastname@example.org)