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Wiggens and Other Wonders

Author-illustrator Leslie McGuirk is using 21st-century technology to create a magical world for kids.

Fun and irresistible characters come alive in Leslie’s Vero Beach studio thanks to her ability to have them telling tales that inspire and educate readers of all ages. From small flip-the-page books to If Rocks Could Sing to the launching of a series of animated interactive children’s books created for an iPad, there seems to be no limit to her imagination.

Fun and irresistible characters come alive in Leslie’s Vero Beach studio thanks to her ability to have them telling tales that inspire and educate readers of all ages. From small flip-the-page books to If Rocks Could Sing to the launching of a series of animated interactive children’s books created for an iPad, there seems to be no limit to her imagination.

It’s a good thing Leslie McGuirk refused to believe it when people kept telling her she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. Something inside told her that one day she would prove them wrong.

She did, and in a big way.

To date Leslie has written and illustrated more than a dozen children’s books that feature characters instilled with their creator’s quirky sense of humor. More than two million copies have had their pages turned by tiny fingers around the world.

Takashimaya, a high-end department store chain in Japan, became so enamored with Leslie’s designs after reading about her in Glamour magazine that they have devoted entire sections to her private collection of more than 800 products, consisting of nature-based images inspired by her work as a global research volunteer for Earthwatch. Leslie’s bright and bold designs can also be seen on the carpeting, fabrics and wallpaper at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

When If Rocks Could Sing, a beach-y twist on an alphabet book, was published last year it was an instant success and Leslie delights in showing off the A- to Z-shaped rocks and their tiny accessories that took 10 years to find. To add to the number of projects she juggles is teaching a workshop called “The Quest for Inspiration” at Rancho La Puerta Spa in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. It’s a passion of hers and the reason is personal.

Read the entire article in the February 2012 issue