By Meg Dickens 12/21/2018
Local residents may have seen mother-daughter team Linda and Amber Icenhour’s children’s book The Adventures of Jam and Jelly at the Johnson County Public Library or The Johnson County Center for the Arts.
What started as an idle doodle inspired by an artist Amber admired became a success. Now The Adventures of Jam and Jelly has earned the seal of approval of Mom’s Choice Award (MCA) a national honor that evaluates quality products and services for children in more than 55 countries.
“To know that other people found our book to be worth reading is an honor. Moms picked this book, not just industry people. It was a mom like me,” said Linda.
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Consumers were onboard from the beginning. The Adventures of Jam and Jelly’s Kickstarter funding surpassed its original goal, which made hardcover copies possible. The Midwest Book Review describes the work as “charming” and possessing “firm appeal for younger readers as well as older ones.” Amazon users give The Adventures of Jam and Jelly 5 out of 5 stars.
Amazon user Oak Knoll said, “As a reading specialist, I love to find new books to inspire young children to love books. Linda Icenhour and her daughter have created a beautiful book that introduces new words to young readers and takes them on a wonderful adventure. I highly recommend this book for preschoolers.”
The book is by no means the first work Linda and Amber. The writer-illustrator team collaborated on other titles such as Joey’s Big Imagination, Joey’s Big Imagination Blastoff, the upcoming title Scarecrows on Main and more. Currently, Linda is working on collaboration with illustrator Samuel Calderon titled, Dad’s Magic Mower.
Amber and Calderon are collaborating on a work provisionally titled Max and Roxie: A Mouse in the House.
“It’s convenient to work directly with the writer,” Amber said. “It is very advantageous for changes.”
The duo brainstorms ideas bringing different viewpoints. Their unique partnership allows for immediate feedback. The Icenhours have very few creative disagreements. Under publishing company Golden Bell’s advice, Amber redrew the illustrations for The Adventures of Jam and Jelly from digital to “traditional style.” Linda did not wholeheartedly agree with this suggestion. The process put back production slightly but Amber said, “It was definitely worth the wait.”
For those who wish to follow in their footsteps,
the Icenhours have some advice. Linda suggests that authors look for a good
publisher. Linda and Amber are both pleased with Golden Bell, whose representatives were very personable and even stayed in Mountain
City for periods to work
with the mom and daughter team.
Amber suggests that illustrators get their work out there. Use any platform possible to promote your work.