When we moved to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley we were charmed by the traditional folk art figures made from pumpkins and cornstalks that appear in Kentville during the Harvest Festival. We imagined that these friendly (but kind of spooky) ambassadors for the town might have a secret life at night and so we began to develop a picture book about them. We met with Mayor Dave Corkum and town officials to ask for their blessing and received enthusiastic support. Upon the publication of Pumpkin People in 2008, Mayor Corkum started the annual tradition of a Mayoral reading and book giveaway at Kings County Academy School. (Some students have told the Mayor that Pumpkin People is the first book they have ever owned.) Displays were set up throughout the town that recreated scenes from the book. In addition, the town had banners made with our “Pumpkin People” characters to decorate the main street and one of our characters was adopted as the official town mascot. A life size costume of “Spike” was made and this character appears at major town events throughout the year.
Pumpkin People has become a best seller in local book stores and copies have been purchased by visitors from around the world. We met a group of people from the USA who made Kentville a holiday destination after discovering and purchasing our book online. How great is that?! Local residents are very supportive, sending copies as gifts to friends and relatives who have moved away. It is very heartwarming for us to see a children’s book receive this ongoing attention and love.
Our book also includes a section about how to make your own pumpkin person with cornstalks and pumpkins!
“The Lightburns…use gentle rhymes to guide readers through the otherworldly celebrations as the Pumpkin People sing and dance around bonfires. The illustrations are slightly eerie, sure to send shivers down the spines of young readers.” -Deborah Wiles, Bookworms, Chronicle Herald
“Highly recommended for elementary school classrooms.” Resource Links
Have a look inside: