Book's profits donated to charity
By J. Manny Guendulay
The (Shreveport) Times
Anne Dier Wilson is not only sharing her stories in her new book "Rainbows and Promises," but she also is giving away the book's profits.
The book consists of 30 stories of Wilson's personal experiences as a child, a mother and a grandmother and they show the relation to Bible verses. The stories are accompanied with 10 watercolor illustrations by recently discovered local artist Stacy Davis. Wilson said she felt compelled to write the book after spending time teaching Bible studies to children and enjoying the experience.
"One day I did a children's seminar after the scheduled teacher did not show up. I did it extemporaneously and it was just great," she said. "After that, I felt like God just laid it on my hands to write this book."
While writing and working on the book, Wilson learned all she needed to know about how to publish her book. Now that is finished and she is selling out of copies, she said she is pleased.
"It feels wonderful to have it finished," Wilson said. "It took me 14 months to get it published and I got exactly what I wanted."
During her publishing process, Wilson was further inspired to do one more extraordinary thing. She decided to give all of her proceeds to a local organization. She did not have to think about whom she would donate the book's profits to because the answer was simple. Wilson has been working with Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal for the past six years, first in the office while organizing a Women's Group and then in the field teaching Bible studies at the Adult Renewal Academy. Wilson said her urge to start working at the academy came after she realized she could actually help make a difference in a specific neighborhood.
"I wanted to start working in the field to reach out and help the people of Cedar Grove because I drive past the neighborhood on a regular basis and I wanted to help them. For years, I would pray for the people in the neighborhood," Wilson said. "Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal has given me an outlet to help personally. I think I have gotten more out of it than I have put in to it."
David Westerfield, SBCR director of communications, is happy to see the book is doing well and sees the impact it can make for the organization.
"We are thrilled by the success of Anne's book," he said. "And we are elated that she chose to donate all of the money from the book sales to Community Renewal. People like Anne Wilson, who has also been an active volunteer at our Adult Renewal Academy, are the ones who keep us going."
Wilson's work at the center also helped her find her illustrator for the book. She met Stacy Davis while he was in her bible studies class at the Adult Renewal Academy and working to gain focus in his life as well as earn his GED. A lifelong doodler, Davis' drawings were noticed one day as someone looked through his notes in class. Word quickly traveled through the organization that he was a talented artist and soon Wilson commissioned him to do the illustrations in the book.
"Stacy and I had such a good time," Wilson recalled. "I would sit with him most of the time and watch him work, and I was just amazed with what he drew."
Davis is proud to have his illustration in the book because he sees the opportunities to share the meanings the book presents with children.
"I was interested in working on the book because it has been a while since anyone has done a book like this. It is not just for children, but it is also for the adults who read the book to their child," he said. "I had a good time working with her."
Now the two can be found doing the occasional book signing and sharing the book with others. The staff at SBCR is thrilled to see large turnouts for the signings and happy to see the book has changed Davis' life as well.
"It's been such a joy to watch Stacy Davis signing books with Anne and meeting people he would have never known," Westerfield said. "He was walking the streets of Cedar Grove a few years ago with no purpose in his life and now he is a published artist who is taking commissions for more work. That's tremendously inspiring for all of us."