I Would Like to Share a Book

One of the writing projects I’ve been involved with was helping to finish a children’s book, begun by my sister, Sarah Linquist, who died in June 2010 of ovarian cancer.

Sarah was primarily a painter—a muralist and also a scenic artist who created scenery for major productions at the St. Louis Municipal Opera.  Her chemotherapy soon robbed her of fine motor skills in her hands, so necessary for a painter.  Instead of giving up, she began to cut up bits of paper, little by little creating a diorama of a paper jungle–five feet long and three feet wide—in her studio.  Meanwhile, she was thinking through the plot of a Christmas story, featuring a little wooden doll named Dolly who would wander through this and other lands Sarah planned to create.  Soon she was gathering materials for Metal Land, Wood Land, Desolation Land, and others.  The book began to take shape.  It was called Onward is Best: A Christmas Journey.

Sarah died with her landscapes completed but her manuscript unfinished.  She left behind a son and a daughter, both college-aged, a loving husband, and three grieving sisters.  Together we decided to finish Sarah’s book.  The three sisters—writers all—began work on revising the existing narrative and giving it all the life we knew Sarah would have wanted.  Her husband, children, and good friends worked with a photographer to capture Sarah’s settings for Dolly’s many adventures.  I am proud to say that my daughter, Carrie, was brought in as graphic artist to assemble all the pieces.

If you would like to read about it, go to http://onwardisbest.com/.

I know that many of you have already bought a copy of this book.  It would mean a lot to me to hear about your experiences reading it and sharing it with those you love.  Christmas is coming!

12 responses to “I Would Like to Share a Book

  1. It’s a beautiful book. A keepsake. I thought about sending it to a niece, but was afraid she is too young to appreciate it. So, I’m hoarding it.

    • I know what you mean. I once sent one of my nieces some really cute Christmas bell earrings that my mother wore every Christmas. My guess is that they are long gone now. Someday she will be ready. Hoard away!

  2. A fun book. Great illustrations. Will be a great gift.

  3. I am the proud owner of a numbered edition. The artistry contained in this labor of love is outstanding and the story inspires me. The back story is what actually touched my heart the most. Ann, you and your sisters showed us all what deep love and respect you share for Sarah. “Onward” blessed my friends and I last Christams as it will for all my holiday seasons to come.

  4. May there be many many more, P.

  5. Carrie (Ann's daughter)

    Hi all! Hi Mom! I saw your post about the book and just wanted to chime in. I spent most of 2011 working on the graphic design for Onward is Best. It was an amazing experience getting to work with Aunt Sarah’s creations and spending time working with the family. I hope you all enjoy it!

  6. My family and I love Onward is Best, A Christmas Journey. We own collector’s edition number 368, which came straight from the Wrapping Room, blessed with love, enchantment and even pieces of ribbon. Onward is more than a book; Onward is an event. When we bring its magic from the bookcase, we savor the gold-lined pages and art. Then we travel with Dolly through the hole in the night….A beautiful journey where together we learn onward truly is best. “Now listen very carefully, Do exactly as I say. Shout your query quite clearly.You will soon be shown the way.”

  7. Great quote. Pamela. It took me a while to realize that so many of the steps in the book relate to experience my sister was going through in her illness. The most telling one is the part where Dolly finds the message, “Ask for help.” I’m sure Desolation Land–the one she did last– was also very symbolic of her struggle. I find new things each time I read the book. Thanks for your note!

  8. Ann, I was so excited to get a message about “Onward Is Best” numbred additions still being available at a special price. I will certainly ge getting another or two. They make great gifts.

    • I agree. If ever there was a meaningful gift to a youngster or, better yet, a grandparent–this is it. I read mine again just recently, and found it to be so pleasing. Thanks for your note. It warms my heart.

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