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July 23, 2014

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Author Jonathan Graves, left, and illustrator Gail Haley, right, receive North Carolina Society of Historians’ awards from NCSH president Elizabeth Bray Sherrill at a ceremony in Mooresville Oct. 13. Submitted photo

Originally published: 2012-10-25 09:50:08
Last modified: 2012-10-25 09:50:08

Historians salute author, illustrator

For some readers, Jonathan Graves’ illustrated story “Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie” is a wonderful children’s tale of adventure set in Blowing Rock.

The North Carolina Society of Historians sees the book as a fine contribution toward the “collection, preservation and perpetuation of North Carolina’s rich history.”

As such, the North Carolina Society of Historians awarded Graves and book illustrator Gail Haley with awards at the society’s annual awards banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Mooresville on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Graves was awarded the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award for “Isabella Propeller.”

NCSH judges commented on “Isabella Propeller”: “This book will appeal to very young children due to the wonderful, colorful, detailed illustrations on every page; however, the story will appeal to children probably 3-years-old on up due to the entertaining and enchanting story. It has been ‘magically’ written about a little girl called Isabella who meets a ‘Wind Lady.’ Wearing a beanie her dog found for her in the attic, she goes to town and sits beside an old lady on a bench. From here there’s a red feather, a visit to an ice cream shop, a trip to the Blowing Rock, meeting with a red-tailed hawk, a mystery to be solved, and magic to be shared. A child will easily become wrapped up in the storyline; and, they will be left with one question: Where will Isabella Propeller go next?”

“The award was a pleasant surprise,” Graves said. “We were really glad to be recognized by the North Carolina Society of Historians in this way. As you know, much of the book was inspired by the legend of the Blowing Rock and the history of our region. So, to be recognized for that is very gratifying.”

Haley won the North Carolina Society of Historians’ Paul Green Multimedia Award for her artwork in the book.

The judges said of Haley’s work: “A delightful array of remarkable illustrations accompany the exciting text in ‘Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie.’ The artist has paid a lot of attention to the story to create the appropriate artwork. Her depiction of Isabella is carried through from subject to subject, expression to expression; and, she has made Isabella come alive in the imaginations of the readers. She has taken an individual created in the mind of another and breathed life into her through her exceptional talent. Everything is perfect in every frame — shape, color, shading, proportion. We give this entry a unanimous A+.”

During the NCSH annual awards banquet, awards were given out in numerous categories such as museums, newspaper articles, magazine articles, journals, books and historian of the year.

The North Carolina Society of Historians was established in December 1941 for the purpose of collecting, preserving and perpetuating North Carolina’s rich history, and for recognizing those persons who fulfill the society’s objectives.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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