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Co-authors of children’s book come to Steamboat Springs

If You Go…

What: "Eli and Mort’s Epic Adventures" Call for Illustrators

When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3


Where: Depot Art Center

Children, ages 7 to 17, can become a published illustrator in this local children’s book. Pencil and paper will be provided. Mort the moose will also be at the open house event.

— Witnessing a ski town through the eyes of a child is a perspective that often goes unseen.

But through the adventures of two outdoor-loving characters — Eli, a 5-year-old boy, and his best friend Mort, the red moose — that scene comes to life on the pages of a popular children’s book series.

Authors Elyssa Pallai and Ken Nager created “Eli and Mort’s Epic Adventures,” which explores the childlike excitement of life in a ski town.



If You Go…

What: “Eli and Mort’s Epic Adventures” Call for Illustrators

When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3




Where: Depot Art Center

Children, ages 7 to 17, can become a published illustrator in this local children’s book. Pencil and paper will be provided. Mort the moose will also be at the open house event.

“We wanted to bring something to the table that explored what local really meant,” said Pallai. “We also wanted to have the characters talk about everything from catching big air to local restaurants, trees on a ski run, etc.”

Written in a A to Z format, the book features ski towns like Beaver Creek and Vail with background images created by kids ranging in age from 7 to 17 who grew up in those areas.

This Saturday, kids in Steamboat Springs will have the chance to show readers all over the world their hometown and favorite ski runs. Partnering with the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, Nager and Pallai will host a “Call for Illustrators” event from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Depot Art Center.

In order for an illustration to be selected, kids must choose from 30 images representing Steamboat Springs that Pallai and Nager provide. About two or three kids will be competing on each image and must create their own rendition of it from memory. From the time kids pick up their image, they will have two weeks to complete it and mail it back to the publishing company, Resort Books.

“I think it’s a really special opportunity for the local kids,” said Haley Ballentine, SSAC events and programs coordinator. “I think it’s a really unique idea, and we can all gain some insight by looking at things in the way kids do.”

Throughout the series, Eli and Mort — the characters created by artist Eduardo Paj — have met athletes at the 2015 World Championship and learned the local lingo like when Eli goes snowboarding and “catches huge air” and Mort bellows an enthusiastic, “Booyah!”

Pallai said inspiration for the characters comes from their three boys, how they talk and ignite their adventurous spirit. Currently, the series, which began in 2014. Prior to writing each book, the family will go to various ski towns for research, spending a majority of their time talking to locals.

“We have already spent four days in Steamboat to find out what people love about visiting or living in Steamboat,” Pallai said. “We are really exited about it because there is so much history in the town. It really is the all-American ski town.”

Originally, the idea for kids to illustrate the background images was a fun idea Nager and Pallai came up with but had no idea where it would lead.

“The most amazing part of it is that wild card — to see what kids come back with,” Pallai said about the artwork.

About 30 to 35 kids will get the opportunity to have their work published in the book.

“We will have kids who come up to us and say, ‘You made my dream come true,’” Pallai said. “Their brains are just untainted, and they come up with some of the most creative and beautiful drawings we never thought of.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1


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