By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
Matter is neither created nor destroyed.
This scientific principle is the basis of Sue Darius’ first book, “Was I a Dinosaur?” which she wrote and illustrated for children from 3 to 7 years old.
Darius, 67, from Centralia, raised two sons who loved dinosaurs. She knew her sons weren’t alone in this fascination with long-extinct giants.
After retiring from his job in food quality assurance, Darius turned his lifelong hobby of painting into his full-time job. His work is exhibited at the Rectangle Gallery in Centralia. Most of his art is created with oil paints.
At the start of the pandemic, while locked up at home, Darius had free time to focus on her art. She had a story idea floating around in her head that would eventually become her first book.
“This idea that everything on the planet is recycled, just like all of our water never leaves the planet, right? Everything is recycled. So the atoms in our body may have been used before,” Darius said.
Therefore, she said, the atoms that make up a person may once have made up a dinosaur.
She said she felt the world had become more polarized in recent years and thought people focused too much on the differences rather than their similarities.
“I wanted to bring out the connectivity that we have. Because we all share the same essence,” she said. “That’s what I wanted young children to discover. To help give some kind of hope to the world.
Using dinosaurs to introduce the concept made the book child-friendly, she said. “Was I a dinosaur? is written in poem form and illustrated with Darius’ own watercolors.
“For a while I was considering writing not as a poem, but it got too wordy,” Darius said. “I don’t consider myself a poet at all, but this poem started to emerge and then I thought, ‘Wow, this has a message. I think the message is important. I want to take it out there. What can I do?'”
Each page was meticulously painted by Darius as she suffered from a shoulder injury that required her to stand and paint at a low table with her arm pointing downward.
“It took a while, but I had the time,” she said.
The book is now complete and she has received a shipment of copies.
Starting last Friday, “Was I a Dinosaur? became available at the Rectangle Gallery, HubBub, and Flourish Cafe in Centralia. It will also soon be available from Book ‘n’ Brush in Chehalis. Copies cost $18.99.
More information about the book and local sellers can be found at https://www.suedarius.com/, or at Was I a Dinosaur? The Facebook page.