“Wake” A children’s book written and illustrated by a TNSM alumni family 

Shawn Dougherty (longtime teacher at TNSM) and her daughter (TNSM alumna) Leah Busch Rockel (’96) worked together to create a children’s book that wakens the reader’s sensory experience of the outdoors through both words and imagery. It is not surprising to learn that this creative mother-daughter duo dreamed up such a beautiful book. In fact, the inspiration behind Wake originally came from one of Shawn’s dreams.

In addition to teaching at The New School for decades, Shawn has also taught the Young Women Writing for (a) Change, where she helped young women find their voice and express themselves through poetry and prose. When Shawn talked with book publisher and TNSM alumni parent John Hutton with blue manatee press, they instantly knew the best illustrator for the job, Leah Busch Rockel.

Leah is the director of Brazee Street Studios and has illustrated numerous children’s books with blue manatee press. Leah was thrilled to work with her mother on this project saying, “I’m so proud of my mom. She had an idea and made it happen.” Leah used images in the pages that are special to their family, including her great grandmother’s favorite moonflowers, their family home, and the main character bears a likeness to her nephews.

The pair hopes that readers of every age will also see themselves in the book as they experience the multi-sensory depiction of nature and recall their own special memories of being outdoors, connecting with the Earth.

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