See the process for yourself! Our new children's Christmas book, Evy the Evergreen Finds His Shine, was written by staff members of the Christmas Carnival of Lights.
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Sofia's favorite holiday tradition has always been seeing the dazzling Christmas Lights at her favorite light show. This year at the show, Sofia and her brother Jax meet Evy the Evergreen. A talking pine tree that feels less-than-dazzling compared to the other pine trees around him.
Take a drive through this lovable holiday narrative with Sofia, Jax, and Evy as they teach us how to shine in our own way this Christmas. It’s the friendships we make along the way and believing in ourselves that make us truly dazzling.
The vision for the book all started when a staff member envisioned the telling of a tale that would entirely encapsulate the experience of the Christmas Carnival of Lights.
If you have visited our light show as part of your holiday tradition, you’d know that we already had an Evy the Evergreen. In fact, he moved and talked! We wanted a way to not only explain how Evy ended up in Santa’s Workshop, but to provide a keepsake for families to bring home with them. Welcome to our new and improved mascot, Evy the Evergreen!
The story of Evy the Evergreen Finds His Shine helps kids see the magic of the Christmas Carnival of lights. While Evy made his way through the light show along with Jax and Sophia, it was important to us that the story had a meaningful purpose. The message of the book resonates with all ages. Believe in yourself!
Evy the Evergreen Finds His Shine was written by our Christmas Carnival of Lights staff members. Brainstorming began in January 2021, with the Christmas Carnival of Lights fresh in our minds. Between drafting, editing, developing characters, and illustrations, the book reached completion in September 2021.
Evy the Evergreen
It was really neat to think about the characters individually. When we thought about Evy, we wanted to show that even though others found him to be beautiful with certain decorations or lights, he ultimately needed to feel confident in himself. Sofia was a fun character who always sees the glass half full. Unwavering in her positivity, her spirit is what drives this book. Jax was one of our favorite characters to figure out.
“I have 4 boys of my own and everyone knows "Jax." He's a pesky little sibling who struggles to see the bright side. His pouty looks are just so fun on the pages. I loved how his story had an arc and he really came around to love Evy.”
- Bridget Bender, Daughter & Owner
Writing was fun and stressful at the same time. We started in January with a general outline of the story and then narrowed down the storyline. With more than one writer, the brainstorming sessions allowed them to bounce ideas off of each other when they felt stuck. This operation was a first for both writers , but they ended up bringing unique ideas to the story writing process. How the story evolved through the light show was really fun.
One of our favorite creative days for the book was when the illustrator sent over different versions of what our characters would look like right down to eye shape. We really got to be a part of the creative process through selections and details. For Sofia's character, we got to select her dress style, hair bow, having fur on her boots and facial expressions. Seeing all of the options laid out and choosing was so fun. We had a vision for the style of these characters which made the process so fun. One of our favorite details was putting 8425 on the car license plate (the address of Jellystone Park™ in Caledonia).
The neat thing we never anticipated was how the writing drove what was chosen for the scene (and idea of what would be illustrated), then once the illustration came with all of the beautiful details, some of the text was adjusted because the illustration beautifully described so much without words. There was a lot of reworking text to find the happy medium of what needed to exist in text on the pages.
Will there be a sequel/ series? Oh yes! Sofia, Jax, & Evy will return. Next time we'll be featuring Santa's GIANT Sleigh! Stay tuned!
Meet the Artist Drew Maxwell teaches sequential art and time-based media courses and is the Executive Director of MIAD’s Innovation Center. He is an award-winning illustrator, comic book writer/artist, concept artist, video game devel
oper, and a feature film screenwriter, producer and director. His work is often featured on the cover of magazines and has worldwide distribution through Warner Brothers and Shoreline Entertainment. Drew’s acclaimed webcomic Atomic Five draws inspiration from classic sci-fi movies, cartoons, and old-school action comics. He began teaching at MIAD in 2014 and he loves the excitement students bring into his classroom.
Pssssssst... NEW THIS YEAR!
- 1 general admission car pass (fit up to 8 people!)
- Early Access to our light show (4:30PM-5PM)
- 1 copy of Evy the Evergreen Finds His Shine
- 1 "Evy the Evergreen" bookmark
Gifts will be given at the gate!