Every year illustrator/author, Tomie dePaola, holds a contest in which the winner receives an all expense paid trip to the New York SCBWI conference. This year’s assignment was for a black and white illustration for one of three books. I chose the following passage from the Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings:
It was not his own voice that called. It was a boy’s voice. Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever.
Its a coming of age story in which a boy is forced to grow up by killing the symbol of his youth, a pet yearling. My rite of passage was less dramatic. There was no blood or running away however, it was equally as traumatic. I was eight, probably closer to nine. Saturday morning cartoons were cool, but man Sundays… Sundays were the best. My friend James and I would bring our favorite toys to church and play all day together. During the week, we would coordinate by phone which toy to bring. Sometimes the agonizing decision would take us all the way to Saturday night. One Sunday, James and I were playing with our micro–machine cars in the church pews. One of the older kids in their cool Z-Cavaracci pants asked, “Aren’t you guys too old to be playing with toys?” I remember the shame that washed over me. James and I never brought our toys to church again.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
-1 Corinthians 13: 11