In 1998, when Emma Mebane was in the first grade at Western Elementary School in Geneva, Illinois, her class got to the spot in the curriculum where they needed to learn shapes. As you might guess, there were kids who learned faster than others, and Emma was not among that faster group. But what she lacked in speed, she more than made up in spirit, humor, and goodwill.
The final product of Emma’s class unit on shapes was her first published book, lovingly colored by hand on lined tablet paper. She titled it, simply, A Book Abot Chaps. In first-grade language, chaps is pronounced shapes. So, this book is about (abot) shapes (chaps) and, with a brush that is stark yet bold and bright, Emma shares her representations of eight different chaps, including the carkol, the dimind, and the scwar.
Several years before Emma’s death in 2011, she found her original Book Abot Chaps – a bit tattered and torn – in one of her mother’s “save” piles. With no pride of authorship, she howled at her own goofs in spelling and presentation and shared the book with others, who were equally amused.
As a tribute to Emma, and in thanking her for showing us how important it is to laugh at ourselves, we wanted to share Emma’s work even more broadly, and we officially published A Book Abot Chaps within just a few weeks of her death. We think Emma probably likes the idea of being an Amazon author on the topic of chaps.
Anyway, meet Emma … and a few of her friends.
Of course, if you really want to get to know Emma, you should read Tomorrow Comes – a beautifully rendered story about Emma by Emma’s mom (Donna).