JENNINGS – Grandmother and granddaughter duo Glenetta Shuey and Audrey Durio have teamed up to publish an illustrated children’s book about two cousins ââwho are unique and different, but who love each other so much.
Written by Shuey and illustrated by Durio, “The Not So Perfect Pair” is based on childhood memories of Durio and his cousin, Abby. The two were born six weeks apart and were raised almost like twins, but with totally different personalities, Shuey said.
âAs far back as I can remember, they were so different,â said Shuey. âThey looked different – Audrey is blonde, blue eyed, and Abby has really blue eyes, almost navy blue, she has darker hair and is rambunctious. From the moment I remember Abby was busy always everything and she didn’t apologizeâ¦ no big trouble, just mischief.
Shuey hopes the story shows others that differences don’t matter and that differences between people are the key to forming meaningful relationships.
âWe want people to know it’s not about looking alike,â she said. “It’s about the fact that you can accept people for who they are and love them for what they are without trying to change them.”
The book is the first of Shuey, a native of Lake Arthur and a retired English, speaking and drama teacher at South Cameron High School, Lake Arthur High School, McNeese State University and Sowela. Technical Community College.
The book was easy to write as it was all based on real-life accounts of the couple growing up and messing around, she said.
âIt goes into their present because I’m talking about how they learned from each other,â Shuey said. âAudrey basically learned to be fearless by being with Abby. As she grew older, she faced her fears. She took the stage at the Strand Theater for one of our plays and did a great job. It was difficult for her because she is shy of Abby and she taught Abby humility, kindness and compassion.
The couple are still close and attend the same college, but don’t follow in the same footsteps, Shuey said.
An 18-year-old freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Durio is majoring in visual arts with a concentration in computer arts and animation. 18-year-old Abby is also attending UL where she is majoring in marine biology.
Durio said it was a great experience to have been able to work on a project with his âGrandmaâ and to illustrate part of his childhood.
âReading the story she wrote and illustrating photos of me and Abby growing up was a bit nostalgic,â she said. âI like the personal attachment I have for this book, which I don’t feel for the other books I have illustrated. It is a project, not only for the public, but also for my family.
She hopes the book will help young children build relationships with their siblings and cousins.
Durio said she would like to do future projects with her grandmother and others in her life. She and her friends also discussed collaborating on future projects.
Durio spent a year working on the illustrations for the book, which she says came almost naturally to her.
âI used different memories and photos of me and Abby from our childhood to inspire me,â she said.
The cover of the book is based on her favorite photo of Abby and her playing in the mud at their grandmother’s house.
“I remember how I felt when she called me and told me her idea,” recalls Durio. “I almost cried because I thought it was so cute, and it meant a lot to us.”
Durio illustrated her first book, “Mo and Bo Have a Crawfish Boil”, while she was in first grade at Hathaway High School and is currently working on illustrations for her third book.
âThe last book I illustrated was written by a girl my age who lives in Los Angeles,â said Durio. âIt was very different for me. With the last two books I illustrated, the illustrative designs and characters were completely left to my own ideas. For this one, I was given notes on what I needed to do It was definitely different for me, but I would say it was a good experience learning to conform to what others expect of me for a commission.
Durio said the illustrations are a great addition to text in a book and that she appreciates feedback to them.
âIt’s a great way to grab attention, especially for kids,â she said. âI have never felt more satisfaction than hearing my mother’s students express how much they love to watch my work. Art media has always caught my attention and inspired me when I was a kid, so I love having the opportunity to be that inspiration for others.
“The Not-So-Perfect Pair” is available for Jennings at My Sister’s Flowers, the Zigler Art Museum and the Old Magnolia Gift Shop, and Jolie Fleur By Meg in Lake Arthur.