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Kary Gaskill created watercolors for children's book based on excerpt from Galatians

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Kary Gaskill signs copies of the childrens book 'Why Gunder Glows' during an event at The Mason Jar.

A book illustrated by an Estacada artist presents wisdom from the Bible to children in a new way.

"Why Gunder Glows," written by Adalberto Reyes and illustrated by Estacada First Baptist Church office administrator Kary Gaskill, is a retelling of Galatians 5:22 in the New Testament of the Bible, which outlines a series of virtues. A young glow worm named Gunder, or Gunny, glows because he exemplifies these qualities.

Reyes and Gaskill, who met through Gaskill's sister, were easily able to determine a shared vision for the project.

"He said, 'You know him and what he looks like before I did, and it's what I pictured,'" Gaskill recounted. "It was a gift."

The book highlights how Gunder shows the qualities outlined in Galatians as he reacts to different situations. The virtues include joy, patience, kindness, faithfulness and self-control.

Along with Gunder's story, the book also includes elements from Gaskill and Reyes' own lives. For example, one of the illustrations includes the names of Reyes' children.

As a tribute to Gaskill's mother, lady bugs are also hidden in many of the illustrations. Her mother was an artist who created paintings for new babies, which typically included lady bugs, butterflies and other creatures.

Gaskill appreciates "how much family history flowed out" into the book.

She also likes that it presents a message from scripture to young readers.

"It's written in a rhythm, so you know what to expect," she said.

She enjoyed creating images to complement the story's text.

"I liked giving myself the time to wrestle with the concepts, and how to convey self-control in a way that a child can relate to," she said.

She also appreciates that it keeps the complexities of the original message.

"It's not dumbed down. I want to respect that child," Gaskill said.

Gaskill has been interested in art since she was a child, something she attributes to her mother.

"She would sit at the table with her easel and paints. It's not just what she did. It was who she was," she said. "I got to sit next to her, and she modeled that for me."

Gaskill looks forward to illustrating additional books in the future.

"Gunny has given me the desire and trust to think, 'I can do this,'" she said.

She appreciates being able to tell stories through art.

"I love the gift of being able to tell someone else's story, and take stories and turn them into something," she said.

"Why Gunder Glows" is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Amazon.com.

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