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An Eastmoreland illustrator and writer has produced another book for children; Rita Leonard tells more about it

RITA A. LEONARD - Eastmorelands Danny Popovici, with his dog Ollie, displays his three childrens books so far. The newest one is in his hands.Eastmoreland resident Danny Popovici is a children's book writer and illustrator who has just been published. "The Fox and the Forest Fire" is its name – and it was published by Chronicle Books.

"It touches a little bit on friendship, nature, and forest fires," Popovici explains. "Forest fires have been a severe issue these past few years, and it appears they are hitting closer and closer to home. This book might be an informative, educational, and creative way to discuss the subject with children."

The authors immigrated to Portland from Romania at the age of 4. He earned a BFA in 2010 from The Art Institute of Portland, with a focus on animation and visual development. He likes to tell stories through urban sketches, watercolor painting, and digital composition.

His debut as an illustrator for children's picture books was in "Manjhi Moves A Mountain", written by Nancy Churnin and released in 2017. The book was a Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards finalist, an Ezra Jack Keats finalist, was on the ILA-CBC Children's Choice list, and won the South Asia Book Award.

Danny's illustrations have appeared in many formats – including animation, game, and comic art. But his favorite medium to tell stories is on the pages of magical picture books. When not creating picture books and stories at his home studio, Popovici enjoys hiking and biking in the Columbia gorge with his Australian Shepherd dog, Ollie. He recently returned from a month in Romania, where he visited extended family, and soaked up a number of new ideas and vistas he can use in his profession.

Popovici worked as a forest firefighter in the Pacific Northwest around the turn of the 21st Century. Creatively, he has also worked on other types of illustrations; he has done visual development, story-boarding, and concept design for clients – among them Bent Image Lab, Big-Giant, Nickelodeon, Honda, and Cap'n Crunch. This immersion in animation, and his exposure to the principles of strong visual storytelling, made for a natural transition to children's books.

This talented illustrator enjoys exploring locally where he can focus on the many visual stimuli of the scenic Pacific Northwest. His next children's book will likely include superstitions and folk tales – which is the sort of thing Romania is well-known for.

His "idea book" and mind are constantly busy storing up concepts and visualizations. "Everywhere I go I draw, sketch, and take notes," he remarks.

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