November Featured MCA Member: Jean Flahive

“one day I heard the story of Billy Laird, a Civil War soldier from Berwick, Maine. My emotions inspired me once again. A novel was in front of me, and I didn’t hesitate. Life is a circle, and here I am enjoying at last the passion that first consumed a young girl whose autobiography still sits on her desk.” – Jean Flahive

Children’s literature is an invaluable asset that not only serves as a gateway to the worlds within young imaginations, it exposes children to their own cultures and the cultures of others. Children’s books also provide young readers and listeners with the tools to discover their own thoughts and opinions. From early picture books to young adult fiction, literature is important in shaping the minds of young learners. Maine children’s author and Maine Crafts Association member Jean Flahive uses her love of history and to inspire our youngest, most curious readers with stories about some of Maine’s most interesting- and lesser known- historical figures.

Currently promoting two new books, The Canoe Maker and Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride” Jean has penned seven books total, three young adult historical fiction novels and four picture books. She began writing as a dedicated craft in the mid-2000’s after a move to the Downeast region brought with it the opportunity for a new career path. In her previous life, she served as a Dean of Students among other senior administration roles in higher education.

Driven by a passion for writing (and tender loving care and protection of her in-progress manuscripts), Jean’s appreciation for Maine’s rich history makes for incredible reading material for readers of all ages.

What is your all-time favorite book?
Don’t laugh, but my all-time favorite book is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Are there any authors who inspire you?
Stories I hear inspire me, but I am drawn to presidential historians who give us so much perspective—such as Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I say this with a smile on my face, but clearly the idea for my children’s book The Old Mainer and the Sea was a nod to Hemingway.

If you could visit any time in history, when would you choose?
In writing my first two novels I had to crawl into the wormhole of the past to tell a story of people and events in the pre and post US Civil War era. In spite of a dark time in our history, I think I would like to have visited or lived back then and met individuals such as Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Bates founder Oren Cheney, Robert E. Lee–the list just goes on.

Pick up copies of Jean Flahive’s books The Old Mainer and the Sea and The Canoe Maker this holiday season and beyond at the Center for Maine Craft.

To learn more about Jean, her creative process and her selection of novels and children’s books, visit her website.

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