Early Childhood Connections Welcomes Local Author & Illustrator at Family Social

Early Childhood Connections Welcomes Local Author & Illustrator at Family Social

Would you like to meet a local author and illustrator? The Early Childhood Connections Program is thrilled to announce our January guest and co-host for our monthly social, Local Author and Nurse Practitioner, Kristin DeArruda Wharton author of Your Big Lake Family Gets Bigger. She will be at the Community Center with us to celebrate the new year and new babies in Cook County (Jan 6, from 10 – 11:30 am).

Your Big Lake Family Gets Bigger is a recently released activity and coloring book that aims to spark imagination and storytelling for children in North Shore families who are preparing to welcome a new baby. Your Big Lake Family Gets Bigger follows the adventures of Lucy, her little brother Kai, and their best friend, Mike the dog. As young readers prepare along with Lucy, Kai, and Mike, they’re encouraged to learn about their own stories with pages that ask, “What happened when you were born?” and “How did you get your name?” The unique book features illustrations of the local area from artist Andrea Voelke.

“You do not have to be expecting a baby to participate,” said DeArruda Wharton. “This event is open to all families, including parents, caregivers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and neighbors. We’d love to see the entire community along the North Shore support this activity book and celebrate children and families.”

The social will include a large poster for children and families to cooperatively color, story time, and of course free books and snacks. Kristin will call in the illustrator who drew the pictures during a story time. Voelke lives in St. Paul and will join for a brief meet and greet with the families.

“Our monthly socials have continued to be a success,” said Jodi Tervo Roberts, Early Childhood Connections Coordinator at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. “Between 20 and 30 participants attend each month, with families sharing that these events have fostered beautiful support networks for their families. This month is extra special with Kristin here to share her love and devotion to creatively supporting our Cook County families with young children.”

A generous grant from the North Shore Health Care Foundation supported the creation of the book and provided copies of Your Big Lake Family Gets Bigger to children and families through the WIC programs at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Grand Portage Clinic, as well as the Grand Portage Head Start and Oshki Ogimaag school.

A generous grant from the Lloyd K Johnson Foundation supports our Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Early Childhood Connections programming.

About the Facilitator: Jodi Tervo Roberts is the Early Childhood Connections Coordinator at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, and coordinates Monthly Family Socials, Caregiver Book Clubs (January registration open), and sends out a Monthly Newsletter that are all geared toward families with young children.

About the Author: Kristin DeArruda Wharton is a Nurse Practitioner and rural health advocate who resides on the North Shore with her family. Outside of the hospital and clinic, her work focuses on creative collaborations, community vitality, and well-being.

About the Illustrator: Andrea Voelke is an artist, illustrator, and dog mom who lives in St Paul, Minnesota. Her work celebrates the details that make each of us the heroes in our own stories.

Your Big Lake Family Gets Bigger is their first published children’s book.

Contact: Jodi Tervo Roberts, or (218) 387-2330 ext. 818
Kristin Wharton at

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