Gadsden alums share book at their schools

Amanda Bray Cody and Christopher Brothers display their book collaboration, Amanda Bray Cody and Christopher Brothers display their book collaboration, "Lila the Lavender Porcupine's Sticky Situation: The Bear in Despair."

 By Donna Thornton/News Editor

Amanda Bray Cody and Christopher Brothers returned to their old elementary schools in Gadsden last week to share a collaborative effort with current students – and to show children what creativity and hardwork can accomplish.

Cody is the author and Brothers is the illustrator of “Lila the Lavender Porcupine’s Sticky Situation: The Bear in Despair,” a children’s book published through Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

The author and illustrator visited Cody’s former elementary school – Oscar Adams Elementary – and Brother’s – R.A. Mitchell Elementary – on Friday, April 4. On Saturday, they gave a reading of the book at the Gadsden Public Library. They talked about how they came to work on the book, and Brothers showed students a video about how he did the illustrations for the book.

Cody teaches at a school in Birmingham and Brothers is head of AV technology at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Gadsden alums share – page 4A

Cody said she teaches eighth-graders, but she wanted to write a children’s book aimed at elementary schoolers because she wanted to do something with illustrations. She met Brothers through her husband’s younger brother.

Cody said they would brainstorm on what the illustrations should be like, and communicated through emails to share ideas and images.

Brothers said he sketched and painted each illustration by hand, then scanned it into the computer so he could redraw and repaint it digitally. Using the computer, he said, he could correct some proportions and add more shadowing and depth to the drawings.

To complete the cover illustration, Brothers said, took a total of eight hours. The video he showed students was his eight-hours of work on the cover, condensed into a seven-minute presentation.

Brothers designed the look of the book, from the lettering to the illustrations – vibrant pictures the fill pages with color and images.

“That’s what I like to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of color, but not a lot of actual illustration in many children’s books.”

Cody’s story is that of a stuffed bear who falls out of his owner’s wagon and into a hole in the woods. A number of animals – former stuffed animals that have come to life — find him and work together to rescue him and return him to his owner’s home before he, too, becomes real.

Cody said she started working on writing the book in July and continued the process of reviewing and editing it for months. The book was published in February.

For more information, visit the Facebook page Porcupine Educational Resources. The book is available at

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