Just before the pandemic hit my friend Denise Gillen and I partnered to create a children’s book, Where the Wild Sloths Roam. I have been traveling to Costa Rica for over 30 years and there is a special place in my heart for the wildlife. In 2018 I met Denise at The Toucan Rescue Ranch. Every year I bring artists to Costa Rica to immerse them in the natural flora and fauna. One of my places to visit is The Toucan Rescue Ranch. Denise, a retired zookeeper landed in Costa Rica and found herself immersed in baby sloths! Sloths of all ages arrive at TRR orphaned or injured. This can be due to electrocution from power lines, attacks from other animals, or abandonment by the mother. None of these sloths, young or old are capable of surviving in the wild without human intervention. It takes constant and specialized care to get these animals healthy and back into the wild. Leslie Howle the owner of TRR has been doing a fantastic job as all types of rainforest animals appear at her rescue. With Denise’s wit, charm, and sense of humor, she began to write about her time caring for the orphaned sloths. As the official #SlothNanny she learned so much about the 2 kinds of sloths found in Costa Rica. She began writing a poem about their different behaviors, mannerisms, and characteristics. Upon completion of her poem she read it to me and I knew right away I wanted to illustrate it!
Denise was thrilled and excited to partner with me. We agreed on format, style, number of pages etc and I returned home to the USA to do the paintings. This was March of 2020 and we all know what happened then….. Covid shutdown! I made it back into the USA 2 days before the country shut down. I worked on the paintings and we collaborated via Zoom, email etc for the next 6 months until all the work was done. We thought of self-publishing it and possibly purchasing the books from China. The paper shortage, shipping delays and the tenuous relationship with China made us think twice about this option. We searched and searched and finally decided to use a print on demand company named Lulu.com
Covid travel restrictions have finally lifted and I was able to spend a week with Denise at her home in Costa Rica. After 2 long years we finally made some GREAT decisions on how to proceed with our book. As this project evolves we plan on adding sloth related merchandise for sale. Our mission is to donate the profits of the sales to help The Toucan Rescue Ranch continue their important conservation work.
It is our privilege to announce that WHERE THE WILD SLOTHS ROAM is now available for purchase. You can click here and it will take you directly to the page where you can purchase the book.
Are you an artist, photographer or nature lover interested in visiting the Toucan Rescue Ranch in-person? Join Mindy for Journey to Heart of Creativity in Costa Rican Rainforest.