by Cori Hilsgen
Local author and musician Douglas Wood will read his latest book in the Old Turtle series and perform a free concert with the Wild Spirit Band from 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, April 21 at First United Methodist Church, located at 1107 Pinecone Road S. in Sartell.
Wood’s book Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart, illustrated by Greg Ruth, is being published this month by Scholastic Press.
Wood said the book is gorgeous because the illustrations literally glow. He said the book is for all ages and tackles some of the timeless and important questions human beings face in life such as:
- Why are we here?
- How do we find happiness?
- What is family?
- How do we deal with evil and even death?
Wood said the First United Methodist Church graciously offered to host his first official reading and signing event for Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart in central Minnesota.
Wood’s Old Turtle series includes Old Turtle, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth and now Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart.
He said it’s gratifying to know Old Turtle has touched so many hearts around the world for several generations. The books were never really meant to be childrens’ books, although each one is a picture book.
The series of books is cross-generational for people of all ages. Each book builds upon the previous one and each has its own illustrator.
Wood said some readers prefer the original, some like Broken Truth even better. He plans to see where the new latest book in the series will fall.
“This one might be the last, which would make it a trilogy,” Wood said. “But who knows? Maybe Old Turtle will start whispering in my ear again.”
An added attraction will be the concert by his Wild Spirit Band, which Wood said does not often perform in the St. Cloud area.
Besides Wood, the band includes guitarist Steve Borgstrom and bassist Bryan Wood, Doug’s son. The group plays music about the great outdoors from Appalachian bluegrass to Mississippi Blues, from Chuck Berry to Earl Scruggs. They perform three-part vocal harmonies and play the banjo, mandolin, six- and 12-string guitars and bass.
The event also marks the publication of Wood’s new memoir for adults, Deep Woods, Wild Waters, which is the story of his life in the outdoors and his experiences as a wilderness canoe guide. The book is published by University of Minnesota Press.
Wood, who is an author, artist, musician, naturalist and wilderness guide is the creator of 35 books for children and adults, with more than 2.5 million copies in print.
Besides Old Turtle, Wood’s other award-winning books include Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth and his Can’t Do series. Wood has performed and read his books at the White House, at the Lincoln Center in New York City and many more places.
Wood is a recipient of the American Booksellers Book of the Year –ABBY Award, the International Reading Association Book of the Year, the Christopher Medal, Parent’s Choice Award, Barnes and Noble Star of the North, Storytelling World Award, Midwest Publishers Association Book of the Year, Smithsonian Notable Book Award, Minnesota Book Award, Minnesota State Arts Board Grant for Prose and CMAB McKnight Established Artist Award.
When discussing his success, Wood said success is a relative thing.
“Many folks are more ‘successful’ than I, particularly financially,” Wood said. “We live in a beautiful old cabin in the woods, as Kathy (his wife) and I both grew up dreaming of doing someday. We are fortunate to have another cabin on the Canadian border. I have made a career of spending time out-of-doors and writing books and music about it, again just as I dreamed of. We have two great kids who got to grow up in this fine community. And now, we have two wonderful grandchildren. The career as an author is something I am proud of, because it’s not easy to do. And this new book, Deep Woods, Wild Waters speaks to some of those difficulties. Thirty-five books so far, and hopefully some more to come.”
As a songwriter and musician, Wood performs on a 12-string guitar, banjo and mandolin, performing his original “Earth Songs” with his Wild Spirit Band. The band recently took first runner-up in the Minnesota Bluegrass Band Championship – “Race for a Place.” His Deep Woods, Deep Waters compact disc has sold more than 100,000 copies.
Wood also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education. He lives with his family in a log cabin by the Mississippi River.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.
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