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A children’s book about the Hudson spoke to me; perhaps it speaks to you


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'River' by Elisha Cooper

On Sunday,  I introduced Elisha Cooper, the author of a new children’s book, RIVER, at the book’s launch at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck. 

Elisha’s book — beautifully illustrated in watercolor — chronicles the adventures of a young woman who travels by canoe down the length of the navigable Hudson River. As she ventures downstream, she encounters rough waters, rapids, storms and many types of wildlife. She camps in solitude and makes friends at several riverfront villages along the way. Her story paints a vivid panorama of the Hudson River, from its source to the harbor. In the back of the book and beneath its cover, you’ll also find maps, pictures and factoids about the Hudson River and its famous landmarks. It’s a book marketed to young children, but there’s plenty of content in there for adults as well. 

Elisha Cooper

Elisha Cooper talks to his audience about the magic of rivers.

The young woman’s adventure reminds me of why I first became fascinated with rivers. My father also made weeks-long treks down the rivers of his youth — the Chippewa, Shiawassee, Cass, Flint and Huron rivers of Michigan. The tales he spun about those trips became Twainesque fables, leading me to create my own adventures over the years and develop an abiding infatuation with rivers. 

For this adult, RIVER reawakens that innocent awe and reverence I had for mighty rivers as a child. It paints them as pathways upon which odysseys are made and discoveries are shared. If a children’s book still speaks to my 56-year-old self, perhaps it could speak to you.

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