Have you seen your first firefly of the season yet? Doesn’t it give you a lift when you see them? Near the end of May, Robert Nutt, author of Amy’s Light, saw the first ones of the year in his neighborhood in North Carolina. “It brought a flicker of hope,” he said. But for Robert, the most uplifting thought of all is that thousands of children (and adults) who have read Amy’s Light will get a special lift, too. “I hope they will see fireflies differently too, and connect joyously to nature through the light of our friends, the fireflies.”
May not only brought the first fireflies, it also brought a notable award, the Benjamin Franklin 2011 Gold Award for Picture Books. “The award was a real surprise,” he said. “I am grateful and honored to have my first book receive such an award. Every time things like that happen, it’s a little nudge to keep going, keep writing.” Actually, Robert has received quite a few “nudges” recently – including the Mom’s Choice (Gold) Award, the iParenting Media Award, and the Young Voices Foundation Award.
Sometimes inspiration comes in flashes. Robert and his wife were walking down a peaceful street in Asheville, North Carolina, when they came upon a house with a yard full of dancing, flickering lights. At that moment, Robert knew he would write about it. “They seemed to speak to me in their luminous beauty, asking me to share their message.” That night, in bed, the verse just started to come—“it just started spilling out of me, and I wrote it down.”
His daughter, Amy, posed for his camera. Robert is in the advertising business, and masterfully re-worked the images until one wonders whether the images are photographs or painting. “I was visited by my flickering friends, often at moments when I needed the encouragement to continue.” Amy’s Light is simultaneously about fireflies (with added information about them in the back of the book) and about the self-discovery that comes when one honors the light within.