Cathy DeForest, “GIRLS: An Alphabet Book Inspired By Daughters”

Cover and handmade dolls

Unique covers for GIRLS book

Close up view of Letters

Extended Accordion of Alphabet Letters

Front and back covers


Cathy DeForest (Ashland, OR)

GIRLS: An Alphabet Book Inspired By Daughters
Edition of 50
32 pages
5 x 30 x 1 inch open
5 x 5 x 1 inch closed

Design for accordion book was laid out in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Each letter and image is hand painted with a combination of watercolor paints, pastels and mixed media. The background of each page is digitally printed from a composite of painted tyvek and photography. The illustrations and background were scanned and placed in Photoshop. Printing was done on a 9880 Epson Pro printer with archival Ultra Chrome K3 inks. Each accordion book has a unique front cover and back cover made from clothing little girls once wore. A one-of-a-kind doll made from repurposed clothing comes with each book and fits into the pocket of the cover of GIRLS. The doll’s arms and legs are moveable. The doll is made from yarn, dyed wool, piper cleaners and a variety of silk, cotton and polyester fabric. A box, which houses each book, is made from corduroy fabric. The top of the box lid and the inside of the box bottom contain a page from the GIRLS book.

I created GIRLS: An Alphabet Book Inspired by Daughters to portray the unique essence of girls. When I watch girls playing make-believe, swinging on swings, or telling tales to furry friends, I see the special ways girls express themselves. To convey that individuality, I bound each book with a unique cover distinct from the other books in the edition, made from clothing little girls once wore. A one-of-a-kind doll accompanies each book and fits into the pocket featured on the cover. For my illustrations and text, I chose to feature activities that are available to girls regardless of economics, cultural backgrounds or access to technology. I wanted to elevate imagination and play as rich keys to childhood.

Cathy Dorris took my ideas for each letter of the alphabet and brought them into reality with her charming illustrations. Together, we hand painted each letter, ponytail and skirt. Sabina Nies cut and folded each book. Meg Conrard shaped and sewed each of my doll designs and added her special flare to each lock of hair.

GIRLS: An Alphabet Book Inspired By Daughters is intended for children of all ages. GIRLS functions as a work of art, an accordion sculpture that can adorn a child’s bedroom or a family room shelf. I invite everyone to romp through the colorful alphabet letters, images and text and to delight in the joy and creativity of girls:
“A-Adorning alphabets, with awesome alliterations,
B-Bashful booklovers, bubbling beauty,
C-Capably choreographing cartwheels”

GIRLS: An Alphabet Book Inspired By Daughters is a companion to my previously published book, BOYS: An Alphabet Book Inspired By Sons. Both books reflect and express the joys of childhood and are intended to delight generations for years to come.