Visual Design Arts -  Eileen Slifer Sunstrom Artist 
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Letters to Rodney: 
A Story of a Young Man's Experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps 
Written and Illustrated by
Eileen Slifer Sunstrom, 2014

"Letters to Rodney" is a true life narrative of a young man coming of age during The Great Depression (1929-1939). The story begins on his father’s farm, in rural western Maryland, when Rodney is sixteen years old. It continues as the young boy travels to Harrisburg, PA to live with an uncle and then progresses to tell Rodney’s story of finding work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The narrative contains illustrations from farm life as well as historical events, and is worked around actual letters written by his father to Rodney after he left home. It progresses year by year with historical reference to the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his plan to help his impoverished nation. Through FDR's New Deal (expansive conservation projects that still stand today and are enjoyed by the public) hope was restored. Young men and women were given the opportunity to work, thus learning new skills and contributing to rebuilding the United States. There are countless stories of struggling families during the era of The Great Depression. This story is meant to preserve the experiences and personal struggles of the small, rural farmer during those years as well as one young man who found himself coming of age in a time when the future looked bleak.

Letter to Rodney 

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(Cont'd from left)
This is the one image of the Depression era that is vivid: few jobs and little hope for struggling families. The story is developed by weaving examples of a hand-to-mouth existence and work ethic. "Letters to Rodney" contains timeless lessons in the values of having a family, perseverance, citizenship and joining together to create solutions during trying economic times. This narrative story was written and illustrated by the daughter of the main character, Rodney, as a tribute to her father and his family and for educational purposes.

Recommended grades 6th through 12th

The Model Maker:
A World War II Veteran's Story
Written by Brett S. Weber,
Illustrated by Eileen Slifer, 2006

The Model Maker is inspired by the personal account of a World War II veteran’s experiences during the Battle of the Bulge. Bill spends a good deal of his time working on his model airplanes. They mean more to him than just a usual hobby, however. They remind him of a time and a place when these models were replaced with real planes, and his tranquil, rural setting was replaced with gunfire, thick forests, and an ever-present danger. Through his models, he recalls his story in a simple, quiet way that belies the harsh reality of the Battle of the Bulge. This story is meant to capture the interest of the young reader, and to serve as a springboard into an important historical lesson. The event of World War II was a pivotal point in modern history. It is imperative that the lessons learned by this “Greatest Generation” should never be lost or forgotten.  Recommended ages 9-12.  

The Model Maker:  A World War II Veteran's Story 

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 Artwork Prints Available from the The Model Maker

Other information about this book:  This children's history book features the story of a World War II veteran from the 83rd Division. It is the story of a man from the small, rural town of  Boonsboro, Maryland who suddenly finds himself in the midst of one of the deadliest battles of WWII, the Battle of the Bulge.  Among the model planes featured in this book are the Spirit of Saint Louis, Piper Cub J3, PT-17 Stearman, B-17 Flying Fortress, Brewster, B-29 Superfortress and the P-38 Lightning.

Wilmington News Journal Review of  The Model Maker
Newark Post Review of The Model Maker
The Hagerstown Herald-Mail Review of The Model Maker



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About Visual Design Arts

Site and Images Copyright © 1989-2016, Visual Design Arts, Eileen Slifer Sunstrom, Artist
Email:          (256) 686-0926          Mailing Address:  25480 County Road 460, Trinity, AL  35673

Eileen Sunstrom Artist About My Products and Services:

I offer my featured products and services to the public without regard to race, creed, political views,
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I reserve the right to decline any custom project which I believe to be obscene, hate-based or inflammatory.