Stout Grad Releases Children’s Picture Book

Kelsey Swanson

UW-Stout illustration grad Eliza Wheeler recently released her first full-length picture book What Does It Mean to Be Present? Written by Rana DiOrio and targeted for ages 4 to 7, this story is “a discussion about appreciating the present moment through sharing, listening, being thoughtful, [and] aware,” said Wheeler. Despite a grueling three-month deadline, Wheeler managed to capture a compelling narrative within her illustrations where none existed in the words, creating a story relatable to all ages. “My thoughts of northern Wisconsin have provided a lot of inspiration in my work,” Wheeler said as she discussed the nature of her watercolor-based illustrations. She has recently been awarded a mentorship through the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, where she will gain experience working with industry professionals. Wheeler hopes to one day write and illustrate her own books. Look for this one at

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