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BOOKS: Simone Goes to the Market

Jan 13th, 2011 | Category: Books

by Brent Cole

Bellingham resident David Westerlund’s book “Simone Goes to the Market” shows the connection between local farmer and food in a way that children under five can understand. The book, featuring his daughter Simone, also teaches colors.

David Westerlund with a copy of his book, Simone Goes to the Market, published in 2008. Images from the book are currently on display at local eateries in downtown Bellingham, including at The Bistro through January and at The Table in March. All of the photos were taken at the Bellingham Farmers Market. PHOTO BY SIMONE WESTERLUND

Westerlund released the book in the spring of 2008 after a friend convinced him to print 50 copies. The book quickly gained momentum and he purchased more, selling them locally while doing readings at local preschools and elementary schools.

The pages of “Simone Goes to the Market” features a photo of a local farmer paired with a food grown by the farmer, while utilizing easy language and engaging colors. “Kids would ask ‘are these real people,’” he said with a laugh.

Westerlund wants the book to not only teach children about colors and words, but the importance of food, specifically locally grown and made. “It’s important to change our symbols for kids – symbols are real faces, real foods and then they’ll go out into their own garden.” He added, “Those first five years of life are so important – they’re the foundation. Like a foundation of the house.”

Westerlund also believes the closeness of the photos help children make the connection between the faces and food, as babies do between a mother’s face and mother’s milk. “Younger infants really loved the faces,” he said.

Last summer, he started displaying photos from the book at local eateries, starting at the Lettered Street Coffeehouse. The photos are currently at the Bistro on Magnolia (113 E Magnolia), where they will be on display through January and possibly into February. Of the 13 photos hanging at the Bistro, 11 are from the book and two of them are new. “Five (of the prints) are faces and eight are foods,” Westerlund said. In March, the photos will be shown at The Table restaurant (100 N. Commercial St).

Originally from Rochester,  NY, Westerlund moved to Bellingham in 2005 after spending a year in Vancouver attending graduate school. “Even in the first few months of being here, I felt like I was connecting with the community,” he said about Bellingham.

A hobby photographer, Westerlund began taking photos around town. “There are some great ones and some average ones,” he said with a laugh. It didn’t take long before he had the idea to create a book about colors and Bellingham. Deciding to focus on the Bellingham Farmers Market, Westerlund and Simone went to the market and took photos. While he knew he wanted the concept to be related to local food and health, they were unaware at the time of what their project would become.

“I started snapping photos. I really like having a seed of an idea and jumping into it and going from there,” he said.

As prints from the book circulate around the walls of local eateries, Westerlund says he is close to printing another run of the book. He added he is also planning another children’s book, this one an ABC book that utilizes the first letter of local establishments, such as Mallard’s for the letter M, and Old Town Cafe for the letter O.

Westerlund, who works for Tierra Nueva and Whatcom Environmental Services, has joined the Farm-to-School Education and Outreach group as a volunteer to help get local food into local schools.


Photos from “Simone Goes to the Market” are currently on display at The Bistro on Magnolia (113 E Magnolia, Bellingham) through January. In March, the photos will be shown at The Table restaurant (100 N. Commercial St).

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