Poetry. Graphic Novel. Young Adult. Poems by Georgianna Smith with artwork by Louise Garb. In May 2011 a devastating tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, killing 158 people and injuring 1,150 others. Many of the victims were children. How can we make sense of such loss? How can we explain such tragedies to our own children? GUST is a graphic novel that tells the story of a small group of middle schoolers caught up in the winds of the tornado who must find a way to build a new life out of the wreckage. Written by Georgianna Smith, whose family hails from Joplin, the book is illustrated by the windswept watercolors of Louise Garbs, another Missouri native who has spent her childhood in the Midwest's tornado alley. This book is inspired in part by Gust, a modern dance conceived and choreographed by Ashley Miller and Julie Moellenakamp, then performed by students at the University of Central Missouri. Literature, painting, dance—when we are confronted with forces larger than we can understand, GUST shows how we can turn to art for comfort.
Georgianna Smith graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a B.A. in English & Creative Writing. She has close family who live in the Joplin area, so writing about the tornado was personal for her. She currently works as a Live Media Developer and Entertainer in Shawnee, Kansas.Louise Garbs is an illustrator and designer in Independence, Missouri. She graduated from University of Central Missouri with degrees in Studio Art and Graphic Design. She currently works in the interesting world of freelance and the messy world of screen printing. She was featured in the 2014 Society of Illustrators scholarship competition's catalogue and has had her work displayed in the Society of Illustrators Gallery in New York City. Born in St. Joseph and raised in Blue Springs she is all too familiar with the unforgiving force that is Missouri's weather, and was honored to be chosen to illustrate this project. Author City: WARRENSBURG, MO USA