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"Boppa," asked EmmyJean yet again, "Tell us how you got bald." And Boppa explained it again, differently and even more crazy than last time, and swore it was all true.

It was lightning! It was a bear! A shark, a tornado, a man with a very small lawnmower…. When the kids ask their granddad yet again, “Boppa, how did you get bald?” he answers with a different wild story every time, and swears they’re all true. Boppa’s wife “Yaya” is the author, Laurie Trott Rettig. She gathered Boppa’s stories and the moments of home and belonging that surround their telling. She asked Hanna du Plessis to capture the mix of kids, grandparents, and magical imagination in her wonderful illustrations. Written for young readers, each story and illustration offers a world of love and whimsy.

The stories

Boppa lost his hair a lot of different ways!

The birds needed his hair for nesting material.
Clapped off by a cymbal player.
Nubbled off by tiny space giraffes.
Spat out on the beach by a sharp-toothed shark.
It was an octopus. You can imagine.
There was this bear, but Boppa was already bald….

Click to read "Boppa and the Green Hair"

Laurie Trott Rettig, author

Throughout her life in Montana wheat country, Laurie Trott Rettig has created places of home, creativity, generosity and whimsy. She has four grown daughters and one son, with an ever-expanding number of grandchildren. The Lark and Laurel House, which was a bed and breakfast, is now a whirl of life and playful exploration: music, games, food, spontaneous theater, backyard concerts, and a steady flow of guests. It was from this swirling life that the Boppa stories were born.

Laurie was raised and schooled in central Montana. She attended the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University, completing a BS in Home Economics and elementary education.

She spent time in Japan, England, and Spain before returning to her beloved prairie. There she took turns at being a farm wife, a teacher for the Quatre Fleurs home school, a public school teacher and later a teacher of English in South Korea.

In 2010 Laurie achieved her dream of becoming a bed and breakfast owner. That same year she achieved another long-cherished dream when she became the wife and partner to the man who loves her. She knows him as “Ross the Boss,” but he is known to the grandchildren as “Boppa.”

Through it all, Laurie has exercised her gift for creating alluring spaces for intimacy, connection and relationship.

Hanna du Plessis, illustrator

Hanna du Plessis illustrated her first children’s story when she was in her early twenties. Through the following years she’s never stopped sketching, painting, and creating expressions of wonder and the full range of human emotions. She’s worked as an architect, a designer, a teacher, a dancer. Born under apartheid in South Africa, then living in the US, she has dedicated her life to collaboration toward equitable and sustainable life for all.

Hanna met Yaya and Boppa and the roiling rest of the family a decade ago. Laurie showed her the bald stories, the two laughed and imagined together, and here we are.

In December of 2023, Hanna was diagnosed with ALS. This is a progressive neuro-muscular disease, and Hanna’s hands became too paralyzed to paint. That’s why the illustration for one of the stories in the book is still a sketch. Now in 2024, Hanna is choosing to use her energies in other ways, and offers that final sketch with love for Yaya, Boppa, the stories, and you.

You can learn more about her life, writing and art by visiting okaythen.net/voices/hanna-du-plessis.

PRE-ORDER NOW
for July 31 release