Beginning an art career doesn’t have to be preceded by age. Highland Park High School senior Chandler Bjork is no stranger to this school of thought.
Bjork was commissioned last year by first-time author Paul Shike, the father of a friend, to create the cover of his first book, Tell Me So I Know.
The pair have since been nominated for the prestigious Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award for Cover Design and Best First Book. The winners will be announced at the end of March. “I’m very proud of my work,” Bjork said. “[Shike] and I think it could do very well with the judges.”
The cover depicts two elephants in front of tree branches in the shape of a heart. Shike said this symbolizes an overarching theme of memory, hope, and familial love.
In the scene, purple is used to allude to Alzheimer’s, a disease from which Shike’s aunt and grandmother suffer, and a main motivation for the creation of his collaborative book. The goal is that by the end of the book, participants will have asked all the questions they may want answered before a loved one dies or loses their memory.
“My father passed unexpectedly and I realized I had all these unanswered questions about him,” Shike said. “I had a lot of pent-up frustration and those questions never went away. I realized, if I didn’t sit down and do this with my mom, I would have a lot of remorse.”
The book aims to help the reader connect with loved ones through a series of more than 600 questions. In 192 pages, questions about childhood, love and marriage, money, faith, and more are asked for the purpose of truly understanding a person’s life.
How to Buy
Tell Me So I Know can be purchased on Amazon and around Dallas in specialty book shops: Learning Express, For Heaven’s Sake, Toys Unique, and Sample House.
Bjork’s help in creating a book cover to relay that message was important, Shike said. “We sent a couple of drafts back and forth, and the end result is something I love,” Shike said.
Bjork’s passion for art has been an instinctual part of her life. She’s taken about six art classes as a Highland Park student and is planning to attend a university in the fall to study art, she said.
“Ever since I could hold a pencil I’ve been drawing,” Bjork said. “I mostly use pen and paper, but I love graphic design and digital art as well.”
She thrived in the collaborative process with Shike, she said. “When I get to work with someone, it helps when they help,” Bjork said. “He would send me several pictures of what he wanted and we came up with the end result together. To see his face light up was something really special.”