By Kristin Boza
Bev Davis, former long-time Beverly/Morgan Park resident, will be on hand at the at the Edna White Gardens, 1850 W. Monterey Ave. during the 2nd Annual Garden Walk on July 11 to sign her new children’s book, “Winging It! A Monarch Love Story.” The book is dedicated to Davis’ long-time friends, the late Eileen Fay and the late Edna White, and takes place between Eileen’s house and Edna’s garden.
Davis currently lives in Wisconsin and is a hospital chaplain. Having been bullied as a child, Davis decided to write books to help children feel more confident and to promote kindness. “Winging It!” is her fourth book; her “Great Gray” series follows Gray, an Indian elephant, as he works through being bullied by other elephants due to his physical differences.
“Winging It!” earned several national awards: the Purple Dragonfly Award, the NYC Big Book Award, and the Pinnacle Award in 2020. In the book, Chesterina, a Monarch butterfly, is successfully guided by her human friends, Grandma Eileen and her granddaughter Maya, to her new life at Edna’s Garden.
“The book is not only a love story to Monarch butterflies and educating kids about them, but it also tells the story of the important grandparent/grandchild relationship,” Davis said. “I hope kids can see themselves in my stories and learn things as well.”
Edna White was like a mother to Davis, and she fondly recalls their many adventures teaming up to make Beverly/Morgan Park the best that it can be. They were involved in the Human Relations Council, which was a neighborhood group dedicated to ensuring that Black residents were welcomed into the community. Davis also spearheaded a Welcome Wagon. “I visited everyone that moved into the community; it was so important to me to welcome people into the neighborhood,” Davis said. “Beverly is and was very important to all of us and I’m so happy that the neighborhood is so welcoming.”
Attending this year’s Garden Walk to promote her book is a full circle moment for Davis. She and White started a local Garden Walk in the 1980s after attending one in Marquette Park. “We loved looking at all the old houses with their established gardens and big peonies. I said to Edna, ‘why can’t we do that here?’ and we just decided to do it,” Davis said. “Jack Simmerling did a poster for us, and we started it in Eileen and Garnet Fay’s backyard, following it up with different gardens of people we knew.
“I’m so excited to come back to Beverly and see my friends while also highlighting the plight of the Monarch butterflies,” she said. “Edna and Eileen were my cheerleaders and I’m happy to have dedicated this book to them.”
Purchase tickets for the Garden Walk at Bapa.org and don’t miss meeting Bev Davis and grabbing a copy of her book.