Miela Ford Books & Biography
Miela Ford grew up in Philadelphia, where whe was born. She was graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art. She now lives in Rochester, New York with her husband and two children.
"I was born and grew up in center-city Philadelphia. I lived in a row house with stone steps in the front. I always liked to sit on those steps. My parents were both photographers. Their studio, office, and darkroom were in our house, so I could always be part of what they were doing. My father left me his love of nature. My mother taught me that anything is possible.
"As a child I had cats and birds and a box turtle that lived in the backyard. I kept a duckling, long enough to watch it grow. I had a baby goat, long enough to learn that goats can’t live in the city.I attended NYU and the Philadelphia College of Art. My degree is in metalwork, but photo-graphy and illustration were always part of my life. I sold drawings and jewelry, and made costumes on Broadway.
"My husband and I have two wonderful child-ren, Jeneva and Max. I loved staying home with them. They reopened my eyes to the wonders of the world. I read them the stories that had been read to me as a child.
"But when Max started school, I went to work for an ocularist. We make custom prosthetic eyes. I sit down with each patient and paint an artificial eye to match his or her real one. This is the only kind of artwork where the best compliment I can get is for no one to notice what I have done.
"My mother, Tana Hoban, went on to become a successful children’s book author/photogra-pher. I thought it would be wonderful to do a book with her. She had taken pictures of a mother and baby elephant, and her editor, Susan Hirschman, thought words would enhance the story. This gave me my chance. I looked at the pictures and tried to find the story that they told. That’s how my first book, Little Elephant, came to be.
"Sunflower was next. I had written the story when my daughter was only three. We planted seeds together, and she was amazed that the sunflowers grew so big. Her reaction inspired the story. I saved it for a long time. When I sent it to Susan Hirschman, she loved it and wanted to publish it. She asked Sally Noll to do the art. Sally’s illustrations added something special to my words.
"In my third book, Bear Play, I took the pictures and wrote the words. Photographing animals allows me to spend a lot of time with them. I love to watch animals, and I listen carefully for their stories."