Author/illustrator shares book with Elementary Lab students

Author and illustrator Jill Leonard read her book “Wesley the River Guardian” to students at NSU Elementary Lab.

NATCHITOCHES – Author and illustrator Jill Leonard visited Northwestern State University Elementary Lab School Friday to read her book “Wesley the River Guardian” to kindergarten and first grade students.

Leonard said she wrote the book last year during COVID with future grandchildren in mind, painting the illustrations for the book on brown paper bags as she formulated the story.  She encouraged the students to follow their dreams until they succeed.

In conjunction with the reading, students dedicated a new vegetable bed in the school literacy garden to the late Wes Rollo, a former E-Lab student and distant relative of Leonard’s.

The book, coincidentally, was released last May, the week that Rollo, an NSU student, passed away.

The new vegetable bed is placed under a rainbow made of upcycled materials and students contributed to its creation by adding shovel-fulls of dirt.  School librarian Lisa Wiggins said students will grow vegetables specifically to share, a reflection of Rollo’s giving nature.

“Wesley the River Guardian” is available at