Passion for the Small Town

“Your name is the most valuable thing you own. Be careful where you put it and who you give it to, Mr. Adams,” Don Egbert said. Don was the Dawson Springs Commercial Bank Manager when I applied for a loan for college—the second item on my high school “goals list.”

At the age of twenty-five, I completed my high school goals list—9 reasonable goals and 1 impossible goal. Now in my mid 40s I’m achieving another of my second goals list items—to own a building. I chose a centrally located building in Dawson Springs, Kentucky to convert into a warehouse for my books.

This building isn’t intended to be a bookstore; however, a longterm goal is to convert the building into a publishing university for passionate writers and illustrators in western Kentucky.

The latin word for passion is pati, meaning “suffer for what you love.”  I’ve learned a person’s passion is the one thing they love and they’ll usually do for free! Choosing to follow a passion requires working through every challenge presented whether successful or not.

I told my family a falsie to see what their reaction would be to ending my Illustrator Life. I said, “I’ve been offered a new job that requires me to not illustrate children’s books; however, the job pays me a higher salary.”

My daughter asked, “Does that mean you’ll never inspire another student to follow his or her dream at school visits?”

By jingo, she said it all! Happiness is not about money—it’s about how our passion makes us feel. My passion for illustrating and writing books has taken me a long way from my hometown of Dawson Springs. At the end of the day, I’ve never left my old Kentucky home, and I know I’ll receive a warm welcome in that very special place.

Residing in central Florida with my wife and two children, we have all made sacrifices during my illustrator life to inspire dreamers and readers for over a decade. I have a passion for the small-town lifestyle and the journey started for with my goals list written at Dawson Springs High School.


1898 Day Bros. Building Renovation


Renovation is the 1898 Day Bros. building‘s only hope to withstand another century. Can you help me because your illustration purchase directly fixes the historic building?

When I was four years old, barefoot and shirtless, I clenched the sides of my radio flyer wagon not knowing what lay ahead of me. Summer’s midday sun baked the asphalt beneath my wagon and Momma’s bare feet. She patiently tugged the noisy wagon up Highway 109 toward an odd truck parked outside Trotter’s Country Store. Momma propped me on her hip, then carried me into the boxy vehicle she called a bookmobile. Standing inside, a librarian joyfully greeted me asking, “What’s your favorite book little man?”

My favorite book would have started like a Disney movie—magical. At four, I couldn’t conceive how words and drawings would eventually impact my rural community of 2,500 people. Since that memorable day, I’ve illustrated over sixty picture books, meet over one million students as a public speaker, and inspired all ages to chase their publishing dream. In 2015, I relocated my company’s book warehouse to the 1898 Day Bros. building, one of the last historic structures from Dawson Springs, Kentucky’s establishment.

The building is perfect for storage, but it could be much more with your help. The renovation of the 1898 Day Bros. building can be achieved through 1,898 sponsorships. Each illustration purchase receives a signed original children’s book illustrations from my private collection of sixty published children’s books.

Your purchase is important to help save the historic 1898 Day Bros. building in need of care and attention. Most of all your support fosters the much-needed inspiration that the littlest person’s words and drawings can affect the world. Please join me in opening another century of new chapters in the 1898 Day Bros. building’s story.

We thank the current supporters for their recent purchases.

18-Mark Wayne Adams-Headshot

Sincerely yours,

Mark Wayne Adams-signature

“Words and drawings affect a reader’s world!”

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