[words] is so pleased to feature Maplewood resident Irene Kelly. Irene is both an author-illustrator and has published five award-winning books including Ebie & FloIt’s a Butterfly’s Life and Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest. Her entertaining books allow children to comprehend the complexity of the natural world. She grew up chasing fireflies and playing outside and turned her passion into her profession by studying nature and art in college. She also offers writing and illustrating workshops for children.  Both of her young children love books and animals as much as she does, and together they read and keep lots of pets. “My life as an author and illustrator of children’s books is not that different from my childhood – I still read and write a lot, and spend tons of time outside” says Kelly.