THE CREATIVE CREW

Mother Daughter Team Pair Up With Local Artist

Mother and daughter team, Linda Darwish and Jamila Maden, are the dynamic duo behind the "Mary and Mike" series. Originally from New Jersey, Jamila relocated to East Tennessee on a whim in 2012. Her parents would visit and intended on retiring in the area when the time was right. Family has always come first, so that move came a little quicker than initially planned and they joined her in Tennessee in 2016.

When the idea of co-writing a children’s book was first discussed they both knew that the book would have to have an educational component. Developing a language centered book was the obvious answer. The books would make speech therapy fun for kids, easier for therapists, helpful for parents, and engaging for everyone!

lindacharacter.jpg

LINDA DARWISH

Coauthor

Born and raised in the midwest, Linda went on to raise her family in the northeast and is now retiring in south. She has an appreciation for the uniqueness all the regions of the US offer. 


Linda’s career began as a speech therapist and then evolved as her family grew. Weaving in and out of a stay-at-home mom role, substitute teaching, preschool teaching and after school programs, children were always the center of things.

jamilacharacter.jpg

JAMILA MADEN

Coauthor

Never afraid to try something new, Jamila happily traveled from place to place during her college years. She started out in the suburbs, moved to big city life, then on to the beautiful south. Here in Tennessee she met her husband and decided it was time to plant some roots.


Like her mother Jamila felt a strong passion for language and communication and is currently a practicing speech therapist who is just beginning her journey into motherhood.

heathercharacter.jpg

HEATHER LEINBACH

Illustrator

Heather discovered her passion for watercolor about 6 years ago while getting her degree in graphic design.  She stumbled upon a fashion illustration and watercolor blog that sparked the passion to draw and paint that she had left behind with her childhood. 

Since then, she has slowly found her niche in capturing sweet moments and beautiful images in watercolor. Currently based in a small town in East Tennessee, she captures these moments in her home studio for clients and herself. Just like the authors, this is Heather's first time creating artwork for a book. Heather has embraced the challenge of bringing so many characters to life, and we can't wait to share each and every one of them with you!