Connect with us

Lehi People

Local artist and author earns awards with children’s book



Gayle Holdman of Holdman Studios in Lehi, Utah has been creating stained glass art since 1991. Holdman Studios has been contracted worldwide to create many unique glass art projects. One stained glass project titled; Roots of Knowledge resides in the Fulton Library at Utah Valley University. Recently, Holdman authored a best-selling children’s book, “The Piece That is You.” Today, Holdman’s book is a Gold Award Recipient of theMom’s Choice Awards.

Holdman created the book with the vision of “introducing children to education and history, the power of art and creativity, the fascinating medium of stained glass, and ultimately of edifying all readers, especially those who might be facing or have ever faced challenges, disabilities or discouragement,” according to the Roots of Humanity website. 

Whild working on stained glass art projects, Holdman was impressed that human beings are like the pieces of glass that make up a beautiful window because each piece is unique and important to the overall design.

“Human beings remind me of the pieces that make up a beautiful stained-glass window: every piece is uniquely lovely,and each is crucial to the whole design. I love people and want each to understand how remarkable they are,” said Holdman.

Holdman Studios spent many years working on the monumental stained-glass project known as “Roots of Knowledge.” The art highlights individuals throughout world cultures and history who have made contributions to the pool of human knowledge and innovation. After the project was completed, Holdman felt the beginnings of the story in her heart and in her mind. 

“The idea would not let go so I knew it needed to be given life. The goal in sharing the story is to remind each human soul that there is no one else exactly like them on the planet-never has been and never will be. Each one of us has vast potential for good and inspires the world in a very individual and personal way,” said Holdman.

Gayle understands that the more people see who they truly are and add their gifts and talents to the world, the more belonging and positivity exist to bless everyone, everywhere. “All are illuminated as the light in each soul shines brighter,” said Holdman. 


The text of the book was finished in 2018, due to other project deadlines at the studio, the completion of the book was postponed until 2020. 

Holdman said, “With the world in despair and uproar, I knew I must not put it off any longer and I began working with two of the studio’s artists to beautifully and effectively illustrate the design concepts that were in my head.” 

The book was illustrated by Dallin Orr and Irina Harding. Orr has always enjoyed drawing and was a lead artist for the Roots of Knowledge project.

“As a child, Dallin loved to draw, especially things like monsters, planets, and dinosaurs. He also wanted to be an astronaut. Ultimately, he followed his gift and passion for creativity and ended up earning a Master of Fine Art in Illustration,” said Holdman.

Harding has always loved drawing and art. Currently, Harding teaches art to children as she is passionate about encouraging children to find their natural creativity.

Holdman said, “Born in Russia, Irina moved to the United States when she was 21. It was challenging to live in a different culture, speak a different language, and still can be. Nevertheless, she loves new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring the world, through books, movies, and travel. She loves children’s books and hopes this book will spark creativity in everyone who reads it.”

The Roots of Humanity Foundation was established in 2017. Itsmission is to use art and education to foster esteem, connection, and creativity within individuals while making connections within the community. Roots of Humanity funded the publication of the book as part of its mission to educate and make connections.

“Roots of Humanity funded the publication of the children’s story as another way to teach, educate, and inspire. This book has also been presented at countless schools, bringing the community together and teaching the importance of self-worth to every child. The foundation is eager to meet more of the youth and share this message with them,” said Holdman. 


The Piece That is You was published in 2021 and became a best seller, which is not what Holdman expected as she grew up shy and knows what it feels like to wonder if you fit in. As a now award-winning author, Holdman is making a positive difference in the world with her book and hopes “she is helping others to do the same.”

When asking Holdman how it feels to be honored by the Mom’s Choice Awards, she is excited as well as humble. 

“As a voracious reader as a child, I would often choose a book from the library because it was an award winner. There are millions of books out there to choose from. Validation from a credible international organization, such as the Mom’s Choice Awards, gives a book much greater reach and opportunity. The Mom’s Choice Gold Medal Award is their highest level of honor and is given only to work that successfully promotes the positive welfare of individuals, families, and communities. I am ecstatic, giddy, delighted, grateful, and humbled to receive this award. It’s a gift to my heart,” said Holdman. 

The book explores the potential of every human in a unique way and includes beautiful and captivating illustrations. It can be purchased on the website


Continue Reading