JANICE: Wonderful connections happen with books. In planning the May 1st release party for Anna Maria's Gift at Book People,I knew we must have three things — a reading of Chapter 1, violin playing by a young girl, and Italian creme cake. Sweetish Hill provided the cake, and I did the reading of the chapter in which Anna Maria plays the violin for her papa on his deathbed. My friend, pianist and teacher Felicity Coltman, found our "Anna Maria" to play the violin. Her name is Gelsomina. We have become friends with the whole family. She calls us Ms. Janice and Mr. Tom, and I call her my angel. Here we are rehearsing as she plays the largo from Vivaldi's D Minor Concerto, just as Anna Maria does.
The performance was a touching success that brought tears to some eyes, including mine. Gelsomina played from her heart as if she were truly Anna Maria. And then we all recovered over Anna Maria's cake!
There is a bit of serendipity involved here. Our picture book, I, Vivaldi, has recently been published in Korea. It happens that Gelsomina's mother and violin coach is Korean and her father is appropriately Italian. In thanks for her playing, Tom and I presented the family with this Korean edition as well as a copy of Anna Maria's Gift just for Gelsomina.
This is a place for us to talk about making books together as writer and illustrator. So, come join us at Shoal Creek Studios where we live and work. You will find out where ideas come from, about our research adventures, how we work together, and much more. All in good time as we find it. Welcome.
The illustration above is from I, Vivaldi, our picture book biography of Antonio Vivaldi who lived in Venice, our favorite city in the world.