This Artist Spotlight is part of the 6th week of the Build Your Masterpiece Class, an Art & Literature-based curriculum plan, where you and your kids will Read, Paint + Cook Your Way Through Europe.
Artist Spotlight Today is on both:
Julia Inserro, Children’s Book Author + Lucy Smith, Children’s Book Illustrator, with their Newest Book, Nonni’s Moon, Released July 2018
Today, we are reading a lovely book called “Nonni’s Moon” by Julia Inserro and Lucy Smith, and this story is about a little girl and her grandmother, (Nonni) who cannot see each other as often as they both wish they could, and they come up with a lovely way to communicate with one another, by sending messages through the moon! At bedtime, they both talk to the moon, as if they are talking to one another, and they listen for the other’s message before they fall asleep. Their messages bring hope as they struggle with missing one another. This book brings that hope home to all of us reading the story, who may be to relate to this story on a personal level, and who are unable to see their family who lives far away. Our Artist Spotlight is shining on the Author and the Illustrator of this Newly Released Book, which we are so excited to have within our Build Your Masterpiece Class!
Julia Inserro, Children’s Book Author
Julia Inserro is from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, but grew up mostly in Ohio. She and her husband moved to the Middle East with their three cats! They are currently living in Bahrain- which is a tiny island next to Saudi Arabia. She is now a mom to three littles, a writer, reader, photographer, and explorer.
Nonni’s Moon is her first children’s book she has written, which has just been released this summer of 2018. She has traveled to 9 Countries and finds inspiration from her children. She says that she finds the things they say, observe and comment on are brilliant, they are just exploding with ideas and she merely tries to latch on and take notes.
When asked where her inspiration came from for the book, Nonni’s Moon, Julia said that the inspiration actually came from her mother and her children. The story goes, that one day, her mother, (their Nonni) told her that she was really missing them all, but she had looked up at the moon and realized that we all get to see the exact same moon. This made her feel better and a little closer to them. Upon hearing this, Julia said that it planted a seed in her mind and heart, and she let that seed germinate for a few months. It was one morning when dropping her children off to nursery school, that she took a drive to the beach, in Bahrain, and sat in her car and wrote the first draft of Nonni’s Moon, about 20 months ago. The inspiration came, and she took it!
Julia’s advice to any young budding Authors out there is this;
The best advive I have gotten and can give to anyone who wants to write, is to read and write a lot. Just read for fun, but let the words and cadence soak in. Then write, write, write and find your own voice. Don’t try to mimic others, but see what you like in others – simple, precise text, flowery prose, intense description, lengthy dialogue, etc. The great thing about writing is that there are so many different styles and so many different readers. Not everyone has to love Dr. Seuss or William Wordsworth or Stephen King. There are readers for (almost) all writers out there. And while you might not ever make a living out of it, it’s always something you can do on the side. If you love to write, you’ll do it any way you can. ~ Julia Inserro
Isn’t that just wonderful, it sure brings a tear to my eye, and smile to my face, as I am a mom of three children as well, and I can relate to her latching on to their brilliance, and taking notes! Let’s all take that in today, whether we are moms, children with bright ideas, or older students very interested in writing. Let the seed germinate, and grow, and do not forget to keep reading and writing!
You can find free Nonni’s Moon Coloring pages when you visit her Blog and Buy the book on Amazon, and there is a Kindle Version as well. Books will be available Sept. 2018 for Amazon.ca, and we are so excited to have her and her book featured here in our Build Your Masterpiece Class!
Lucy Smith, Children’s Book Illustrator
Lucy Smith is from England, a beautiful town called Cheshire, which is close to Manchester. She is a mother to two adorable young children and is also a freelance Illustrator, who specializes in children’s picture books. She loves to create jewelry with crystals, sketching and drawing as well as graphics design but particularly enjoys reading children’s literature, and can be found writing stories of her own when she isn’t reading the latest Harry Potter novel, or taking hikes in the forest. She says that she gains inspiration from the books she reads and pours it into the books she illustrates.
And that is true with Nonni’s Moon, as you can see with every turn of the page, Lucy has truly poured her inspiration into this books’ illustrations; from the detail she shows us about the characters and the settings in the book, from what clothes Beanie likes to wear, to the wallpaper in the babies room, to the wonderful bridging effect the moon has on our beloved characters, to all of the cats that Julia has, which have been placed throughout the book, and are very fun to spot along the way! You can really see that Lucy truly got to know Julia’s family, of whom the book was based on and it’s in that process where Lucy finds her inspiration for her art! This is part of her process as an Artist, to get to know all the details and do research for every page, which she relates to like unto the role of ‘movie director’, being able to choose your camera angles, the lighting, and atmosphere, as well as painting the scene throughout the book, having the reader engaged as they turn from page to page.
“I felt the Moon needed to repeat throughout the illustrations, acting as a constant between Nonni’s and Beanie’s locations and I put a lot of thought into how the moon could be used best to ‘bridge’ the two locations together.” ~Lucy Smith, about Nonni’s Moon
Lucy Smith wanted to share with you all some behind the scenes photos of her creative process, both with the front cover of the book, to the Character development of Beanie, the sweet girl who is the main character in the story.
It is wonderful to see the dedication and joy she has for her career and her artistic process in illustrating a children’s storybook from start to finish, and she is surely an inspiration for young readers and budding Illustrators alike who may one day become an artist like her, writing and illustrating their own stories.
“My advice for young budding illustrators would be to create your own simple story to illustrate, and illustrate it in your own style. There are many elements to consider, all of which help to tell the story to create excitement and impact on the reader.”
Lucy Smith also recommends that the best way to learn how to be a children’s book illustrator is to immersion yourself in books! Read your favorite children’s books, see how they are illustrated, really dive deep and pick out what works and maybe what doesn’t work. She believes in testing out different techniques, styles, and perspectives, using various tools and experiment a little, or a lot! That is key to developing your own, individual creative style.
It is my hope that with the Build Your Masterpiece Class, with progressing through these 10 weeks, you and your children will do just that! Read many children’s books, and test out new artistic techniques that are sure to help open our creative minds, and get those juices flowing! Let us be inspired today, by both of these amazing women, who have shared with us a little treasure of knowledge about writing and illustrating a children’s book, Nonni’s Moon. A book I know I will want to pick up and read again and again with my children.
Talking with both Julia and Lucy, and getting to know them so much more has been a huge pleasure of mine, and in fact, this book has inspired me so much, it has lead to the creation of our next Art Project for the Build Your Masterpiece Class, during the first week of our England study. To check that out find the link in your Build Your Masterpiece Class PDF Plan, or click here to see it.
Find more details about this Art Project in this Post Here, or by clicking on the image above.
I hope you all are enjoying your time with Build Your Masterpiece Class and if you are at this Artist Spotlight, it means you are in England, learning so many lovely things! Congratulations! I wish you the best of luck with Reading, Painting and Cooking your way through Europe with your kids! Please share your experience by using the hashtag #buildyourmasterpiececlass and you may be featured on my Instagram feed!
Till next time,
Breathe Deeply and enjoy building your masterpiece with scissors and glue,