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Jacqui Oakley 2015
Last Winter I illustrated my very first kids book, Lighting our World, a Year of Celebrations, and I’m so pleased to announce it’s out now! This was published by Kids Can Press, written by Catherine Rodina and art directed by the very sweet Julia Naimska. You can now get it now from Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Chapters or Indigo.
This is a kids non-fiction book which focuses on colourful lighting festivals around the world where people use light — candles, bonfires, lanterns and fireworks — to celebrate special occasions. The book is an illuminating tour of the world’s brightest and warmest festivities seen through the eyes of children (and it even has Vikings! What kid doesn’t love a Viking?). The festivals are from all over the world and included some you might know and some you might not. I was thrilled to find out about a few I didn’t know about. Definitely a good reason to go on a trip. The book includes: Up Helly Aa, Chinese New Year, Las Fallas, Nowruz, Walpurgis Night, Cinco de Mayo, Inti Raymi, Obon, Tet Trung Thu, Diwali, Ramadan, and Hanukkah as well as many others.
As a kid I was was lucky to travel a lot with my family. I especially remember Ramadan, having lived in Bahrain during my childhood, as well as the bonfires of England’s Guy Fawkes day, including the fun of making a Guy dummy and throwing him onto the fire (strange tradition I know). More recently, I lived for a few months in Shanghai, China and experienced the insanity of Chinese New Year – there was a week or two where I had to watch for rogue fireworks whizzing by my ear.
I can’t show all the pages (you’ll have to buy the book for that!), but I’ll do a couple more posts on the book in the coming weeks including some of my process work. Here’s a start…
Up Helly Aa takes places takes place in Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, on the last Tuesday in January every year. It involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley to send it on it’s way to Valhalla. The festival is complete with a whole town dressed up as Vikings and those lucky few nominated as the Viking king (the Guizer Jarl) who is of course accompanied by his Jarl Squad. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands, where this festival has been celebrated since 1870 . Sounds like a brilliant time to me.
Below: The parade – photo by Millgaet Media / 2009 Jarl Stephen Mouat by Dave Donaldson both from the Up Helly Aa site
On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month Vietnam has a fun festival especially for children called Têt-Trung-Thu (tet-troony-too), the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Vietnamese folklore, parents worked so hard to prepare for the harvest that they forgot about their children. To make up for lost time, parents use the Mid-Autumn festival as an opportunity to show their love and appreciation for their kids. The festival is filled with moon cakes, songs and wonderfully amusing lanterns including all sorts of stars, fish and bird shapes.
Please let me know If anyone gets this book for their kid since I’d love to know what their reaction to the book is. My niece tended to like all the pink pages.
More posts coming soon!