June 14, 2010
- Sara Fanelli, The Map Book [Italy]. Sara is a slight and fiery woman—with her flyaway curls, childlike excitement, and passionate manner, she seemed to me to be some sort of a cross between an Audrey Hepburn and a Meg Ryan. As a result, it was a delight to learn of her beginnings and experiences as an innovative and highly successful children’s book author and illustrator. More so than anyone else I have met, she made me feel like this was a field within reach—not just a vague pipe dream for me. With little in the way of formal training, and nothing in the way of her eclectic creativity, she has broken the rules in exciting ways . . . to the delight of children everywhere.
As I listened to her, I kept thinking, “Wow, you think like that too?” and “Your brain does those finny things with words and pictures also?” Furthermore, she was only in college when first published, and her career has been booming ever since.
One specific idea that jumped out at me was The map book, in which she illustrated “maps” of unexpected objects and ideas, such as a dog, a day, and—a bit more expectedly—a treasure map. A second idea that intrigued me was her use of comic book strips in a longer picture book—Dreamtime—in order to speed up the narrative slightly.
She is, in short, an inspiration!