When I first heard about this new book by Elisavet Arkolaki, it immediately intrigued me, as the title reminded me about one of my favourite paintings by French post-Impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin. The painting I’m referring to is; Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Elisavet Arkolaki is a mother, a professional writer, and also runs www.maltamum.com which is the top parenting blog in Malta.
Where am I from? is a new children's book featuring 12 illustrations-murals, 1 mural for the book cover, and a wonderful message. To put it simply, it wants to bring a message of peace & unity while teaching children about different countries, and the beauty of street art & graffiti. In fact, the artist will paint on walls, and then proceed with taking high resolution pictures with a professional camera. The murals will be painted in Athens by Platon, a most well-known street artist in Greece, and his pictures will accompany the story. This is the very first time, that a children’s book will be illustrated entirely with street art.
There’s even a sweet story behind how the author decided to collaborate with this particular artist, who will bring her idea to life. “Because we are good friends. I know him since we were in our early 20s, and he has evolved into an amazing artist through the years. He’s also a father of a young child, so we could share the same vision about this book,” author Elisavet Arkolaki said.
The book portrays a total number of 9 kids from around the world, with different racial backgrounds. These kids gather together to try to find a universal answer to the question: Where am I from? It will take these young ones on a quest in search of common origins. There’s a lot of travelling in the story, and the kids push forward their own points of view, so that they may arrive at a rational conclusion and solve the riddle.
It’s a picture book packed with a universal positive message and jaw-droppingly beautiful street art. Like all picture books, it’s meant to be read to a child, and gives the adult reader the opportunity to fill in as much detail as they would like. Parents can use reading time as bonding time. As time when no phones are being checked. When the distractions of the world are put aside.
To fund this innovative book project, a total of €10,500 needs to be raised by Wednesday, August 15th. A crowdfunding campaign is now live on Kickstarter with lots of rewards up for grabs. Backers can choose anything in between eBooks and hardcover books, all the way up to the possibility of sponsoring a mural and having a book character painted after their child.
Provided the campaign is fully funded, Faraxa will be publishing this book, which is mainly targeting children from pre-school to 8-year-olds. The artist will complete the murals by end of May 2019. Faraxa will be finalising the book production by end of July 2019, and finally, in August 2019, the books and e-books will be released. Where am I from? will be available for purchase on the Faraxa Publishing's website, while more updates can be found on the Malta Mum Facebook Page in the coming months.
This article was originally published last Wednesday 18 July on MaltaToday.