I’ve been learning quite a bit about Ghana during this project, even IF it is from an ABC picture book for children. It just confirms to me that we are on the right track and that this book will make an impact on all who read it. The Kapok Tree is a tropical tree found on a number of different continents (well according to Wikipedia), but it is also the tallest tree that grows in all of Africa. I’ve seen some of Marilyn’s photos she’s taken of the tree and it really an incredible tree.
The creative genius, James Burks was wrangled into the Letter K (and by “wrangled” I mean I asked and he said yes). I first met James a couple years ago and picked up the first two picture/comic books of his Gabby and Gator characters. He is able to tell just some of the most hilarious stories with just his pictures in many cases. The picture he did for his page shows a scene that Marilyn has said is quite common in Northern Ghana, with animals resting under the shelter of a mighty Kapok.
James Burks works in storyboarding for TV animation and has worked in feature animation on movies including The Emperor’s New Groove, Space Jam and The Iron Giant. His first graphic novel for kids, GABBY AND GATOR, was published by Yen Press and is a Junior Library Guild selection. James also has an upcoming picture book with Lerner/Carolrhoda entitled BEEP AND BAH, a new graphic novel with Scholastic/Graphix, and will be illustrating a picture book for Simon & Schuster/Aladdin.
More soon, stay tuned!