JOURNEY TO JAZZLAND BY GIA VOLTERRA DE SAULNIER
1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about
Join Windy Flute, Spitz Trumpet and their friends as they travel to a legendary place where music is joyous, creative and free. Windy Flute gets bored one day in Orchestra and wants to learn more about jazz. This picture book inspires kids to learn more about music and jazz.
2) What inspired you to write this book?
Actually, I wrote this picture book as a project for a class at Bunker Hill Community College in 1999. The project was to write and draw a picture book for children.
I happen to be a jazz flutist and wanted to tell my story of how I started to play music, but in a fun way. I also am a huge proponent of keeping music in schools. Never did I think that this book would be published, and now that it is, I’m inspiring kids to learn more about music and bringing back jazz to the forefront!
3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
I love jazz and have been playing jazz for over 20 years now. I thought Jazzland was a cool place that kids could go to. I didn’t realize until later that “Jazzland” actually existed in New Orleans as an Amusement park that got destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I also found out later that “Jazzland” is a club in Vienna somewhere. The characters were going on a Journey and I thought Jazzland was a cool place!
4) Why did you pick this genre?
I guess it picked me, I never really thought about writing a children’s picture book.
5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Actually, I did the original illustrations for the book back in 1999, but when the Publisher said they wanted their own illustrator to do the artwork, I was a little tentative, but very pleased with what she did. I think that Ms. Zieroth did a fantastic job with the artwork and created loveable characters, and a brilliant colour scheme to make it really pop.
6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
Oh so many to say here, but for picture books, I’d have to say Maurice Sendack of “Where the Wild Things Are” and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. Both of these books still stay with me today. I think that’s what makes a great book. Something that you can say you have read a book and have your children and grandchildren to remember. You can’t put a price on that.
7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
I never expected to be an author. I think that my book has impacted kids to learn more about music and jazz. I also know that some music teachers have really appreciated my book. Most recently, a famous Jazz musician David “Dawi” Williams LOVED my book – that is just amazing to me!
8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
I hope that they read it and take away the fact that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Yes, the book is about jazz, but really, it’s any Journey they want to achieve. They can find friends along the way to make their dreams come true, so why not go for the dream rather than be stuck in something that they really don’t want to do. I also hope that they ask questions about jazz and bring the discussion about jazz music as it’s a Music History we really shouldn’t forget about.
9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I like any book really. I love a good mystery. I also liked “Life of Pi” as it was really interesting, and “Angels and Demons” by David Brown. I think his twist of facts and fiction is so entwined, you really aren’t sure what is fiction and what the facts are.
10) What are you working on now?
I’m toying with “Boogie in Bluestown” at the moment, maybe where the instruments characters learn more about Blues, I already have a new character called “Henry Harp” in my head. I need to figure out a way to bring up Blues Music without going into depression. I’ve been thinking about how some kids might be sad, and that music has the power to make you feel better, hence why you might play the blues.