Launching the Montecristo Travels Children’s Books!
We have some huge news! An announcement of epic proportions!
We are launching our own series of children’s books! Yup, you heard it, Dear Reader – a series of children’s books, featuring Yours Truly, of course! The first book, Montecristo Travels to Pisa, will be available November 2014. You read correctly: this November! *tail wag*
In a nutshell, Montecristo Travels to Pisa (and all future books) takes young children exploring the world, expanding their vocabulary, learning about diversity, and enjoying some beautiful art.
Speaking of art, the book is illustrated by artist Allison (Allie) MacAlister. Allison has had dual passions for animals and creativity since she was a wee one. She started a pet-focused art and design business, AlliePets, in 2009, bringing her work to pet owners, businesses, and enthusiasts worldwide. And now she is bringing her incredible detail and loving attention to each illustration in Montecristo Travels to Pisa.
I want to take this moment to officially welcome this newest member of the Montecristo Travels Team! Allie lives in Ottawa with her Border Collie, Finnegan, and two ferrets. And we are immensely grateful to have Allie on board.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Travellers!
The stories in our children’s books are designed to whet the appetites of young (or future) travellers by purposely not featuring the usual landmarks. We didn’t want to focus on the usual, there being already plenty of fun and wonderful books out there for that. Instead, we’ve chosen to aim for those landmarks often seen as “secondary.” In Italy, for example, most would write about the Coliseum in Rome before featuring the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In France, the Eiffel Tower is often featured before the Louvre or Versailles. In Florida (USA), it would be Disney World rather than the Everglades. In Greece, it would be the Parthenon rather than sailing the small Cyclades Islands. And so on.
The books are also written to be a little more challenging than usual linguistically. We want to give a slight push to young readers, or give those already ahead of the game something fun to read that is still age appropriate. These books are meant to be read at home before a trip or in the car, plane or train on the way to the site featured, and read with someone who will take time to explain what words might mean and answer questions and engage in dialogue about what will be seen. And, although not a guidebook by adult standards, information of that nature is included for educational purposes.
But don’t worry, even if you aren’t traveling, the books are still a lot of fun!
We are all different and that is a good thing!
In every book, I meet a dog that is a breed-specific to that country or area! This is intended to help broaden children’s knowledge of the amazing variety of dogs out there. We canines are as diverse as humans, if not more so; yet, we usually find a way to get along despite our differences in size, country of origin, and so on. That’s a message of acceptance worth sharing, don’t you think?
In addition, things in my stories are often “unfair” due to my small size or because I am a dog rather than a human. This is something children can relate to when told, “You can do xyz, but only when you grow up!” or “You must be “this big” to get on the ride.” The sense of being excluded from special places or events for reasons that don’t seem to make sense to us is an experience we’ve all had at some time in our lives. Yet, such is life, and we must learn to deal with it gracefully – as I try to do in my stories.
I am not a fictional character!
Our hope is that the books are made more interesting by the fact that I am real. You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter and know me “in person.” My adventures are as real as I am. I don’t “speak” human; rather, the books act as a translator to understanding canine … just as my blog does.
I take the train and the plane and get into cars, but I don’t drive them. The books are not set in a world of make-belief but in this one. I am not human but I am human-like.
Every book is based on an actual moment and some place I have actually visited. Our illustrator, Allie, is very meticulous in her renditions of landmarks because the photos of me on location exist. They are there in the big wide interweb for all to see, so she must ensure that the illustrations speak to that reality.
I hope you will join me in my adventures, that you’ll read these books to yourself and to others.
To make things easiest for all, we will be offering the books in two formats: as a traditional paper picture book and as a digital publication for eReaders!
Many travellers now minimize their luggage weight by carrying their reading materials on eReaders or iPads, so it only makes sense to meet our travelling readers where they’re reading! Oh, and as a good Canadian, I have requested that the books be made available in both of our official languages – English and French. You’re welcome! De rien!
Do you want to know more about the book? Should I write a few posts along the way to give you sneak peeks? Do you think you might order one? In which format? Would you be buying a book for yourself? Family? A school or library? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.