Milk+Bookies is proud to spotlight Elicia Castaldi as our Author Champion of the week. The Milk+Bookies mission is to join together a community of parents, authors, and community leaders to promote literacy and service learning among youth. Not only is Elicia Castaldi one of our favorite creative illustrators and authors, but she is also a dedicated supporter of our mission to increase access to books for underserved communities. For this reason, we are very proud to spotlight Elicia’s new children’s book, The Food Parade on sale December 31st! This imaginative book introduces children to the 5 food groups and explains in a fun and easy way how they nourish our bodies. Castaldi’s new book seamlessly teaches children healthy eating habits and tells an exciting story everyone will love! Milk+Bookies is glad to have her as a supporter and believe you will enjoy The Food Parade with your little ones!
The author took time to answer some of our questions to give us more information on her and her new book!
How was working on your own picture book, The Food Parade, different from the other children’s books you have worked on before?
Each of the four books I’ve illustrated have been different in lots of ways, but this one was very special because it was my first published book as both author and illustrator. It’s truly a dream come true. Creatively, when it’s your own manuscript, you’re in your own little bubble with both the words and the pictures. Everything is more inward-focused. I really love being in that bubble, but it’s a different kind of excitement to collaborate on books, such as the middle school series I worked on with Jennifer L. Holm. I enjoy all of it, I absolutely love making books.
What was your inspiration for The Food Parade?
My inspiration came from my own childhood curiosities. When I was a young girl I was always enamored with what foods “did” — meaning, what were their health benefits (probably from watching Popeye on tv). If I was eating carrots, I would ask my parents to tell me again what carrots did for us — nutrition seemed very magical. The Food Parade is exactly the kind of book I would have enjoyed reading when I was a kid.
What were your favorite foods to eat as a child and has that changed from now?
I had so many favorite foods growing up. The very condensed list would be: my dad’s lentil soup, my grandmother’s lasagna, sweet potatoes, spinach with black olives and stuffed artichokes. Lentil soup is still my ultimate favorite food. I still love the same foods today that I did as a child, except for foods like jalapeños and anchovies – those affinities happened later in life.
Who is your favorite character from Food Parade?
Ooh — tough decision! All of the characters have their own kooky vibe. Perhaps my favorite is the very snazzy lamb chop, though I also adore the pancake in roller-skates. Food Town is a fun little world.
What advice can you offer to parents trying to get their children to eat healthy, well-rounded meals?
I’m not a parent yet, so I can only speculate. However, I would say that leading by example is the biggest thing a parent can do. If children see their parents enjoying healthy meals and being kind to their bodies, it makes an impression. My mom had a huge influence on how healthy I am today. That’s why I dedicated my book to her.
Will you continue to make children’s books as an author/illustrator and do you have any future projects we can look forward to?
Absolutely! I have a few picture book ideas that I’m in the process of developing. I’m not sure which will become books – that’s up to the publishing world. My hope is that I can keep making all kinds of books. Besides lentil soup, books are my favorite thing in the world.
Do you have any readings or upcoming signings?
I do! I will be doing a few different book events in 2014. The first is in LA with your lovely organization Milk + Bookies! The bookstore and date are still in the works. I will also be having a book signing at Whole Foods Market in Providence, Rhode Island sometime in early spring. I will be posting info on my website and my Facebook author/illustrator page Elicia Castaldi.
Where can people find The Food Parade to buy and share with their children?
If you are interested in joining our internship program, check out our Opportunities page HERE.
As Milk+Bookies Staff, we are incredibly lucky to spend most of our days surrounded by storybooks.
With years of story times and book-raisers under our belt, we have over time created a long list of our favorite children’s books, a collection you can find on our website HERE.
We recently came across a new work titled Journey by Aaron Becker and fell in love. We knew instantly that this book belonged on our treasured list of favorites.
Becker’s debut picture book is filled with breathtaking illustrations including those featured above and below. With each new page, Journey follows a young girl on an adventure of a lifetime from one magical realm to the next within her own imagination. The message of Journey is beautiful: there is nothing quite as magnificent as the creative power of our own imagination. Becker’s work inspires children to dream, to create, to imagine, and we can’t think of anything more magical than that.
We’re not alone in our love for Journey. The New York Times Book Review wrote, “Though Becker has plenty of experience as an artist for films, “Journey” is his first book, and it’s a masterwork.”
Watch the trailer below to see for yourself the beauty of this new picture book:
Make sure to stock up this holiday season on plenty of copies of Aaron Becker’s Journey for your loved ones!
We are SO excited to announce our holiday partnership with Splendid!
Come into ANY Splendid store nationwide and receive 50% off an item for every 5 books you donate! Books can be new or gently used, and will benefit children right in your own neighborhood.
PLUS, if you’re an LA based family, the Los Angeles area Splendid locations will be hosting special story times next week! Bring your little ones in their jammies for cookies, cocoa, & bedtime stories read by a special guest reader!
Friday, December 13, 6PM at Splendid on Montana Avenue: 1324 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Saturday, December 14, 6PM at Splendid at The Grove: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036