We are delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for 'Kaya's Heart Song' by Diwa Tharan Sanders, illustrated by Nerina Canzi, particularly because today is its book birthday!
When she hears her mother humming to herself, Kaya is curious. Her mother tells her it's her heart song- everyone has one- you just need to listen really carefully to find your own. Heading off to play, Kaya follows a new path through the jungle where she finds an old carousel, hidden in vines. As she starts to clear these away, Kaya's mind quietens and she finds her heart song which makes the carousel magically come to life.
'Kaya's Heart Song' is about mindfulness and finding your own heart song, offering plenty to discuss and enjoy. The book would work really well with both younger and older children as it can be read in different ways.
The illustrations are stunning- full of vibrant colours and beautiful shapes. I shared the book with some children from book group and they were completely captivated by the pictures. They were absolutely delighted when they had the chance to ask the illustrator, Nerina, some questions. They were very impressed when her answers came back in both Spanish and English!
How long have you been illustrating books? Is this your first?
I started four years ago when a friend of mine, called Fina -who lives in Menorca- wrote a story for children; she asked me to illustrate it and so I could recreate the dream I had when I was studying Fine Arts, where I used to draw the stories that another friend -called Marcela- read to her students.
There are elephants on one of the cushions Kaya is sitting on when she is talking to her mother at the beginning of the story. Did you deliberately add to link with the ones on the carousel later?
Yes, and I love that you discovered it!
The elephant’s ears look like butterfly wings. Did you do this on purpose?
No, I did not think about butterflies but I did see the ears of elephants flying. Now that you see butterflies, I also see butterflies.
Lots of the leaves and the butterflies are shaped like hearts. Was this a conscious choice or did you find it just happened as you were painting the pictures?
Heart-shaped butterflies appeared while I was painting. Always, the best appears when you do not expect it.
Do you hear your heart song when painting?
Yes, it is when I hear my heart song that I paint well. When I paint badly it is because I am distracted from the music in my heart.
Many thanks to Nerina for answering our questions. You can buy copies of 'Kaya's Heart Song' from their website. There are other blog posts about this lovely book planned as part of the tour so to find out more, have a look at some of these.