Sunday, January 06, 2019


earlier last year, in the span of just a few months, my grandfather and my wife's grandmother passed away. they were the eldest remaining member of their generation in each of our families.

my daughter knew of them, but never really knew them. she knows little or nothing of her heritage, and the refugee's journey each of these immigrants took to start their live over again here.

there is lots of noise going around immigrants about refugees. whether in the Middle East or our own border. it's humbling, paralyzing, infuriating, and heartbreaking. i see my daughter. i see my grandparents.

when our daughter was born, the one universal thing we heard was "read to her" - which is a consistent tradition. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 books nightly. it's usually the best part of our day. as most people know about me, i have strong opinions about content creators - books, comics, films (Chabon, Eggers, Horby / Bendis, Moore, Waid, / Anderson, Scorsese, Nolan)

reading to my daughter each night, i slowly formed the same preferences - Beatty, Boyton, Carle, Lim, Muth, Lim, Willems.

then it hit me.

on a crowded commute into the city, I decided to do the same for my daughter.

i would write about my grandparents journey. from India to Africa, as migrants. from Africa to England (as refugees). from England to America, as immigrants. I would not be here if it were not for their journey.

i started writing. 
first an outline, then some art direction, then some words, then some rhymes.

then i started drawing.
pencils, inks, colors, layout. late nights and long weekends with a lamp, sketchbook, pencils, and sharpener. i filled with"easter eggs" - family and cultural touchstones that mark things that the words could not. the UK phone number or MGM address here, the Beatles reference there.


then i printed it. 

10 copies - for my daughter, my mom, my sister (and her kids). and finally the remaining family who shared my maternal grandparents. a couple extras as "thank yous" to the children's authors that inspired me.

now we read it regularly. and my daughter asks lots of questions. the story is hers now.

the next book? about my wife's family journey (China to Jamaica to Canada to America). it will definitely take more research and more effort. i'd better get started.

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