The 18th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord, Massachusetts Museum is quickly approaching! This year, the wonderful illustrator of Lola’s Fandango, Micha Archer, has the great honor of decorating the main tree at the exhibit. The Family Trees exhibit will be open from November 27 – January 1 and all proceeds benefit the Concord Museum’s education initiatives. If you’re in the New England area this season, bring the whole family to see Micha’s tree and dozens of others inspired by children’s stories!  If you’re not in the area, please share with those who are, it’s a real treat for children’s book lovers.

Micha is busily working away at bringing the Lola’s Fandango tree to life, and she was kind enough to tell us a bit about her creative process.

What do you hope that children and families will get out of the Family Trees experience?

I hope it brings the story alive for the readers. When they go back to reading it they will remember the tree and maybe will look more closely at the illustrations to see how I created them. I always hope to inspire people to be creative, to make up their own stories and to experiment with different materials.

What are you hoping that children and families will experience when they visit the Lola’s Fandango tree?

The colors that are used for Flamenco dancing and in the book Lola’s Fandango go well with the holiday theme; the red and white and polkadots. This will make a very festive tree. If people are familiar with Lola’s Fandango it will be like a game finding the different characters and objects from the story.

Can you share a bit about how you came up with the ideas for the decorations – what the process has been like?

I love making 3D paper objects and sometimes get frustrated that I have to flatten my work for books, so this is fun for me. I looked through the book and found the things that would lend themselves to hanging from the branches and that would look good turning slowly on the tree when people walk by.

How did you find those adorable little polka dot shoes?

I found them in a Goodwill store and painted the white dots, same with Mami’s black shoes, I painted the red dots on hers.

What is your favorite decoration and why?

I like the Lola dolls. I was amazed at how Lola came alive when she is 3 dimensional and then to see them all together It looked like a little dance recital.

Do you have a festive tree in your own family each holiday season? If so, what are some ways that you decorate it? If not, do you decorate for the holidays? If so, what sorts of materials do you use?

We haven’t had a big tree since my kids were little. I like decorating a little living tree that we have sometimes.  We spend Christmas with my sister who has 3 lovely girls. They often have 2 trees to decorate! My sister has all the ornaments from our childhood and I usually add a few each year. I love making birds (I made pigeons for the “Lola” tree) I often make birds as gifts around the holidays. The paper I create for my collage work is a perfect texture for making ornaments.

What is your favorite winter holiday memory?

Making ornaments out of old-fashioned clothespins. We made the craziest characters. I remember creating a hippie with a pink pompom afro.  Making gingerbread men was always fun too, they became elaborate sculptures that we didn’t want to eat because we were so proud of them.

Which character in Lola’s Fandango do you most closely connect with and why?

Papi, because he understands how you have to internalize something to learn it well. I think that is an important message for kids. Hard work every day and gradually what you want is yours forever.

 

What’s next for your art career?

I am writing and illustrating now. I have sold a book idea that will come out in March 2015. I am excited about this. Now I am constantly writing books in my head and I feel like my world is expanding before me.


Those who visit the Family Trees exhibit on Sunday, December 8 in the afternoon will have a unique opportunity to meet Micha and hear how she brought the tree to life through Lola! Copies of Lola’s Fandango will be available for sale and for Micha to sign. More information about Family Trees is at www.concordmusuem.org.

To buy the book: US Shoppers / UK Shoppers. The book is also available in Spanish at our US shop.

Be sure to check out this behind-the-scenes video about Lola’s Fandango, featuring the voice cast of the book — the Amador family!

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