The Book Tree is one of my favorite picture books I have done so far. I had lots of fun illustrating it. I loved Paul’s story, and I got lots of cool visual ideas right after reading it.

I chose oil, acrylic and ink as my materials, and I added more depth and a 3D feeling by using a collage technique with some textured papers and newspapers. Also, I used golden paint to show the magical quality of the tree that actually grows books. I picked primary colors — red, blue and yellow — for my color palette, and I tried to keep everything thing simple and effective both in forms and colors. I attempted to represent a universal classic with modern images so everybody can relate to this book. I designed my characters so that the story could be told as either in the past or in the future.

Once the artwork was finished, the team at Barefoot sent it to a book printer in Hong Kong to be professionally scanned. Then they tried out many different types of gold ink for the magical trees, until they found one that printed just right. I was lucky to work with a great team at Barefoot Books!

I was inspired by books and pages of the books in different languages, and  influenced by the spirit of the fiction and non fiction picture books, to create a book that shows the magical moments in our lives. My favorite part of the story is when Arlo reads his stories out loud in the rain for people passing by, but sadly no one listens to him. 

I would like this book to remind kids about the excitement of reading a new book or a new story. Books are our best friends and they help us to fly with our imaginations up in the wonderland sky. The Book Tree tells us that if you never give up on your dreams and believe in yourself like Arlo, you can change the world to be a better place for everyone.

– Rashin Kheiriyeh

Just like Arlo in THE BOOK TREE, Rashin stood up for herself and persevered to follow her dreams to become an illustrator. Check out the video below to hear her full story. Big things can happen when you stand up for what you believe in!

Watch the video here.

If you want to inspire the kids in your life to stand up for what they believe in, don’t miss out on our new release, THE BOOK TREE, available in September 2018.

What will Arlo do when the Mayor destroys all the books in town? Click here to learn more.

Paul Czajak struggled with reading and writing as a child, and never thought he’d end up writing books. But after working as a scientist for 20 years, he discovered that his creativity could no longer be contained to the laboratory. Now he hopes his books will be the seeds to a new generation of book gardeners! Paul lives in New Jersey, USA.

Rashin Kheiriyeh is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning illustrator, author, animation director and painter who has more than 70 children’s books published around the world. Born in Iran, she is now a professor at the University of Maryland College Park and lives in Washington, DC, USA.


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