On July 3, juniors Andrea Silvera and Shiva Kaveh published an illustrated picture book titled “African Life”, a colorful story about a boy named Sombron who lives in Madagascar.
In “African Life”, Sombron is a privileged boy who goes to school and spends time with his friends and family. One day, a sudden earthquake destroys his once carefree lifestyle and sets him on a journey of self discovery where he learns the meaning of taking what he needs, not just what he wants, all while meeting a helpful friend along the way.
Although this illustrated 21 page book took the pair about a year to complete, the planning behind it began years before, while they were in seventh grade.
The two first met in sixth grade at Del Mar Middle School and quickly became good friends. Only a year later, the duo took the initial steps in the long process of creating their own published book.
Kaveh was the one to come up with the idea of creating a children’s book. Knowing Silvera’s passion for art, Kaveh decided to ask her to be the illustrator for “African Life”.
“Originally [the book was] just for fun. Also, I had written a picture book for my younger cousins, that I gave to them, which made me decide to start writing this one,” Kaveh said.
Kaveh drew inspiration from her love of the island of Madagascar, and looked to resources like her public library and her parents for help.
“As far as writing, I wrote it and then I talked to my mom and the public library near me, the Belvedere Tiburon Library. I got their feedback on how to make a picture book, and how to make it kid friendly,” Kaveh said.
Silvera worked with the text that Kaveh produced and created sketches for each page, using colored pencils and markers for color. Once she was done, she would scan the image and edit the image on photoshop to make it ready for print.
Silvera also looked for resources to help make the book more appealing to children.
“To help me with the illustrations, I checked out some cartoon books because I really wanted it to be kid friendly. That’s why I made the illustrations much more cartoony,” Silvera said.
On July 3, the book was finally published and became available for purchase on a self-publishing website called Lulu.com. With a price set at $24.99, their book has sold a total of four copies so far.
Both Kaveh and Silvera see themselves using their creative skills again in the future. Although Kaveh likes to write, she sees it as a future hobby rather than an occupation, and Silvera wishes to use her creativity to market for STEM fields (occupations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“STEM fields are actually demanding artists to market their products. I plan on either being a graphic designer for those companies or something else,” Silvera said.
Becoming published was a memorable moment for both girls, who are happy with the book’s reception.
“I’m able to finally share my work with people. I’m receiving positive feedback from people and some profit as well. It shows that the hard work really paid off,” Silvera said.