Baby Ventures co-authors Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash welcome their second title, The ABCs of Annapolis! From Art scene to Zooplankton, each page brings Maryland’s capital city to life with Lisa’s vibrant artwork and personal affection for the city she now calls home. Learn all about the impetus behind The ABCs of Annapolis from Lisa and Golzar in the Q&A below!
What led to the choice of Annapolis, MD for Baby Ventures’ second title?
Baby Ventures is a globally-inspired company with DC and Maryland roots. Golzar and I met in DC in 2005 and became fast friends, co-workers and collaborators. I moved to Annapolis in 2009 – drawn to the city for its charm, thriving art scene and surrounding nature – and began selling Annapolis-themed children’s artwork at local boutiques and festivals. This artwork ultimately became the basis for our ABCs of Annapolis board book, after frequent requests from retailers and residents! Just as our inaugural ABCs of Washington, DC depicts a native take on our nation’s capital, this book showcases Maryland’s capital city from the distinct perspective of a long-time resident and local enthusiast.
Even though you are an Annapolis local, what kind of research do you do before beginning a book?
Golzar and I both come from advocacy and marketing backgrounds, so research is a must for us. Some may say children’s board books shouldn’t require much research, but we feel it’s quite the opposite: we’re trying to expand tots’ growing minds with our books and artwork, which means what we depict has to be accurate, inclusive and inspiring. For example, when working on the letter “S” for State House, I spent an afternoon visiting the building and walking around the grounds to ensure the illustration and historical details were correct. “U” is for undergrads at the local college. While researching this page, I toured the campus and obtained the reading list for students to accurately portray the books in my illustration.
What real-life adventures in Annapolis inspired the artwork for each letter in the book?
There is never a shortage of fun activities in this thriving community, and I really enjoyed bringing some of my favorites to life in the book. “P” is for Parade of Lights, a yearly holiday boat parade where folks decorate their boats with colorful lights for the wonderment and amusement of spectators gathered along the waterfront. And one of my all-time favorites is “T” for Tug of War, where “rival” neighborhoods Eastport and Annapolis battle in a tug of war over the water for bragging rights.
Baby Ventures books are designed to inspire youngsters to explore and embrace the diversity of their world early on. How does The ABCs of Annapolis achieve this?
Our mission at Baby Ventures is simple: to encourage children early on to explore all the places, cultures and creatures that make our diverse world the wonder-filled place that it is. Annapolis is a historic town, with residents from all walks of life, located on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, with a wide array of amazing animal creatures. We aim to showcase the beautiful diversity of people, animals and places in all of our books.
What makes The ABCs of Annapolis a great board book for little ones, even if they don’t live in or near Maryland?
With its vibrant artwork and multiple early learning elements, our Annapolis book is a literary adventure for all children, regardless of where they call home. Younger children can practice the alphabet while exploring new animals, colors and shapes, while older children will enjoy nuanced details and fun facts. For example: Did you know Annapolis was once the capital of the United States? And what exactly is zooplankton?!
Like its Washington, DC counterpart, The ABCs of Annapolis is also an ABCs primer. Will all Baby Ventures books be alphabet books? How do you choose the early learning element for each title?
As a local DC/Maryland-based company, we wanted to focus on local themes for our inaugural titles and felt that ABC primers were the perfect way to showcase these amazing cities. But for our next title, we’re going beyond our borders to infuse international flavors into counting concepts! Stay tuned for our upcoming numbers primer, scheduled to release this fall.
Where is The ABCs of Annapolis available for purchase?
The ABCs of Annapolis is currently available for pre-order on our website. The 1st edition is scheduled to release in February 2018, so be sure to check back for updates on retailers carrying our title as well as upcoming author events in Annapolis and throughout Maryland!