The Children’s Book Review | December 9, 2019
Lisa Landry is a native of Oakland, CA. She graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Creative Writing. Lisa has also had a love and passion for writing. Although this is her first published work, she has written many poems, short stories, and a novel that she can’t wait to present to the word. Lisa’s goal is to heal her community through her writing.
The Children’s Book Review: The Girl That Could Do Anything is a picture book that pays homage to the accomplishments of black women, but also a reminder to girls and boys of all ages, shapes, and sizes that anything is possible. What inspired you to write it
Lisa Landry: I was inspired to write this book after attending my daughter’s (Kade) Kindergarten graduation, all of the kids were asked what they wanted to be when they got older, and all of the kids had the same response “A teacher.” Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an educator (I am one myself), I wanted my daughter and other children to know they there are no limits to what they can do or be.
African American women are often overlooked and undervalued, and this story highlights the power and versatility that is “Black Girl Magic.” What do you hope young readers and their parents will take away from reading your book?
I want them to be inspired to learn the stories of others, but to also tell and create their legacy and stories. It doesn’t matter your age or color; this book is meant to empower everyone who reads it to go after whatever their heart desires.
You have told this story through the use of rhyme. Did your original concept for the book immediately speak to you in verse? Or did the rhyming element evolve as you wrote?
The funny thing is, I hardly ever rhyme in my writing; however, this time, the words just came to me. I started writing and after the first couple of lines rhymed, everything else seemed to flow, it was very organic.
Can you tell us anything else about your writing style and what a typical writing day looks like?
I honestly wouldn’t say that I have a particular style of writing because I do a little bit of everything; however, whatever it is that I am writing will always come from a place of love, knowledge, and empowerment. I wish I could have aa typical “writing” day, but between teaching full-time and being a mother, the time I get to devote to writing is usually sporadic. I keep my notebooks with me, so whenever I have a spare moment, I can jot my thoughts down or add to a piece I have been working on.
The illustrator Jessica Jones captures the entire essence of the story with her vivid images and does a remarkable job of portraying the women that this book is meant to honor. Can you share with us how you came to work with her?
Jessica and I went to the same high school, Oakland Tech. She graduated in 2006 and I graduated in 2009. Because of this, we had many mutual friends. When I was looking for an illustrator I put feelers out on Social Media, I got an overwhelming amount of responses that recommended Jessica. I checked out her website and fell in love with her work, and the rest is history!
What did the collaboration process look like?
Jessica had full control of the illustrations, and that was honestly the best decision I ever made. She managed to turn my words into a visual experience that I couldn’t have imagined, all while being pregnant with her first child and suffering the painful loss of her mother. I am forever grateful to her.
Which illustration do you consider to be your favorite piece of artwork from the book? Why?
It is so hard to choose! If I had to choose just one, it would probably be the illustration of Ruby Bridges and Claudette Colvin; I love that it is done in black and white, so it’s like turning the page and jumping straight into that time period.
Stories such as yours should not just be limited to African Americans or even only to girls. With this in mind, what has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
The greatest reaction from a reader has been, “This book is not just for little girls and boys, sometimes we big people need a reminder too!”
This is an empowering quote from your book: “Take this book, it’s your gift so your friends know it’s true that there’s nothing in this world that you can’t do!” Why is it important to you that kids have access to books that aim to empower and encourage?
Kids are our future, and I feel that teaching them early that they are capable of anything can only benefit our world. The main thing I want to instill is the courage to not only dream but to go out in the world and achieve those dreams!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Don’t be afraid to unleash your greatness unto the world. There are no limits to what you can and will achieve!
Written by Lisa Landry
Illustrated by Jessica Jones
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Girl Who Could Do Anything is an ode to the accomplishments of African American Women and a reminder to young girls and boys that anything is possible. African American women are often overlooked and undervalued and this story highlights the power and versatility that is “Black Girl Magic.” This book is excellent for readers of all levels and all kinds.
Ages 6+| Publisher: Self-Published | 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1-6847-0822-2
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