Debuting picture book author J. E. Sakura’s work graces walls in many states across the U.S. During her forty-year career as a professional artist, her passion was creating murals filled with whimsical images children would be drawn to and with which they’d be inclined to interact. Sakura has now turned her some of her most beloved and characters into a delightful children’s e-book titled, Twinkle and Luna.
While the transition from artist to author was long in the making, Sakura admits that her pictures have always come alive in stories that played out in her mind. Some of the ideas were inspired by conversations with clients. Such is the case with Twinkle and Luna. Says Sakura:
Years ago, a client, the Fire Chief for Baltimore, told me he called the smoke detector the guardian angel of his daughter's room. I thought that was adorable, and added a little angel around it in the sky I painted onto her ceiling. His idea of naming a smoke detector inspired me to name the moon Luna, and the main star Twinkle, as well as imagine a relationship.
Supported by a degree in classical literature, Sakura took a children's book writing class with Rick Walton at BYU. The book was finished during that semester. Here is the back cover blurb that will be included in Lulu’s paperback version:
"Have you ever wondered if the Moon might be lonely, surrounded by so many stars far away in the night sky? Twinkle dances with Sparkle, Shimmer, Glimmer, and Glow every night, but Luna has no one. What would it take to bring them together—maybe some stormy weather? Twinkle and Luna become unexpected heroes for each other after just such a dark and dreary night."
More of Sakura’s bright, beautiful picture books are in the works. Her time spent in Japan and Korea, first as a missionary, and then as a teacher, influences her art. On her website and blog she explains how she used Korean paper as the background as she developed some of the night skies in Twinkle and Luna. Says Sakura:
When not teaching English, I wandered through ancient Korean farmlands and mountains, I wrote, and I worked on illustrating my stories, which include 3 more: Flutter Bye and Lady Dot; Bunny Birds & Co.; and When Mommy Stays Home. Like Twinkle and Luna, the words all came to me in the form of lullaby-styled songs. I'll make the CD for Twinkle and Luna this summer.
On a personal note, I shared Twinkle and Luna with a three-year-old grandson. The pictures had him completely engaged. I read the words of the story, but he was reacting to the pictures before I was able to get the words out. After one read, he could retell the story on his own.
Children will immediately acquaint Twinkle and Luna to the beloved nursery song, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Twinkle and Luna expands on that magic with a story about being kind, and befriending others. It’s delightful and timeless message is eclipsed by the beautiful images which are the star of this book. It’s a gift parents and grandparents will enjoy sharing with their little ones over and over.
Twinkle and Luna ebooks are available for $4.99 at http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/j-e-sakura/twinkle-and-luna/ebook/product-22202915.html
The 8.5” X 11” paperback is available through CreateSpace for $9.25. The purchase link is https://www.createspace.com/4550406
You can read more about J. E. Sakura’s artistry and her upcoming projects at: http://jesakuranoyume.blogspot.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/jesakura