The Author: Etaine Raphael
The Book: A Blueberry Day
The Genre: Children’s Fiction
Lives In: Springfield
The Story: “It’s really a poem and it’s written in lyrical verse,” Raphael says of her debut children’s book, based on the summers she and her family (she’s the mother of two daughters) spend in rural Maine. The book follows a family through a day on vacation, as they spend time in nature. “It’s about reflecting on the ideal day with family. It incorporates the five senses. Oftentimes, vacation is really when you have the time to think about using all five senses, when you’re hiking, splashing in the water and smelling the pine in the air—taking a little time to appreciate the little things.”
The Illustrations: Raphael not only wrote the book, but she illustrated it as well. “When my girls were in an art class, I started thinking more about this manuscript. With the art teacher’s help, she walked me through the [illustration] process and got me started. It was a stab in the dark,” she says. The illustrated girls and dog in the book are based on images of Raphael’s own family.
NoVA Connections: “What’s interesting is I thought this book might not apply to a lot of local people,” Raphael says. “But almost everybody I’ve talked to here has a connection to Maine. It blew my mind how many people go there, because I had no idea until my family and I started going there.”