KidLit in Color author Gabriele Davis is pleased to reveal the cover for her debut picture book, PEACHES, published by Abrams and illustrated by Kim Holt. It will release in May 2024.
PEACHES is a lyrical, intergenerational story inspired by Gabriele’s father and his love of homemade peach cobbler. It narrates a milestone moment in a young girl’s life as she assumes a poignant family tradition. It celebrates joy, perseverance and how those we love live on in us.
Gabriele feels lucky to have been perfectly matched with artist Kim Holt, who skillfully conveys these themes as well as the loving bonds between family members in this story. Here, Gabriele chats with Kim about her illustrations.
I am delighted with your gorgeous illustrations for PEACHES. They are so full of warmth and heart! What inspired your artistic approach to this book?
KH: When PEACHES was presented to me, I immediately said yes! I had randomly done some sketches the year before of my grandmother and me baking and wanted to do art around that relationship. I stored those ideas away, and when this came up, I used them as a starter guide for my sketches and reflected on my relationship with my grandmother when illustrating the story.
I love using lots of color in art. In reading the story of PEACHES, I wanted the characters to stand out with pops of color. The peaches themselves are a central character, so I chose colors that were more complementary to each other. I wanted everyone to be able to stand alone in a scene and complement each other when they were together.
Did you have to do any visual research?
KH: I always do extensive research for each book. Even though I have baked pies, I spent a lot of time researching techniques for making peach pies and cobblers. I wanted to see the process, what counters look like, and the arrangement of ingredients. I also wanted to see the differences in approach between adult and child baking.
Is there anything in particular about this story that resonated with you?
KH: This story touched me deeply because I spent so much time with my grandmother, Vivian Garnes, and, for a time, lived with my grandparents. She gave me my foundation for cooking and my love for others. She taught me how to make my first pie from scratch, so the memories were there. Food can express love, especially when you take the time to prepare someone their favorite dish. Anyone who knows me can tell you I love food, recipes, cooking, and peach cobbler :).
What do you hope children take away from your drawings?
KH: I hope children will relate and see themselves in the moments captured. I hope they notice the details and spend time with each page looking for more.
Thanks for putting your heart into this book, Kim! Can you share what’s coming up next for you?
KH: The books I illustrated that are coming out are Justice Ketanji: The Story of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and The Bronx Is My Home.
KIM’S BIO: I am fascinated by capturing moments in time. In particular, I love painting special moments of joy, wonder, and quiet struggles and hearing the conversations and memories they stimulate for people of all ages. I am a painter and illustrator who strives to capture these moments in my artwork, and whether young or old, I want people to see themselves.
I have had a passion for art and drawing from an early age and found great inspiration growing up directly across from the Brooklyn Museum.
I have a BBA in Marketing from Howard University and a BFA in Animation from the Academy of Art University. My passion is creating energetic, expressive work full of personality, typically incorporating a vibrant and fresh color palette.
I make art and live in the Washington D.C. metro area with my husband and two dogs, Sugar and Spice.
See more of my work online at: www.kimscollectionofstuff.com
As a child, Gabriele longed to see families like hers reflected in the books she read. Now she gets to make that happen for other underrepresented readers. Gabriele holds an MA in magazine journalism and has worked as a children's magazine editor and freelance writer. She lives in the Northwest Hills of Connecticut where she tutors, teaches yoga, bikes and writes. She enjoys creating works that inspire children to laugh, love, discover their inner strength, and feel seen. Peaches, releasing in May 2024, is Gabriele's debut picture book. Her second picture book, Our Joyful Noise, will follow in Fall 2024.
Learn more about Gabriele and her books at www.gabrieledavis.com.