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  • Gela Kalaitzidis

FROM WINDOW VIEW TO PICTURE BOOK

Updated: Aug 18

How was everyone's summer? We traveled to Sweden.

The kids and I visited friends and family over there.

When we’re in Sweden we always stay in Stureby, a sleepy little suburb outside Stockholm. We stay in the house where I grew up, and we sleep in what used to be my old room. Things have changed. The WHAM posters and pink wallpaper have been removed to give way for some gray/green colored walls with thoughtful framed art. There are no more clothes thrown on the floor, and there is definitely not a cassette player blasting too loud music.

But the view from the window looks the same.

No changes there.

It looks like this:


Beautiful, isn’t it? Beauty didn’t really impress me as a kid. All I wanted was for this forest to be a planet in a “galaxy far far away.” Or maybe the magical land of Fantastica where Atreyu and Falkor could use my help to save the Empress from the big “Nothing”. I imagined E.T building his phone somewhere behind those trees, and me riding on Aslan's back as the future princess of Narnia. You know, those normal things you can expect from a Swedish suburb in the 80's. Why not? Now many decades later I've once again populated that forest with dragons and princes. These are my sketches and drawings from last summer:


And this is the first spread in my debut picture book "Ozzie & Prince Zebedee." Coming out this October 2022:


Thank you, little forest.

Thank you, childhood, imagination and inspiration.

It takes a long time for a story to grow and sometimes it starts with the view from your window.


Epilogue.

A few years ago, while staying in the same room in my father’s house in Sweden, I woke up finding this note written by my then ten-year-old daughter:


I don't know what imaginary worlds she will find. If she meets Ewok's or wizards from Hogwarts.

But I do know it's a beautiful forest, isn't it?

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