How our picture book, “My Fantabulous Orchestra” came about6 Minute Read
Oliver Finsterbusch Fernández-Shaw. Usually the man with the longest name in all of Librio (!) as co-founder and CTO takes care of the technical aspects at Librio. Two years ago, he published his first children’s book, My Fantabulous Orchestra, in which he takes us into the wonderful world of music. In this interview, the author talks about his inspiration, working with the team and his future plans.
Your book was published two years ago. For those who haven’t seen your book yet; could you please tell us what the story of “My Fantabulous Orchestra” is about?
The story is about a child who loves music and making sounds. It’s about the learning process of being able to have fun with other kids without being too bossy, or being right all the time – but mainly about the love of music
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
I always found it amazing that in Switzerland, Germany and Austria so many kids choose an instrument at a very young age. This isn’t very common in Spain. I wanted to create a story which brings kids closer to music. My goal was to write a nice story.
Also I wanted to be more part of the creative part of Librio and not only work in Tech. I’m the CTO of the company. So I’m in charge of building the website and making the e-commerce work and other tech-related tasks – so my daily work usually is pretty different to writing a story for children.
The original inspiration for the book came from my little nephew Iker. He loves making noise. His mom sent me a funny video of him the other day. He was playing drums with some tupperwares – that’s how the idea for this book was born.
When the book was finished, Iker got his very own personalised book, where he is playing the drums of course.
Can you remember the moment he first saw the book? What was his reaction?
He recognized himself in the book. He loved it!
On the last page of the book there is a sock with the librio-forest animals. Those socks do really exist, as we’re having a collaboration with a sock company. And Iker of course has those socks. So whenever his mom reads the book to him, he is always pointing to the socks in the book saying “I have those!”. And there was a time where he wouldn’t wear any other socks than those librio-socks. <laughs>
Did you get any other reactions?
My family loved the book too. My other nephew Matteo started to play the guitar, because of the story. A Ukulele.
Also the launch event in Zurich at Musik Hug was super nice. It was awesome to see the reaction of the kids. They could try out different instruments. That was cool to see.
Which instrument would you choose for yourself? Do you actually play an instrument?
The guitar. Or the violin! I wish I really could play those, but I can’t.
The illustrations of this book are made by Nicholas Elliot. How did you guys work together?
We’ve worked together for other book projects. At those projects I was working on the tech side only. So I already was involved before and I knew how it works to set up the book for the shop and this was a big plus.
With this book it was the first time I was involved in the whole process, from beginning to the end: Seeing the storyboard, talking to Ness our editor, working with Kerry from Design. It was really nice to see the full process and being involved in all of it. It was great being part of illustration decisions and being able to bring up my own ideas. I enjoyed adding some elements, like the penguin as a conductor for example. Of course Nick put his own touch to the book too. And he did an amazing job. It was great teamwork. Also Ed helped a lot developing the storyline and had great ideas too.
Which is your favorite page in the book and why?
I love the page, where the protagonist and the animals are rehearsing for the first time. Where there is the “On-air”-sign, the pig playing the electric guitar, the turtle hiding and the monkey looking like Elton John. That all came completely from Nick’s imagination. I love that image! It’s great to have someone like Nick who can put funny little details like that.
The book is about playfulness, imagination and dreams of kids.
Can you describe yourself as a child?
I think we were quite imaginative as kids. I remember that growing up in Madrid we had a big playing room with a lot of costumes and things to play with. I remember that we invented stories and theater plays. My mom must have some funny photos of me as a Sevillana, a flamenco dancer – very funny.
It’s been two years since the book was published. If you now flip through the book, is there anything you would like to change if you could or would you do it all the same again?
You always can do better. With all the personalisation options, like hearing aids and instruments this book wasn’t very easy to set up. We had to make sure to get the positioning of the elements right and we did. It took time and it for sure has been the most challenging book project for Librio so far.
In the beginning we also wanted to add a wheelchair as a personalisation option, but together with the other personalisation option it was pretty hard and we were running out of time. Unfortunately we couldn’t add it in the end. I hope we can do it in the future. Also some more instruments would be very nice to offer. It’s in the pipeline but we’re a small team and we have to see if we can do it. I hope we can add it one day.
Do you have any plans to write another book for Librio?
I don’t know. If I come up with a good idea I’d love to write another book.
Also I wish we will create a new style of books. Some years ago we’re thinking of doing a round book. We didn’t do it in the end, but I still like that idea a lot.
I’d love to do different and new kind of paper products – not only new stories. Fun products like we did last year, like for example advent calendar. One idea is to do a Search-and-Find book for older kids or even adults – like a more challenging version of the Search-and-Find books we already have.
About the book
The picture book has 38 pages and is printed on high-quality paper that is 100% recycled. It is aimed at children between three and eight years old and is available in different languages. As with all products sold, Librio donates 1% of its sales to social and ecological projects.
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