This Spring marks the 10 year anniversary of my first picture book Our Corner Grocery Store. It was such a pleasure to write that book because it’s based on a beloved corner grocery store in my neighbourhood. Research for the book meant hanging around the store and talking with it’s owners, the very wonderful, Domenico and Rosa Cozzi. The store is the heart of the neighbourhood and for every kid who grows up nearby, going to Dom’s, as it is locally known, is a quintessential experience. What better subject for a picture book?
And I could not have had a better illustrator than the very talented Laura Beingessner. Her illustrations beautifully capture the spirit of the story, embellishing the pages with a myriad of charming details for a child to look at again and again. (Find the cat in every page!) Many, many thanks to Laura for the wonderful artwork, from the inviting cover to the cozy last page.
Many, many thanks to Kathy Lowinger, former publisher of Tundra Books, for accepting my first manuscript. Many, many thanks to Kathryn Cole, former editor at Tundra Books, for her skilled editing. It was a learning experience to publish my first picture book and both Kathy and Kathryn guided me through the process with generosity and care. The book received many wonderful reviews and it was a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Finalist in 2010 .
“In this endearing book, the grocery store is the cornerstone of the neighbourhood, a place where people come together in the daily act of living… A vivid slice of life packed with sensory delights, neighbourly warmth, and children’s pleasures… Beingessner’s detailed illustrations overflow with charm, brilliantly capturing the sights, sounds and gentle emotions of this busy and completely satisfying day.” – Jury Comments
I’m so happy to say that after 10 years the book is still out there being read and enjoyed, and the Cozzis are still running the store! If you want a peak into the real store, watch Liam Kearney’s wonderful short doc .
My biggest thanks go out to Domenico and Rosa.
They have been the heart of the neighbourhood for over 50 years. What an immeasurable contribution!