“An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder.” -Kirkus Reviews
I am still on cloud nine over this incredible review by Kirkus Indie! They had asked me to send a pdf of the first book (Galapagos Islands) as they were using a different reviewer from so I was particularly anxious. It was a long 7-9 weeks! Well, the wait was worth it as the reviewer fully appreciated the story and character development, the haiku, the artwork and all of the educational pieces I’ve added to the book! I cannot wait to share the book when it’s available at the end of February. See the full review below:
In this second installment of an ecologically based adventure series for children, a young naturalist and ship’s captain sails to a remote island and discovers a threat to the local wildlife.
Piratess Tilly—the refreshingly bold, smart heroine introduced in Lorayne’s debut picture book (The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, 2016), illustrated by Watson—takes to the sea again on her research ship, the Foster. She’s accompanied by her friend Yuki (a rescued koala bear) and the seven orphan boys who make up her diverse crew. Their destination: Easter Island. Unfolding in graceful haiku, the tale follows passionate naturalist Tilly (“An explorer’s dress / Patch pockets for her notebooks / Trade tools in her bag”) as she studies the mysterious Moai statues and scuba dives to observe marine life native to the area, sketching and cataloging what she sees. The trip takes an unexpected turn when the crew encounters pirates raiding the nests of sooty terns in an egg-smuggling venture, and the group launches a successful rescue effort, led by parasailing Tilly and Yuki. (In the first Tilly adventure, a trip to the Galapagos Islands became a mission to save baby giant tortoises from the clutches of another band of pirates.) Lorayne’s poetic text is fully integrated into Watson’s lovely watercolor images, executed with an eye for captivating detail. The tale delivers enough escapades and suspense to satisfy a young audience, but the author also includes ample learning opportunities to encourage children to seek out the story’s substantial real-life underpinnings. These include examples of sailors’ knots, a glossary of words and terms—endemic, expeditions, trade winds, thermals, etc.—and various fish species skillfully rendered by Watson. In addition, the volume features short biographies of Tilly’s 19th- and 20th-century inspirations, Charles Darwin (“Darwin on her shelves / Evokes her scholarly dreams / Coral reefs and fish”) and anthropologist Katherine Routledge, written by science historian Michael Barton and archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg.
An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder.
I am sharing below an interview I had with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of tall ship El Galeón this past spring in Newburyport. It was an absolutely magical experience for me and something I recall quite frequently. I hope you enjoy it!
May 27, 2016 Interview with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of tall ship El Galeón docked in Newburyport, MA written by Elizabeth Lorayne.
There was magic in the air that morning of Friday, May 27th. Not only was the 16th century Spanish tall ship replica, El Galeón, in Newburyport’s harbor, but I was scheduled to meet the captain, the only female captain of a tall ship in the world. The synchronicity of this opportunity left me feeling giddy as I walked the enlivened streets of Newburyport to the ship. This special meeting was arranged by the Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum because of my children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. Piratess Tilly is the captain of her own ship and leads her crew on naturalist expeditions. It felt all too pertinent that I give a copy of the book to a real female captain.
Boarding El Galeón, walking topside, past the hundreds of salt water infused lines, and simultaneously ducking while stepping over the lip of the doorway; immediately sent me back to my formative years sailing and boating 60 miles northeast of Seattle, WA in the San Juan Islands. Upon meeting Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez, I immediately felt a kinship, while her gracious confidence reminded me of my task at hand.
Once seated on the wooden benches in the galley, I presented her with my book. Her eyes lit up at the cover showing young Piratess Tilly at the helm of her own tall ship. Rosario immediately related to the many purposes of the book. She loved the poetry and the art, but mostly she loved the girl-empowerment and the educational features of Piratess Tilly and her crew’s life aboard the ship.
Tucked inside the book I had a few questions I hoped Rosario would be willing to answer. Little did I know we would speak for the next two hours, discussing her own childhood sailing and some of her experiences becoming a female captain.
Was there a specific moment from your childhood that contributed directly to your desire to work on and eventually captain a tall ship?
Rosario grew up in Arcos de la Frontera, Spain, where her family lived some 300ft from a lake. It was on this lake that her passion for sailing was born. When Rosario was a child, her father and his friends often sailed a 420 sailboat,
“I remember being seated on to the top of the box for the keel and I remember perfectly the color of the hull, and also the shape of the sail completely, full of wind. I remember that I liked it a lot.”
From that formative moment she seized the opportunity to sail her father’s friends windsurfing board. She didn’t know how to sail, but she persevered and managed to sail across the lake. When she reached the other side, she didn’t know how to return against the wind, so she paddled atop the board! From that moment she knew she needed to learn how to sail properly.
Her father took his own passion for sailing and worked to build a sailing club, the Arcos Sailing Club. Rosario explained that because Arcos de la Frontera is 70 miles from the coast, it took some time to show the local community and councilmen the advantages of sailing as a sport. Her father was determined and after receiving several donated 420 sailboats from clubs on the coast, his own sailing club took flight.Pride overfilled her eyes as she told me about the hours she spent helping him repair the boats in preparation for their club. A few years later, when she was 13, in conjunction with a club on the coast, they were ready to offer sailing lessons. Rosario quickly decided she wanted to become a certified sailing instructor, which she accomplished a few years later.
When did you decide to become a captain?
While attending courses in art history at university, Rosario spent every free moment teaching. Once she finished school, she quickly realized she was truly happiest on the water.She then decided to make sailing her way of living, saying she,
“wanted to have my own ship, I want to charter my own ship, I want to become a captain of my ship, but I didn’t think of being a captain of a tall ship at that moment,” laughing with amusement at the major role she eventually attained.
What are your favorite aspects to both working on and captaining a tall ship?
When meeting and spending time with Rosario it is not hard to see how seriously she takes her role as captain, from how she oversees her crew, expecting them to always be maintaining the ship and learning, to her own willingness to learn,
“I like that I am all of the time teaching, I like that, but also I am all the time learning. And also I get to know many many different places and many different people. It’s also a way of knowing myself or trying to know myself and I try also to learn about everything to be a better person and captain. I try.”
What would you say to young girls who have big dreams and goals?
With the girl-empowerment aspect of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I was curious to hear what this real life female captain would say to young girls,
“Everything is possible if you work towards it. I mean, if you work, focusing, you can get it, you can get it.”
Rosario explained to me some of the hardships she’d experienced as a woman trying to become a captain. She often faced disbelief by boat owners, who would instead offer her jobs as a stewardess. Her perseverance and patience endured and she went from captaining a dredger ship to captaining the Nao Victoria and El Galeón. Even as our time together was coming to end, it was clear to me how important this question was to Rosario as she came back to it saying,
“If you work hard, if you focus on what you want and if you are full of what you want, you can do it. And if someone wants to restrict you, just try to smile and look to the other side and go the other way. Take the other door – the other paths – there are many, many paths. Just try another one.”
Elizabeth Lorayne is the author of the award-winning children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. A native Seattleite and the granddaughter of Admiral Walter T. Griffith, she feels most at home near water, which makes living in Newburyport, MA most appropriate. She is an artist and writer, who enjoys hiking and creating art with her family. You can contact her by email ElizabethLorayne@gmail.com or through her books website PiratessTilly.com The sequel to The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, taking place on Easter Island, is due out January 2017.
After receiving awards and wonderful industry reviews, I felt encouraged to write a sequel to The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. In the second book, Piratess Tilly and her crew head to Easter Island. I will be sending the finished book to reviewers in the next week and then it will be off for printing – expected publication of January 2017. Follow more on facebook and on the blog. I hope you’ll stay tuned!
Let’s start with my fine art. Two of my collagraphs are now on exhibit at The Walsingham Gallery, an award-winning art gallery in Newburyport, MA! I am so honored to be listed as one of their “Emerging Artists!” I had the artwork framed by a wonderful local framer, whose wife happens to be a fantastic artist as well. I highly recommend Connor Summers Gallery! Here are some photos of the work while I was choosing frames and then when they were finished and in plastic wrap.
I realize I haven’t done any kind of update on my award-winning children’s picture book! I will just share some of the highlights, but encourage you to check out the press & reviews page of the book’s site for all of the updates. To start, here is the books synopsis:
The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is written in haiku and illustrated in watercolors. You are invited to come adventuring with Piratess Tilly, her rescued best friend, a koala named Yuki, and her band of international orphaned brothers. As budding naturalists, they are all too eager for their expedition to the Galápagos Islands! While documenting flora and fauna, they spot baby giant tortoises being kidnapped . . . by pirates! How do Tilly, Yuki and the brothers save the tortoises?
Just last week we received our first children’s picture book award! We won a gold medal for the Moonbeam Spirit Award in Exploration, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award! This is such an honor and we are so excited.
I am also pleased to share that after a successful donation of books, Piratess Tilly is now available for purchase through the Galápagos Conservancy, where all of the proceeds go to their many conservation programs!
And for the finale of this whirlwind update~ I have finished writing the second book and Karen Watson is beginning the artwork. This second story takes place on Easter Island and is due out in the summer of 2016!
I am SO excited to share the front and back covers for my upcoming children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. I hope you enjoy the beautiful watercolor illustrations by Karen Watson. The book is due to arrive and be ready for sale in late November/early December!
And please don’t forget to follow Tilly on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!
When was the last time you chose to stand in the rain, allowing it to wash away your burdens? Or when was the last time you let the snow falling mesmerize you, slowing your breathing and taking you inward? Do you remember how it felt to run freely as a child? The complete determination and fullness of heart that you experienced while your legs burned or you were finally out of breath – enjoying your sacred moments in Nature.
Nature is forever constant – always present. It can be felt, seen, heard, tasted, the scents inhaled and instantly grounding. For that is where the Mother aspect of “Mother Nature” exists for me – she roots my Spirit and gently comforts my Heart. In moments of uncertainty, I’ve felt the gentle pull of Mother Nature, guiding me to focus on her offerings – her touchstones.
Being raised in Seattle, that often meant pausing and listening to the rain, letting its rhythm calm me or cleanse my mind. As a child, I felt instantly empowered and free on my bicycle, pedaling hard, with the wind in my hair and trees surrounding me, their evergreen scents both exhilarating and calming me.
It is in those moments that I feel myself most connected to Mother Nature – to the Universe – and therefore to my Self. It is there that I find inspirations aplenty, beckoning me to express my findings.
As I’ve gotten older and have learned to silence the outer noise of the world, calling on this inspiration has gotten much easier. It is from this place, this entire experience of Mother Nature in both her physical and spiritual forms, that I felt compelled to write Adventures of “Piratess” Tilly.
When Tilly’s story presented itself, I immediately felt the need to share her unique character in hopes of empowering the reader. One of my hopes for adults reading the story is that the door is re-opened to the wonderment of both the physical and spiritual aspects of Mother Nature.
Children more often than not innately feel connected to flora, fauna and the unseen guide that is Mother Nature. It is we adults who can lose sight of her beauty and spiritual power, her ability to root and embrace our Spirit. My wish is for us adults to harness our children’s ability to roll in the leaves and not care about ruining our clothes, for example! I hope seeing Nature through “Piratess” Tilly’s eyes helps remind you of your positive experiences out of doors as a child – and helps reunite you with Mother Nature. And with that reconnection, I hope we can continue to build a community that raises awareness of Nature’s offerings and its needs for respect and protection, as “Piratess” Tilly has done, with her band of “brothers,” hailing from 7 international ports. For it is only when we let go, that we can then embrace each other and Mother Nature.
I thought I would share some updates on my upcoming children’s picture book, Adventures of “Piratess” Tilly. First is a project I’m calling, “Nature as Teacher” quote series. I’ve taken the liberty in reblogging the initial post below. I just really love this line from the story, “Nature as Teacher” and want to share this idea as much as possible.
The second project is called “From the Crow’s Nest: Yuki’s fun facts!” It’ll be memes sharing tidbits of information that correlate with the adventure in the book, i.e. facts on animals found on The Galápagos Islands!
1. Nature was an important inspiration for Adventures of “Piratess” Tilly. I would like to share nature-themed quotes by famous people as well as some of my own haiku. “Nature as Teacher” is one of my personal favorite lines in the book. With that in mind, I’ll start the series with this lovely quote by Shakespeare.
A project I’ve been working on since this past summer is a children’s picture book ~ written in haiku (of course!)! My husband and I are very happy with it and extremely excited about the illustrations, done by Karen Watson (www.karenwatson.com). We’ll be publishing it ourselves, which I’m also thrilled about, as we’ll have total control over the book. Please come support this new project!! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook! And of course, check out the website (which is in need of bios!): piratesstilly.com
The synopsis is below!
p.s. Our 22 month old daughter LOVES seeing the updated illustrations. She gets so excited!!
I’ve written a children’s picture book! It’s a project I feel incredibly passionate about. I’m mulling over marketing ideas and gearing up for publishing it myself.
And now, with the new year, my inbox is starting to gather images from the illustrator I’m hiring! This alone has me beyond excited and even a bit emotional – my girl empowering, haiku inspired story is coming to life.
And just as I began receiving first sketches, this arrived in the mail… I realize it’s not wholly necessary these days, but it’s fun to have a proper Copyright registration number!