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Readings by Iza Trapani

Iza Trapani
Monday, October 20, 2008
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Episode Summary
Iza Trapani does a combination of narration and singing for 8 of her books.

Participant(s) Bio
In 1961, when I was seven years old, my mother and I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Poland to America. My father, sister, brother and paternal grandmother all stayed behind in the tiny apartment in Warsaw where the six of us had resided. Under Communist rule entire families were prohibited from traveling abroad so my mother took me, the youngest, hoping to bring the rest of the family over at a later time. Tragically, she died before fulfilling her dream. My father died shortly thereafter. Due to extenuating circumstances I was unable to return to Poland and twenty-five years passed before I was re-united with my siblings. I spent three and a half years in a Catholic Children's Home and then, after completing High School, moved to the Hudson River valley in upstate New York.

In the ensuing years I worked as a nanny, short-order cook and waitress while studying Art at the State University in New Paltz. After graduation I worked in various capacities- as a rock climbing guide, real estate broker, caterer and free-lance illustrator. But all along I had one dream, a dream that I held onto since I was a little girl, and that was to make picture books. My portfolio was filled with art for children and I just hoped for that lucky break. For many years when blowing out the candles on my birthday cakes it was my wish to make children's books. Often I recall an incident while taking a real estate motivational course: When asked by the teacher to state my primary goal, without blinking an eye, I had replied, "to someday illustrate a children's book ". It wasn't the answer she was looking for, but to me it was a personal affirmation of my real dream.

When my first book was published I jumped for joy. Now I am working on my twenty-first and still ecstatic. I have always loved children's literature- from the wacky brilliance of Dr. Seuss to the timeless, love-filled classics of Margaret Wise Brown and a slew of others in between. The combination of simple but elegant text and enchanting illustrations has always been an irresistible package and has fascinated me all my life. As a child I spent hours immersed in the magical world of books. These days I try to re-create some of that magic for others to enjoy.

Everyday I give thanks for the life I have with my loving husband and stepson and our dogs and cat in our new dream home and studios on a beautiful farm, and a career that keeps me smiling. Looking back on my childhood in Poland, I feel that I owe my family gratitude for fostering a creative environment in our home and for instilling in me a love for books, language, art and music. For the brief time that I knew my parents their encouragement and support left a lasting impression and contributed greatly to the realization of my lifelong dream.


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