From decorating for the holidays to sharing a cup of cocoa together, two creative minds found a teammate to create a children’s book with and later discovered they both graduated from the same college.
Author Patricia Sazy and illustrator Denise Vickers of Louisville, KY, met through their local neighborhood association and bonded over their similar backgrounds as West Virginia natives and college graduates. Marshall University. Sazy’s desire to write a children’s book and Vickers’ talents as an illustrator made the story of “Caesar’s Lighthouse” a reality.
The inspiration for “Caesar’s Lighthouse” connects in a personal way to Sazy’s roots as the daughter of immigrants and eventual daughter of a coal miner.
“My parents, who were immigrants from Hungary, and when they saw the Statue of Liberty – which is one of the beacons in the book, which isn’t a beacon now – but it’s a symbol of the world and it was a land of opportunity,” Sazy said. “My dad worked in the coal mines and he always expressed the importance of light.”
The historical fiction story follows its characters as they move from lighthouse to lighthouse, mirroring a path Sazy herself took while visiting and collecting information about each lighthouse featured in the book.
In keeping with Sazy’s desire to make this book educational material for children as well as a factual reference for adults, Vickers included different stylistic changes at each lighthouse in the book to represent the style of an artist from each state.
“To keep it interesting and to give the book a double effect, I found in each state an artist representative of that state and that way each image is in a different style,” Vickers said.
The couple credit their West Virginia roots and alma mater for their success working together and their readiness to take on this project.
“You can’t meet a climber that you don’t feel like you’ve known your whole life,” Vickers said.