Ani Di Franco Calls Writing A Children’s Book ‘A Different Bag of Doughnuts’

Ani Di Franco has won a Grammy (and been nominated for eight others), released 22 albums on her own Righteous Babe Records, sold over five million copies, hit the New York Times bestseller list with her 2019 memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir, and has published volumes of poetry English and Italian. But it was writing her first children’s book—the enchanting picture book, The Knowing, released on March 7—proved to be her truest challenge. Based on Di Franco’s song of the same name, The Knowing is a deceptively simple study of individuality that looks at outward appearances and inward feelings. The connection between the two is what Di Franco calls “the knowing.” With two children aged 10 and 16, Ani has read her fair share of children’s books. But her touchstones of clever lyricism and resistance to the status quo worked against the seasoned singer and songwriter when approaching the simplicity and universality of a children’s book. This medium uses minimal words and relies on the illustrations as much as it does on the text. Yet Ani’s songwriting gave her the tools to strip back the messages of identity conveyed in The Knowing, presenting them in their purest, most straightforward form. These messages of the unique nature of each person are amplified with first-time visual artist Julia Mathew’s frame-worthy watercolor illustrations. Her classic feel and beautiful detail provide a natural match for Ani’s words, […]

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