Amira's Suitcase Trailer

March 29th, 2021
Take a peek at the wonderful trailer for Amira's Suitcase, written by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Nicky Johnston, who also created this wonderful video!

Simply click the image below to go to the trailer on YouTube...

Don't forget to read the mini Q&A with Vikki and Nicky on their new book, below!


Where did you get the inspiration for the illustrations for Amira’s Suitcase from? 

When I first read the manuscript, I knew I wanted the illustrations to have an earthy feel, so I chose my colour palette first then began sketching. I wanted to include nationalities that matched the names of the children that Vicki had written, it was a fairly simple process and flowed easily!

What did you enjoy most about the illustration process for Amira’s Suitcase?

I loved working with a limited palette, and I loved working on the full spreads with the beautiful colours. It was a very enjoyable process.

What was the most challenging thing about illustrating Amira’s Suitcase?

I had so many ideas and sketches it was often difficult to choose what should actually make the cut in the book, and what needed to be left out.  A great problem to have really!

Tell us an interesting fact about you!

Many people don’t know that I have a Second Dan Black Belt in Karate!

Where did you get the inspiration for Amira’s Suitcase from? 

The idea came to me after visiting my local swimming spot. I stood with dripping hair staring at an unexpected pop-up art installation. Four open suitcases had been lovingly planted with herbs by artist Jiann Hughes. Each represented culinary dishes from the countries of newly arrived communities to my area. 

The art triggered memories from my travels and work with the international aid agency, World Vision. In Somalia we drove through the parched desert landscape to arrive at a small oasis of a market garden. It grew papaya and vegetables and was irrigated because we’d worked with the community to help it source water. I have a great memory of being greeted by the happiest young man holding the most enormous and lush bunch of coriander.   

Jiann’s artwork made me wondered if a seed could actually sprout in the corner of a suitcase… and how perfectly suitcases represented journey… and from here my story grew.

Photo credit to Jiann Hughes.

What did you enjoy most about the writing process for Amira’s Suitcase?

I love the organic and early evolving stages of the writing process, when ideas unfold and pop. 

For Amira’s Suitcase, I particularly loved the breakthrough idea that came during the research phase. One article explained what happens to precious things like seeds, museum artifacts and artwork from galleries when conflict erupts in a country. 

I discovered that seeds were one of the first things to be secretly shipping out of Syria during the beginning of its decade long civil war. These were unique varieties of chickpeas, lentils, and alfalfa, some of the most important crops on Earth, stashed away in a vault of a seed gene bank on a remote Artic island.

I started thinking how important seeds were for a country that couldn’t farm for such a long time because of war. Or for farming families that were forced to flee their homes. And imaged what would happen if seeds were not kept like treasures. What if they were lost forever? The symbolism of “seeds of hope” and “growth” was what inspired me to weave seeds so prominently into my story.

If there’s one thing you would like little ones to learn from Amira’s Suitcase, what would it be?

That you can make friends anywhere and always, just be sharing your play.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!

I’ve eaten goats’ tongues wrapped in intestines in Africa. Because how can you refuse when it is offered to you by the chief of the village?!

Thank you to Vikki and Nicky for sharing such lovely stories with us, including the wonderful, Amira's Suitcase!
You can find Vikki on FacebookInstagram and on her website.
You can find Nicky on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her website.

Amira's Suitcase

It begins with a tiny seed growing inside a suitcase. With Amira’s care, the tiny seed starts to sprout. Find out what happens when kindness flourishes...
Amira’s Suitcase is a gentle, thought-provoking tale about friendship and hope.

Purchase Here
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