Salt Lake children’s book author launches two art-inspired books

SALT LAKE CITY — Children’s book author Brianna Davis has released her first Pop Art 123’s and Pop Art ABC’s, hoping the vibrant visuals and rhyming prose will help children learn to read more easily.

Davis was pregnant with her Persia, now almost three years old, when she noticed the children’s book market was sluggish.

“I went on a mission to find children’s books for [Persia],” she says. “My two criteria were books that rhymed and had amazing visuals. I could only find books that hit one of these marks.

Late at night or early in the morning, while feeding her daughter, Davis challenged herself to rhyme for the alphabet and the numbers one through 10.

“After doing that pretty quickly, the writing flowed. Then later, when I realized the art I had in mind didn’t exist, I decided to create it myself. For every visual you see in the books, a physical copy exists. The art is constructed entirely from cut and layered paper.

Davis’ background is in writing. She also has a degree in interior design, so she’s always leaned towards the creative side of things.

“I feel like when I had my daughter, it really sparked something in me. Basically, I like quitting jobs that weren’t working for me and I didn’t feel like that was my goal or my passion. I really realized my creative superpowers, that’s when the whole book and art started.

Davis tried painting and drawing for book art, but eventually landed on paper. At first she had the rhymes and the words, but the challenge was to find the art that matched the ideas in her mind. She searched online for images similar to her vision, but learned she had to create them herself.

“Paper is my favorite medium because I could be very precise with it. It gave me really crisp lines and a pretty limitless amount of colors and textures to work with. My current process is super surgical.

His mother and aunt were big art fans, so growing up, Davis and his brother found themselves in many museums looking for art by Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud, Jasper Johns and Jeff Koons. The playful nature of Pop Art appealed to Davis and seemed to fit perfectly, especially in the realm of children’s books with its bright colors and playfulness.

The real mission of these books, in addition to being entertaining, is the educational facet.

“In 1980, researchers discovered the correlation between rhyme and reading,” Davis said. “Study after study confirms that good rhymers turn out to be good readers. Rhyme facilitates learning to read, improves and assists memory, speech rate and pronunciation.

Rhyming books are perfect for English speaking children and also for those learning English.

“We donate books to schools in developing countries and to children who have experienced difficulties in their lives. Giving children the gift of knowledge and fun is what makes me excited. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. I consider myself an investor in the education and future of children. Children are literally the future and therefore a worthwhile investment!

Davis plans to continue this investment; she doesn’t stop with the ABCs and the 123. Davis is currently working on a color series of her books; one for each color of the rainbow, plus pink, and a black and white book.

Grover Z. Barnes