From Chestnuts to Sugarcane

A work-in-progress migration story Author/Illustrated by Kristen Willis

About the project

The year is 1928, 7th of July in Milo, Sicily; Mr and Mrs Salvatore Caltabiano welcome the arrival of their precious bambola, Antonina. As the fourth child of eight siblings, she quickly found her independence and was referred to as Lina. 

Chestnuts to Sugar Cane is a mid-century inspired illustrative celebration which captures Lina’s amazing life story and creatively accredits her international journey of love. This Sicilian spirit was destined to embark on a beautifully fulfilled life in golden Australia.


Creative process

Childhood Week

Childhoodweek is an event created by Beatrice Blue  in 2017. The event’s purpose is to revisit old childhood memories and then turn them into stories to share. It’s all about sharing, enjoying and taking a little time for ourselves and only lasts 7 days.

The event is always an incredible chance to discover amazing and talented artists, and their wonderful childhood stories. However, I decided to participate for a different purpose. I decided to use the event as an opportunity to develop my characters, style and settings for From Chestnuts to Sugarcane. 


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Kristen Willis is artistically represented by Annabel Barker Agency.  Discover more about the kidlit world and why it’s important.

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