Jackie Pappas wants her two sons to keep reaching for the stars.
The Americana singer-songwriter shares that wish with 10-year-old Hank and 8-year-old Gus in her new children’s book, Taste the Stars.
Published via Bow’s Bookshelf, the lush, immersive picture book features vibrant watercolor illustrations from artist Toni Hines and includes lyrical prose from Pappas’ latest single of the same name.
“In my early 20s, I was pursuing music, and my husband and I were like, ‘We want a family,’ and we had the kids, and I got engulfed with being pregnant,” said Pappas, who’s from Goodrich, Michigan.
“I kinda put my guitar up and was like, ‘I’m giving it up,’ but I never wanted to. I didn’t play for a couple of years … at the time Gus was one and Hank was three.”
While enjoying motherhood, Pappas couldn’t ignore the call of music from her back porch seven years ago. She picked up her guitar and started strumming as Hank and Gus took a nap.
“I was watching them, and I was thinking of my childhood,” said Pappas, who’s the youngest of five children. “No parents are perfect by all means … but I feel like my parents’ generation was a little harder and a little blacker and whiter in a sense.”
With that thought in mind, Pappas started penning “Taste the Stars” as a reassuring lullaby about dreams, self-determination and authenticity to her sons. It also unexpectedly became a personal anthem for her ambitions.
“It’s something I think I was never told growing up and something that I wished my parents would have said to me. I was like, ‘I’m gonna say everything that I wished my parents would have said to me to them.’ I don’t want my parents to feel bad … because they did believe in us in their own way,” she said.
“I remember writing and the first few lines came out, and I just started crying. I was like, ‘Maybe this is right,’ and I just wrote it. And it was the first song I wrote coming back to music.”
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