Author and illustrator launch colorful kids’ book about feelings

Author and illustrator launch colorful kids’ book about feelings

Author and illustrator launch colorful kids’ book about feelings
Photo courtesy Kara Navolio
Kara Navolio
Author Kara Navolio

CONCORD, CA (Mar. 23, 2023) — Local author and frequent Pioneer contributor Kara Navolio has a new book out. “Maggie Discovers the Rainbow” tells the tale of a cautious girl who finds the courage to jump out of her comfort zone.

She is rewarded with a magical ride through all the colors of the rainbow, experiencing the emotions the colors evoke along the way.

“I wrote this book to encourage kids who might be hesitant to try new things and to help kids express their emotions through color,” Navolio says. “Kids are fascinated by rainbows, and it’s the perfect way to help them build a vocabulary of emotion words.”

Navolio teamed up with local illustrator Tracie Timmer for the picture book. Timmer, who grew up in Concord and still lives in the Bay Area, used watercolors to render Maggie’s magical world.

Illustrator Tracie Timmer

“My favorite part of illustrating this book was how imaginative Maggie is. I got to put myself in the shoes of a child and soar through a world where the possibilities are endless, and every color is a brand-new discovery and adventure,” says Timmer. “As an illustrator, this type of imaginative world is the best possible scenario as it allows me to fully embrace my creativity with very few boundaries. It was a true honor to be asked to illustrate this wonderful and unique story.”

“I just love the way Tracie imagined Maggie’s adventure and added her own personal touches,” notes Navolio, who has been working on this story for 27 years, off and on, starting when her children were small. Many revisions later, she finally found a publisher in 2021. Belle Isle Books released it this month.

“Something about this story made me keep going. I just needed to tell this story because kids can relate to the feelings Maggie experiences, and there is a special relationship between Maggie and her grandma that is modeled after my grandmother.”

Everybody can dance

“Maggie Discover the Rainbow” is the second book published for each. Navolio’s “Everybody Can Dance!” (Brandylane Publishers, 2019) has a message of diversity and shows how dance can bring us all together. It has received popularity internationally as well as locally and was included on the BBC’s bedtime stories show “CBeebies” in December 2022. It featured a reading by actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who won “Strictly Come Dancing” – Britain’s version of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Concord resident Susan Pace-Koch wrote Timmer’s first book, “The Mermaid and the Moon” (Get Out Books, 2014).

“I grew up in a quiet cul-de-sac in Concord that was entirely families with kids my own age, so there was always plenty of time for creativity and make-believe on our block,” says Timmer, who attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and works at the Disney Family Museum.

The duo will be appearing at the Ygnacio Valley Library in Walnut Creek for a book launch party at 11 a.m. March 25, with an art project, rainbow photo booth and refreshments provided by sponsor Walnut Creek Library Foundation. They will also appear at 11 a.m. April 2 for story time at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek.

All the books can be ordered through any local bookstore or found online. Visit for more information and upcoming events.