Alex Paramo and his six-year-old daughter Marisol love to create stories together and retell them at bedtime. Now they are sharing one of their stories, "Princess Marisol & the Moon Thieves," recently launched as an electronic book that acquaints children with basic geography, ecology, collaboration, personal responsibility and ultimately, self-discovery.
"Princess Marisol & The Moon Thieves" is a bilingual, multimedia children's adventure about a little princess and her otter sidekick, Alessa, who attempt to recover the stolen moon from a couple of mischievous musicians. The reader is led through a whimsical journey created through charming illustrations, narration and hip music.
Paramo said a photograph sparked the story. "A couple of my musician friends were in town from L.A. to perform with Keith Sanchez and the Moon Thieves and stayed with Marisol and me," he said. "On the day we drove them to the airport my daughter decided to dress up like a princess. I took a picture of the three of them and hence the title: Princess Marisol & The Moon Thieves. The playful interactions between the three of them gave me the idea for the story."
Audrey McNamara Garcia created the illustrations for the book. She held her first art exhibition in 2003, with subsequent showings all over the country.
"When I was working on the illustrations for Princess Marisol, I concentrated on the sincerity of the characters and the beauty and charm of the landscapes," Garcia said. "I always kept in mind sweet little Marisol, and tried to think about how she would like to see herself represented in her first book."
Princess Marisol & The Moon Thieves features a variety of educational components beginning with the choice of reading and listening in either English or Spanish. Mousing over words display its meaning, and there is a "where in the world are we?" guessing game that highlights world geography and cultural terms that are linked to external web sources for more information.
Paramo said that the book emphasizes an appreciation for multiculturalism. "I know I sound like a cliche, but the world is getting smaller," he said. "Migration has become the norm, and the earlier children learn to accept and appreciate people from other countries and those with differing customs from our own, the more harmonious our world will become."
The Moon Thieve characters are based on real-life musicians, Matias Pizarro and Juan Carlos Ramirez, who created the music and sound effects for Paramo's book. Founders of the L.A. based band, Diplomacy of Mad Science, their sound is a blend of electronica, Latin, Reggae rock and "dub," music that consists mostly of instrumental re-mixes of existing recordings.
Paramo's career at UNM includes working for the office of Engineering Student Programs, the Office of Executive Vice President, David Harris, the Provost's Office and most recently at Physical Plant Utilities.
"I always dreamed of being a writer and working in the publishing industry," Paramo said, "and now just seemed like the right time to make that dream a reality."
Paramo and his partner Yvette Sandoval founded Community Publishing LLC, which works with all kinds of artists on collaborative projects for ePublishing.
"The publishing industry, much like the recording industry, has changed with the advent of new mobile technology," Paramo said. "Writers no longer have to rely on big publishing companies to get their work published. We offer fair profit shares, a true collaborative process and the writer reserves his/her artistic/intellectual property rights."
Princess Marisol & The Moon Thieves multimedia children's eBook is bilingual and is available for Windows, Mac, Kindle, Nook, Android, iOS and tablet platforms.
For a preview and to purchase the eBook, visit Princess Marisol.
More information about Community Publishing is available at http://communitypublishingabq.wordpress.com/
- Inside UNM