[Featured Illustrators] Frané Lessac

Fnrané's upcoming picturebook, Drummer Boy Of John John, is a story inspired by the life of Trinidadian steel pan pioneer, Winston "Spree" Simon. As a young man, Winston discovered that he could create beautiful music by banging on discarded biscuit and soda tins and oil drums. The proud villagers of John-John, Laventille, where Winston grew up, believe that he was the first person to play a tune on the steel pan, now the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. Drummer Boy Of John John is being published by Lee and Low Books and will be released in September.

In Drummer Boy Of John John, sun-drenched gouache paintings transport readers to the island of Trinidad bringing the festival of Carnival and the musical culture of the Caribbean to life. The illustration titled "Musicians Practicing" shows the musicians of John-John practicing with their shac shacs and tamboo-bamboos in preparation for the festival of Carnival. In "Down de Hill," masqueraders parade through the street, waving banners and shaking shac shacs during the festival.

Down de Hill

Musicians Practicing

Frané on what Caribbean children's illustration means to her:

I love being involved in something I’m passionate about - illustrating books for children. By creating books set in the Caribbean, we are empowering local children with knowledge of their rich and varied cultures, their uniqueness, and hopefully other children from around the world can travel vicariously to the Caribbean. Through my books I hope to develop a worldview that appreciates the magnificence of this special place.


Born in New Jersey, United States, Frané Lessac is an author and illustrator with over thirty-five children's books published throughout the world. She is the author of My Little IslandIsland Counting 1-2-3, Caribbean Canvas, and Caribbean Alphabet. She also illustrated the picturebooks, Not A Copper Penny by Monica Gunning and Caribbean Carnival by Irving Burgie. Frané lived in Montserrat for many years where she began her career as a painter. Traveling continues to be a major source of inspiration for her work as she renders her impressions of a country and a particular way of life in her illustrations. Her greatest ambition is to instill pride and self esteem in children with regard to their own unique heritage and to encourage their ability to capture it in pictures and words.

View more of Frané's work here:

Share on Google Plus

About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


  1. I've read some of your books to my sons...can't wait to read this one.



This Month's Books