Read Island: A Picture Book for All Ages

By Nicole Magistro

Do you have a magical place in your life? A real destination that you try to visit often? It speaks to you, and that’s why you always return.

For debut local author, Nicole Magistro, Read Island is her favorite spot in the world. It’s a wild and rural landscape located in the Discovery Islands region of the South Coast of British Columbia. Magistro’s family keeps a cabin there, accessible only by a small plane hop or boat crossing from Vancouver Island. The ocean straits and lush forests are home to bald eagles, sea lions, wolves, seals, migrating salmon, cougars, whales and rare, elusive spirit bears. No wonder she returns every summer to share new adventures and traditions with her son, Silas, and husband, Zach.

Alice and Nicole, courtesy ofJen Winkeller Photography

When Magistro sold The Bookworm of Edwards in 2020, she took a relaxing break from her hectic life as former proprietor (15 years) of Vail Valley’s popular independent bookstore and delicious café. Everyone wondered, “What will come next for this talented, motivated, smart and successful young woman who always dreamed privately of publishing her own books?”

As a journalism undergrad and graduate student at Northwestern University, she had cultivated a strong foundation for her writing skills, but her professional focus hadn’t yet granted her the time and space to create, except to write prolific reviews for other authors.

Breathe in, breathe out, Magistro … and rise up Read Island. A children’s picture book takes shape in her imagination. At first, only a potpourri of personal passions and images, then a storyline celebrating reading, literacy, nature, children, community and a real, magical habitat. Most authors will agree that their best work often “writes itself,” straight from the heart.

Once Magistro determines her new direction, then in her inimitable style, she composes her list to make it happen:


1) Title. Got it. Perfect.

2) Theme and plot: Somewhere, out there, lies an island made of books. A little girl sets sails with her crew of two — fox and mouse — to find it.

3) They discover it, along with a menagerie of native wild animal friends who share an enjoyment of reading and storytelling. Together they reveal the most important secret on Read Island: “This world of stories, safe and true, is always here to welcome you.”

4) Author: Nicole Magistro! Finally, my window opens!

5) Illustrator: Alice Feagan, without a doubt. A popular U.S. children’s illustrator, Vail Valley local and top choice to bring my words to life.

6) Publisher: Read Island, LLC., Edwards, CO (est. April 2021). Years as a book professional have gifted me valuable knowledge about the nuts and bolts of indie publishing. Plus, isn’t it more fun to steer the boat yourself?

7) Product lines: Think big. Spring/Summer 2021.

8) Book launch date: Can’t wait! Fall 2021.

Author Nicole Magistro

Never one to miss a beat, given her expertise in the current retail market, Magistro strategically developed appealing companion merchandise to support bookstores and gift outlet sales. First, she introduced greeting cards, socks, puzzles, etc. all showcasing Alice’s signature artwork.

The book followed, right on schedule. I invite you to explore the world of Read Island. Magistro’s rhythmic, thoughtful text is perfect for reading aloud to kids or reflection for all ages. Feagan’s unique illustrations layer contemporary digital techniques atop traditional hand-drawn originals, reminiscent of classic fables, songs and maps. Feagan is a master of color, shadowing, texture and character detail.

This author/illustrator team shares more than their delightful collaboration. Both live in the Vail Valley and enjoy outdoor adventure. Both are avid readers. Both are moms, with boys who are bookworms. Both are now, best friends.

READ ISLAND (released October 5, 2021) has already earned top reviews from industry pros, teachers, librarians, booksellers, parents and friends. One favorite endorsement comes from Wendy Hudson of Nantucket Book Partners in Nantucket, MA, who writes, “an instant classic.”

So climb aboard and sail into this delightful story for book lovers of all ages.

READ ISLAND is available at The Bookworm of Edwards or wherever books are sold. Hardcover $18.99.