The Author / LA Autora
Anita Jepson-Gilbert at the Museum of Maria Reiche in Nazca, Peru, 2003.
Anita Jepson - Gilbert
Anita Jepson-Gilbert first learned about the Nazca Lines from her husband Wayne Gilbert in 1986, when they were living in Denver, Colorado. In Denver she wrote and published poetry while also teaching college English. Since she was working on campus, she was able to order library books from near and far about the Nazca Lines. As she read through all of them, she noticed how often they relied on the writings and photos by Dr. Maria Reiche to show and explain the mysterious land drawings of Nazca, Peru. This led our author to become as interested in this woman scientist as she was in the Nazca Lines. Soon her fascination produced a poem, entitled " Maria and the Stars of Nazca."
In 1988 our author sent a copy of her poem to Dr. Reiche in Nazca, Peru, to find out if it met her approval and also inquired how she could find Maria’s own book, Secret on the Desert. Dr. Reiche gladly approved of the poem and also ordered a copy of her own book to be sent to her from Germany. When it arrived, Ms Jepson-Gilbert was quite surprised, as this was the first time she had seen a book written in 3 languages: English, Spanish, and German. This prompted our author to turn her own poem about Maria Reiche into a children's story to be told in English and Spanish. To do the translation, she approached her dear friend from Panama, Professor Emerita Carmen Casís. Finally, through the Colorado Independent Publishers, she also found a local well-known book designer, who then enlisted Rodger Osban to produce all the illustrations for her book.
After the death of Maria Reiche in 1998, Ms. Jepson-Gilbert began to meet with her team to start the work of transforming her poem into a fully illustrated, bilingual children's book. Now, with the help of Maria Reiche's own book with all the Nazca images drawn to scale, her artist could get started with the illustrations. She knew that to keep control of the entire production, she would have to self-publish the book. But, first, she felt she needed to view the Nazca Lines for herself to see the color and lay of the land.
So in 2003, the 100th anniversary of Maria Reiche’s birth, this author made the trip to Peru to view those mysterious line drawings both from the desert and from an airplane. In addition, she was able to meet with two people who were personally familiar with Maria Reiche and her work. The trip was a great success, and the following year the book was independently published with the addition of a small audio CD in both languages. In 2005 her book was awarded two First Prizes from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: one for Best in Children’s Books and one for its Contribution to Literacy. Now, nearly 20 years later, it has come through a second publication from Ewings Publishing, who hopes you will enjoy reading and listening to this inspiring story in English or Spanish, or both.
Carmen A. Casis at her home in Denver, Colorado
Carmen A. Casis
Carmen A. Casís, a native of Panama and long-time resident of Colorado, is a Professor Emerita of English and American literature at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, where she taught English for 33 years to North Americans. She is now retired and involved in a number of volunteer projects on behalf of civil rights and mentoring women in prison. She continues to travel extensively to exotic destinations as well as to her native Panama.