Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ children’s book called “Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar”, has debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times’ bestseller list of children’s books, for the week ending Sept. 28, 2014. Richards (who is 70) wrote “Gus & Me” with Barnaby Harris and Bill Shapiro, while Richards daughter Theodora Richards did the illustrations. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Richards said that the book wasn’t his idea, but it was his idea to have Theodora do the illustrations.
“Gus & Me” (published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) went on sale in hardcover and eBook formats on Sept. 9, with the hardcover edition including an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus book content. According to Little, Brown Books, the world English rights acquisition was made by Tingley, who will also edit the book. It was published simultaneously in the U.K. by Orion Children’s Books, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, a division of Hachette U.K.
On Sept. 9, Richards went on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to promote “Gus & Me.” Theodora made a brief appearance at the end of the interview. Meanwhile, “Gus & Me” has been getting rave reviews from fans on websites such as Amazon that post reader reviews. Many of the fans have noted that they like that Richards shows a side of himself and his family that most people didn’t know about before reading the book.
Richards’ 2010 memoir “Life” won numerous awards and was an international bestseller: Selling 2 million copies worldwide, according to Little, Brown and Company, which published “Life.”
In the September 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Richards had this to say:
My granddad was the one who turned me on to music … But this book didn’t come from me. It was put forward as an idea that some other guys had come up with about certain chapters in ‘Life.’ They said, ‘These would make a great kids’ book.’ So I said, ‘Yeah.’ I was about to become a grandfather for the fifth time, and I had a father who likes to do illustrations, and I felt I could keep it in the family, and I did also want to bring Gus back to life again.”
Theo has always been a little bit of an illustrator, and she did a lot of research. She also wanted to know more about her great-grandfather. She would call me up frantically on some nights saying, ‘What hat did grandpa wear?’ And ‘Where the hell is Primrose Hill?’ So I sent her on a little journey.”
Theodora told Harper’s Bazaar:
I literally stayed inside for months doing drawings of London and Dad’s face and grandpa’s shoes and the dogs and the armchairs and cakes and the landscape.”
Theodora (born on March 18, 1985) is one of two daughters of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen, who have been married since 1983. Theodora has worked as a model and a nightclub DJ. According to Little, Brown:
She has taken art classes at various schools in New York City, including the New York Academy of Art and the School of Visual Arts. In order to research the images for this project, she traveled to the Richards family home in Dartford, England, and pored over family and historical photographs of Richards’ childhood.”