My Pet Cloud began as only a title, courtesy of Kisha Gianni’s sister, who uttered it years ago. But upon getting married and starting to think about kids of her own, Gianni, a Santa Ynez–raised interior designer, decided to write the whole story about a boy who adopts a cloud as a pet and names him Harold.
It’s a very sweet tale about not being alone, no matter where you go, brought to life by the illustrations of Kisha’s mom, Lyn, and told in a tone and style that could prove incredibly popular for children aged 0-7. Better yet, it’s the kind of good-message-but-easy-to-enjoy book that parents won’t get sick of reading, time and time again.
“It’s like an imaginary friend, but more tangible, and everyone has access to clouds,” said Kisha, who was inspired by the quirkiness of Shel Silverstein but still finds solace in the uplifting themes of Dumbo and The Little Engine That Could. “I feel like My Pet Cloud has a really good message of security and constancy for kids.”
The project took quite a while to get everything right, but its release in October was fortuitous: Kisha gave birth to her son, Kai, in November. “It’s been so neat and magical to read it to my own baby,” said Kisha. She has high hopes for the book — “It’s such a contender!” — but she’s learning that the kids’-book-publishing world may be a tough nut to crack. The early feedback is encouraging, at least, especially from one girl who demanded the book be read to her six times and then wanted to sleep with it. Said Kisha, “That was a really good review.”
Kisha Gianni will sign copies of My Pet Cloud at Chaucer’s Books (3321 State St.;  682-6787; chaucersbooks.com) on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.