Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has collaborated with his artist daughter, Theodora Richards, on a children’s picture book titled Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, which will hit bookshelves September 9th. The inspiration for the book came from a story in Richards’ 2010 memoir Life, in which Keith’s jazz-band member grandfather, Theodore Augustus Dupree (the “Gus” in the title), turned him on to music. Theodora, Gus’s namesake, illustrated the story. The book also includes photos from the Richards family collection.
“I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I’m talking about,” Keith said in a statement. “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me.”
Daughter Theodora said she was happy to be involved so she could learn more about her family history. “When I found out they wanted me to be a part of this project, my immediate instinct was to say yes, and I am so happy I did,” she said. “To be able to explore my father’s relationship with his grandfather was a gift in itself. The things that I’ve learnt during this whole process have just been life affirming.”
The book is Theodora’s first. The 28-year-old studied art at the New York Academy of Art and the School of Visual Arts. She researched the images for the book by traveling to the Richards family home in Dartford, England, where she went through the family’s photo albums to see pictures of her dad as a child.
Keith, who is now 70, recalled his own return to Dartford in a 2010 issue of Rolling Stone. “It’s almost like you’re looking at somebody else,” he said of the journey. “Then you start to feel small things, like the smell of a gas lamp or my grandmother shuffling around and my grandfather going, ‘Make the boy some egg and chips.'”