Even after twenty-seven years of being published it is still a nerve-wracking thrill to have a new book come out. As I type this, tomorrow, November 2nd, 2021, my next book, “Dear Little One” will make its way into the world, and hopefully into the hands of many, many readers. It has already gotten a much-coveted Starred Review in School Library Journal, which makes me so happy, and a lovely review from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as being chosen as one of the Best Books of the Month for November from Amazon.
“Dear Little One” is framed as a love letter that encourages and inspires readers to explore nature and to protect this world we love. Spoiler Alert: close your eyes right now if you don’t want to know who this letter is from…
My original title for this book is the answer: Love, Mother Nature. This is the actual page in my journal where inspiration hit and I started writing what eventually became “Dear Little One.”
All of my books begin in my journals, but after that I type them into my laptop and then the revising begins. Some books take dozens of revisions. I had a pretty clear vision for “Dear Little One,” and it went through four revisions before it went off to the amazing Melissa Castrillon for her to begin creating the illustrations.
“Dear Little One” the the third collaboration with me as author and Melissa as illustrator. My book, “If I Had A Little Dream” was the very first picture book she illustrated. Then we did “Yellow Kayak” together. (and we are doing a fourth book together – which hasn’t officially been announced in the trades, but I think I can say the title… it is “Love is My Favorite Color.”) Yes, I am also an illustrator. I have a degree in Illustration from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and my parents were both artists. My career has been a journey and life has taken many twists and turns as I became a caregiver to my father, who has now passed away, my husband, who still has some health issues, and my brother, who also has been battling health issues. I am grateful that I’ve been able to write through this period of time and I know there is art in writing- and nature has grounded me.
I have always been a Nature Girl. This is me at age 8 in summer camp in Cooperstown, New York. I was that little girl who collected pine cones and leaves. I had funerals for spiders, and I rescued bugs. I also started foraging as a child in summer camp and loved to shock my friends by eating the petals on day lilies. It is no surprise that I live on a rural island and I forage for a lot of the food that we eat.
In this day of Climate Change and during the pandemic I especially think that the message of “Dear Little One” is so important for children of all ages- to care for this world and help keep it from danger. I feel so deeply for this book on so many levels and absolutely love how Melissa has brought it to life, and designer Lizzy Bromley has done a magnificent job, as usual. Please look at the case of the book- under the jacket- and you will see this:
Paula Wiseman Books and Simon & Schuster have done a beautiful job with this book. And I am ever grateful to my incredible agent, Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency– a powerhouse of women agents!
I thank you for reading this, and I thank you in advance for reading “Dear Little One” to your little ones. I hope you will make it part of your library and part of your heart.