Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Belated Book Birthday to Liz Wong's QUACKERS!

Liz Wong sent Quackers out into the world on Tuesday. Today, she's celebrating his book birthday week here. We chatted about Quackers, her process, reading, picture books, and Jennifer L. Holm. I wrote the words in orange, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Liz! 

Quackers thinks he is a duck. He’s a little mixed 
up. But he lives at the duck pond, and everyone else he knows is a duck, so he must be one too, right?

When you read Quackers for the first time, I hope it makes you smile, and I hope it makes you appreciate what makes you unique. If it makes you want to adopt a cat, well, that’s pretty good too.

I created the illustrations with watercolor, combined with digital painting. I hand lettered the book in pencil, cut out little cards and speech bubbles to go behind the text, and assembled it all in Photoshop.

Reading is my favorite thing to do. I can’t imagine anything better than spending the day curled up with a good book.

Photo Credit: Liz Wong
Picture books are a way for kids to understand the 
world. Seeing themselves reflected in stories is crucial for kids to figure out how to navigate their own lives. For example, if I hadn’t read all those weird Japanese folktale picture books when I was a kid, would I have known what to do when I cut open a giant peach and found a baby inside? Or when a giant sea turtle asked me to get on its back and take me to the kingdom of the sea princess? I don’t think so!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if Quackers 
is inspired by my childhood. I am part Japanese, Chinese, and Finnish. I was born in Hawaii, surrounded by my Asian relatives and classmates, then when I was nine, we moved to a tiny town in Washington state, mostly populated by people of Finnish descent (which, by the way, is the same town depicted in Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm). For the first time, I looked very different from everyone else around me. Like Quackers, I felt like I was part of two different worlds. It took me a long time to realize that being multicultural doesn’t mean you don’t fit in anywhere – instead, it enriches your world. Quackers comes to love both parts of himself, and I hope your readers will come to love Quackers, too.

Borrow Quackers from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. I loved hearing the story behind QUACKERS.