Happy Monday! I'm thrilled Caldecott Honor artist Jillian Tamaki dropped by to finish my sentences and to share They Say Blue's GORGEOUS cover. I wrote the words in blue, and Jillian wrote the words in black. Thank you, Jillian!
Everyone moves through the world differently. But how we perceive the world is also a spectrum within every individual that shifts from moment to moment. They Say Blue aims to capture the experience of moving through the natural world—questioningly, emotionally, scientifically, imaginatively. The child in the book is a daydreamer and intense observer who is starting to explore the world around her and see the connections between it and herself. She questions language, idioms, and common knowledge, holding them up against what she sees with her own eyes.
I hope readers of They Say Blue like it! Ha ha. I try to make readers feel a lot of things when they read any book I make, but I realize that once a book is out in the world, every reader is going to overlay their own experiences and take away different things. The environments in the book are inspired by landscapes I have known in my life; I hope to transport readers there viscerally, even if they have never experienced snow personally.
Picture books are poems! This is my first picture book. I had a lot of respect for my picture book author friends, but it’s double now. It’s incredibly difficult and precise work. Making this book really did feel like what I imagine crafting poetry is like.
School libraries should be places that are fluid, safe, welcoming, nonjudgmental. I’ve always enjoyed working in libraries, as a student to the current day. I’d wager that every book I’ve made has been crafted in part in a library. Also, they should have a lot of power outlets.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what inspired the book! I usually hate this question, but in this case, it was pretty specific. I had watched a dance performance choreographed by a friend. One of the dancers was a young girl. Later that night I was drawing a girl dancing in sequence and it felt like it could be the visual theme or basis of a picture book. Of course, I later realized I had the same visual idea in both my graphic novels This One Summer and Skim, the latter of which dates back to 2008. So, not so new after all, but whatever gets the job done.
Look for They Say Blue on March 13, 2018.