Book Trailer Premiere: To the Sea by Cale Atkinson

Hi, Cale! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read! I’m excited to share To the Sea’s awesome book trailer with the world. What do you want to tell everyone before they press PLAY?

Cale Atkinson: Just be sure to have your sound turned up! My uber talented friend Ryan Loerke composed the music for the trailer and it’s not the same experience without it. Aside from that, just press the ‘play’ button, and I hope you enjoy!

I remember reading your tweets when you were working on To the Sea’s book trailer. It sounded like you were having a lot of fun, and all your hard work definitely paid off. Did you encounter any challenges while creating the book trailer?

Cale Atkinson: It was indeed a lot of fun to put together as well as a lot of work. I joke with friends that my book trailer was more work than the actual book… I don’t want to admit how much truth there is in that…

From the moment I started working on To the Sea years ago, I had a vision in my mind for what I would do for a book trailer. It’s neat to see how close the final trailer stayed with my original thumbnail sketches.

As far as challenges, I think the biggest challenge was just the hefty amount of effort involved to make it turn out how I envisioned it in my head. There were many late evenings when I was up until the wee hours painting frames and frames of kids running down stairs. Having the music that Ryan composed was a huge motivator. I could see the whole trailer play out in my head as I listened to it and that made me so excited to get it finished.
Even though it was a beast of work, I’m so happy with how it turned out and glad I restrained myself from taking too many shortcuts along the way. I always welcome a new challenge and this one was no exception!

To the Sea’s dedication made me smile:
“Dedicated to anyone who feels invisible and any whale that needs to get back to sea.”

Cale Atkinson: Happy you noticed it! For me this book is for all those people out there who feel a touch out of place, lost or invisible in their surroundings. I think we all can relate to knowing how that feels at times, whether feeling lost figuratively like Tim or literally like Sam. I am also a strong believer there are many whales out there who are stuck, and could use our help getting back to their homes in the sea.

My students know the second thing I do before reading a picture book for the first time is remove its jacket to examine the case. Thanks for a lovely surprise!

Cale Atinkson: Yes! I am the same way! While I understand when an illustrator decides to keep it the same image on jacket and case, I am always a touch disappointed not to see a different image beneath. Believe me when I say I will fight tooth and nail to always have a different surprise image under all my books jackets!

As a small child, you wanted to be a whale when you grew up. Truth?

Cale Atkinson: Haha it was either a whale or a cartoonist. The real dream would have been a whale cartoonist! At least I made it halfway there ☺

If we visited your studio, what would we see?

Cale Atkinson: First you would probably see my amazing and talented illustrator wife Jessika who sits and works beside me. After saying hi to her you would probably notice a messy desk with papers, books and toys piled on it… yes that would be mine. Our studio is pretty filled with art on the walls including some treasured original art from classic Disney films. Oh and an amazing Sam plushy that a friend made me for my birthday!

Please finish these sentence starters:

Lil’ Red is an animated short I made, giving my own take on the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood.

Picture books are an amazing way to connect, escape and stoke the imagination.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if you wanted to team up and open a detective agency together called Eye Spy, where we solve every case by playing ‘I spy with my little eye’. My answer would be yes!

Thank you, Cale!

Borrow To the Sea from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. This looks like such a wonderful book. I love the colors. And the trailer was very sweet!


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