FLOAT by Daniel Miyares

Hi, Daniel! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. As you’ve read on social media, I am WILD about FLOAT. I keep buying copies when I visit bookshops to give away to teachers and librarians. I want this book in as many schools and libraries as possible. 

Daniel Miyares: Wow, what a way to open! The support you and so many others have shown for Float has been quite overwhelming. You’re a class act Mr. Schu. I can’t thank you enough.

No, I cannot thank you enough for creating Float.

Daniel Miyares: When I’m working on a new book I’m usually just focused on how do I tell this story in the most personal and well-crafted way I can. Now to have it out in the world and see and hear people’s reactions to it has been amazing. Everyone brings something different to the story. I love that.

It really shows. Thank you!

What planted the seed for Float?

Daniel Miyares: I was on a plane flying home from my Aunt’s funeral. It had been raining all day and I did this small ink sketch of a boy floating a paper boat in a puddle. I wondered what happened before that moment and drew that. Then I wondered what happened immediately after and drew that. I went on like this throughout the flight until I found the beginning and the end of the story. I’ve always used drawing as a way to quietly make sense of the world around me. Not sure if that’s what I was doing then, but it was a very introspective time for me.
Let’s pretend we’re on Twitter right now. Please book talk Float using 140 characters or fewer. Good luck!

Daniel Miyares: Float is a story about a boy, his paper boat and a rainy day adventure- a wordless portrait of play, imagination, risk, resiliency and joy.

Bravo! A+

Congratulations on becoming a paper boat captain! How many paper boats do you think you’ve folded since you started working on Float? :) 

Daniel Miyares: You know when I started out as a paper boat deckhand, I never imagined I might someday captain one of my own. I’ve totally lost count of how many boats I’ve folded.  Let’s call it a flotilla’s worth at least.

Well, I need to start practicing.

Were you an avid writer and drawer growing up? What did 9-year-old Daniel love to read and draw?

Daniel Miyares: I would say I was an avid drawer growing up, but a secret writer. I drew and painted constantly from as early as I can remember. No scrap of paper or wall for that matter was safe in my house.

In elementary school, I had a teacher that introduced us to Shel Silverstein and my head exploded. I couldn’t believe that we were allowed to read this stuff in school…and the drawings were so wacky! There were kids with fingers stuck up their noses and heads where backsides should be. It felt like home. I also collected a lot of comic books and had a subscription to Mad Magazine. Spy vs Spy was a favorite.

My thing was making up characters and imagining all the adventures they had. I would write to create stories around my characters, but I didn’t really share those with anyone. Later on I got into writing poetry but I didn’t share that either. It wasn’t until much later on and I started crafting picture book ideas to pitch to publishers that I really started putting my writing out there. It took me a long time to connect the dots and feel confident in doing it.

Please complete these sentence starters:

Reading is the only super power that can be taught and learned. My daughter is learning to read right now and I get to see firsthand how much confidence she’s gaining through the process. It’s a great reminder to me just how wild and precious a thing reading is.

Picture books are catalysts for some of the most lasting discoveries a child will ever make. This is why I might also say – Making picture books is an honor and a great responsibility. There is something about the format that demands excellence from the maker and attention from the reader in equal proportion.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me...What’s on the horizon?

I just finished up two new picture books. One is a collaboration with Kwame Alexander and NorthSouth Books called Surf’s Up. In it two frog friends have every intention of making it to the beach to catch a wave, but the book one of them is reading ends up taking them both on a paradigm shifting detour neither will forget. It comes out February of 2016. The other is my next book with Simon & Schuster titled Bring Me A Rock! I’m the author and illustrator on this one. It’s about an over bearing megalomaniac insect king’s obsession and the tiny bug who saves the day. To be released Summer 2016.

John, I still can’t thank you enough for all the care and support you’ve shown Float and for the opportunity to talk about books with you and your readers. I’m learning that the books community is truly a heartfelt, insightful and generous group of folks. You’re a bright shining example of that.

Thank you, Daniel! You are a class act!

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


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