Remarkables by Lisa Mantchev and David Litchfield

Hello, Lisa Mantchev! Thank you for visiting Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss Remarkables. It is filled with the most exciting and well-timed page turns. The structure of the book is so unique and memorable. I love how wordless spreads are sprinkled throughout. 

Lisa Mantchev: Thank you for having me! True story, Remarkables didn’t have any words, originally. I sold the outline to S&S with detailed descriptions of how I thought the story could be told through the artwork; it was only later that Paula Wiseman rang me up and asked how I felt about adding text. I have a theatre background, and the rule in improvisation is “Yes, and…” so I said I would absolutely try.

But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that adding words to David’s completely gorgeous work was maybe the most professionally terrifying—and ultimately rewarding—experience of my publishing career to date. I printed out all the art spreads and set them in order on my vintage letterpress printers’ cabinet, and I used Post-It Notes to draft and arrange and rearrange the text. My fantastic editor, Sylvie Frank, worked really hard with me to fine-tune everything down to the very last word. 

What ran through your head the first time you saw David Litchfield’s illustration of the mermaid?

Lisa Mantchev: It wasn’t so much actual words as one of those high-pitched noises that only dogs can hear. I’ve been a huge admirer of David’s work since I purchased THE BEAR AND THE PIANO, and I absolutely fell in love with his rendering of the mermaid. She is so endearing and winsome, and when I saw her in color, I was even more pleased, if that’s possible! Blue-haired girls are one of my trademarks (Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has blue hair on the cover to my very first published novel, EYES LIKE STARS.) 

Please finish these sentence starters: 

I hope Remarkables conveys to readers of all ages the message that some families are the ones we choose for ourselves. Every day, I see the amazing and giving and loving adults who, through adoption or blended families or fostering, are raising the children of their hearts.

Picture books are magical. Paper and ink and imagination and countless hours of hard work moved from hand to hand to hand until the finished book lands in the waiting hands of a child (and the adults who read to them!)

School libraries are portals to every possible dimension of imagination and history and should be showered with funds accordingly.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me  about all the other weird stuff in my office! Besides the printers’ cabinet, I have seven typewriters, eleven pieces of taxidermy, several skulls, a really loud Western Electric telephone that is connected to an ACTUAL LANDLINE, a cabinet 78 rpm record player, a portable 78 rpm record player, an armoire that leads to Narnia and also holds all my author copies, and a legion of Wonder Woman FunkoPops. 😊 

Look for Remarkables on September 10, 2019. 


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