How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? by Vanessa Bayer and Rosie Butcher

Happy Tuesday! Today is Vanessa Bayer and Rosie Butcher's How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?'s book birthday. I know it will bring comfort to many people. 

Vanessa stopped by to chat with me about Rosie Butcher's illustrations, the inspiration for How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?, picture books, and school libraries. I wrote the words in purple, and Vanessa wrote the words in black. Thank you, Vanessa! 

How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? is a children’s book about what to do if you have a friend who gets sick or is going through a difficult time.

Rosie Butcher’s illustrations are magical! They are the most beautiful, sweet, and thoughtful illustrations of this story that I ever could have hoped for. I am thrilled this book will be an avenue through which people who aren’t familiar with her will get to see her amazing work. 

I hope How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?
makes having a sick friend a little less scary, and reminds children (and adults!) that the way that you care for a friend who falls ill or is having a tough time, is to show up and be there for them. They are still the same exact friend who you love very much!

Picture books are such an amazing way to teach children about the endless possibility in the world. I have always loved picture books and I think that love stems from when I was little and my mom would take my brother and me to the library every week and we would just sit and read. And then remember when the “Book It” program happened?? And the library gave you a holographic pin of a book opening and if you read a certain amount of books your classroom got a pizza party? Sorry, what were we talking about, John? 

School libraries are…well thank you for that segue, John! I feel like we’re really getting along! School libraries are not only places for students to study and gain academic knowledge, but also places for them to explore new universes and ideas, and to sharpen their own perspectives. They are also safe and sacred spaces. Sometimes my friends and I would eat lunch in the library. The librarians didn’t always love that but I think they made their peace with it?

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what my inspiration for this book was! Well, I’ll tell you. When I was in ninth grade I was diagnosed with ALL which is a form of childhood leukemia. While it was an incredibly challenging time, the support and love from my family and friends made all of the difference. We would laugh and cry and talk and dream. In fact, many of those friends are still my closest friends to this day, and my book is dedicated to them. Thanks for talking to me John!

Thank you, Vanessa! I'm honored you finished my sentences. 

Vanessa Bayer is an actor, comedian, and writer originally from Cleveland, Ohio. She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. This is her children's book debut.

Rosie Butcher grew up surrounded by books. She lives in East Yorkshire, UK. This is her picture book debut.


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