LIFT by Minh Lê and Dan Santat
Happy Wednesday! When I finished reading Minh Lê and Dan Santat's LIFT for the first time, I picked up a pen and wrote this inside my notebook: "Lift is the book I will LIFT up during all the 2020 Scholastic Reading Summits. I must share it during school visits, presentations, and with anyone who will listen to me talk about it. Everyone's heart needs a copy of Lift."
Well, the Reading Summits were cancelled, school visits were cancelled, and pretty much every in-person presentation was cancelled through the summer. Thankfully, this blog is still here. Thankfully, Minh Lê and Dan Santat stopped by today to discuss LIFT, Iris, Dan's illustrations, Minh's manuscripts, and school librarians. I wrote the words in purple, Minh wrote the words in black, and Dan wrote the words in green. Thank you, Minh and Dan!
Dan Santat's illustrations are totally out of this world. Sending a story to Dan is kind of like pushing a magic elevator button. I know it's going to lead to something extraordinary, but it's always more amazing than I could've imagined and takes my breath away every time.
Iris has a big imagination and an even bigger heart.
On May 5, 2020, my wish is for readers to find some joy and magic through our book. So many kids and families are doing the important but difficult work of sheltering-in-place right now. So I hope the idea of a magic elevator button that lets you travel to fantastical places from the comfort of your own home will spark something in the imagination and make staying inside a little easier. Because I don't know about you, but I feel like we could ALL use a lift right now.
Minh Lê's manuscripts are always delightful treasures. The brilliance of his work is his ability to maintain a simplicity in his storytelling while appearing minimal in his effort all while injecting a tremendous amount of emotion in the narrative. He makes the process look simple when it is anything but that and I am especially lucky to get to work with him on treasures like this.
The illustrations for Lift are much more narrative than other picture books I've worked on in my career. Most of the original manuscript were visual instructions sprinkled with dialogue to fill in the emotional beats to the story placed in areas where we knew it would have the greatest impact. There were scenes where I wanted to draw the moments out longer and build up to the page turn but when all the pages added up at the end it far exceeded the 40 page count limit that I typically adhere to for picture books. Luckily, the publisher liked what they were seeing and allowed me to go past that and granted me 54 pages instead. Minh gave me the freedom to describe what was on the other side of the closet door and I honestly have to tell you that the possibilities were so vast that it stressed me out for a few weeks.
Iris is every child who steps into an elevator. I can't think of a greater pleasure to most kid's than the opportunity to press an elevator button. Then she gets an opportunity to gave a magical elevator transport her to anywhere she wants? I think that's a dream come true for any kid
School librarians are like magical elevator doors. If you give them the opportunity, they will help transport you to magical places in your mind
From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits--and press all the right buttons!
Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it's time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she's pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she's forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.
Using their dynamic comics-inspired storytelling, acclaimed author Minh Lê and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Dan Santat carry readers on a journey of ups, downs, and twists and turns that will send hearts--and imaginations--soaring.