I See Color by Valerie Bolling, Kailei Pew, and Laylie Frazier

Happy Friday! I'm thrilled Valerie Bolling and Kailei Pew stopped by Watch. Connect. Read. to finish my sentences. We discussed I See Color's cover, Laylie Frazier's illustrations, writing, nonfiction picture books, and more. I wrote the words in purple, Valerie wrote the words in black, and Kailei wrote the words in green. Thank you, Valerie and Kailei.

I See Color’s cover depicts exactly what we hoped for and more. The subtitle of the book proclaims that it’s “an affirmation and celebration of our diverse world,” and the cover illustration clearly portrays the radiant skin colors of people of different races. I hope when readers reach for this book, the cover will make them eager to read it to find out more about how groups of people and individuals from diverse backgrounds have contributed to creating a just world for all.

Laylie Frazier’s illustrations . . . Wow! Absolutely stunning. This cover will stop people in their tracks and urge them to pick up this book. Each of Laylie’s interior illustrations is as gorgeous as the cover. Readers will certainly see and appreciate color after seeing her colorful, vibrant art. Kailei and I are so appreciative that Laylie collaborated with us on this book.

Writing is a balm for me. It feeds my soul; it brings me joy; and it’s exercise for my mind. I love crafting and revising a story and seeing it come to life with an editor’s vision and an artist’s amazing illustrations. In particular, it was an added benefit to be able to collaborate with Kailei during this process. We are both committed to telling stories that honor our diverse world, and we hope this book encourages children – and their adult readers – to listen to others and learn from their experiences and to do their part to ensure that our world is a place where all feel they belong.

I See Color is the book of our hearts. Valerie and I loved working together on this important book that we hope will promote antiracism. When people say “I don’t see color,” they are most often choosing to overlook the struggles of others and the reality of continued racism.

A better approach is to see the color. Love the color. And never discriminate against others based on their race or the color of their skin. We hope that our book will help others know that it is good to see and celebrate skin color.

Laylie Frazier’s illustrations are incredible, jaw-dropping, and moving. My breath caught the first time I saw them. The way Laylie shows power and pride through each image is incredible. It has been an absolute joy to work with her and we feel so very grateful to be on this journey together.

Nonfiction picture books open up the world to readers. I love writing engaging nonfiction in a way that helps readers discover new heroes, understand their world more completely, and know that they too can do and accomplish anything. Our hope with this book is twofold: to celebrate color and to educate readers about important civil rights activists from the United States, many of whom they likely haven’t heard of before. I’m always impressed by how much young readers love to learn these true stories.

Valerie Bolling is an educator with over thirty years of experience and the author of many books for children. Some of her picture books include Let’s Dance!; Together We Ride; Together We Swim (a Kirkus Prize finalist); Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun!; and Bing, Bop, Bam: Time to Jam!. Valerie is also the author of the early reader series Rainbow Days. She is passionate about creating stories in which all children can see themselves and feel seen and heard, valued, and validated. Valerie lives in Connecticut with her husband, and you can visit her at valeriebolling.com.

Kailei Pew is a children’s book author who believes in the power of books. She is committed to creating stories that help children see the world in new, more complete ways and know they can do and be anything they desire. She spends her time writing and reading, hanging out with her husband and kiddos, jogging through the Arizona desert, and baking anything with extra chocolate. Kailei is the author of Kid-ventors and The Monster Above the Bed. You can visit her at kaileipewbooks.com.

Laylie Frazier is a digital artist from Houston, Texas. She loves using a mix of warm colors and textures to create powerfully emotive portraits. Laylie is currently illustrating middle grade and young adult covers for publishing as well as working in advertising. I See Color is her first picture book, and you can visit her at ukelaylie.myportfolio.com.

I See Color releases on May 28, 2024. Pre-order a copy from your favorite bookshop. 


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