It’s May, and spring – sort of – in Minneapolis. Is it spring yet in other places? This has been the year of the endless winter, here in the north country, where it kept snowing right up until the end of April, and the screen windows just went on three days ago, at least in my house.
I have three new books out this spring, which seems excessive until I remind myself that each of these books was written years ago and has been making its way through the airplanes-on-a-runway process of publication ever since. Here they are.
1. Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing). Whenever I look at the cover of this book (an amazing artist named Drazen Kozjan did the art throughout), I feel happy. Why? Because I remember how happy I felt when I wrote this book. I’ve never had so much fun writing a book in my life. Julia Gillian is a nine-year-old girl who lives in an apartment building in my neighborhood in Minneapolis with her parents and Bigfoot, her St. Bernard, who is the dog of her dreams. This book is very near and dear to my heart. . . it’s supposedly for kids ages 8-12, but speaking as a grownup who loves to read children’s novels, I’d revise that to be for ages 8 And Up (and Up and Up).
2. Little Boy. This is one of those picture books, like its companion picture book Someday, that might be more for parents than for little kids. (Not that little kids wouldn’t like it, of course.) But I wrote it after remembering a day I spent with my then-little boy – who is now almost 18, 6’4″, and finds it amusing to pick me up and carry me from room to room when the spirit moves him – in which I consciously, all day, moved at his pace. And saw how wondrous the world can be, when everything you look at is new and marvelous. It’s illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, the same artist who illustrated Someday.
3. Bye-bye, Crib. This picture book really is a picture book for kids. Ross MacDonald’s illustrations are retro and art deco-y and I love the colors he used. It’s about a little boy who’s afraid to move from the crib to the big bed – familiar to any parents out there? (I should write a sequel to this book, maybe, a picture book about the great joy of getting up multiple times a night to put your toddler back into that big bed – once they realize that they’re no longer trapped in a crib, the jig is up.)