You have a children's book in the making, right? Could you tell us anything about it -- maybe a sneak peak or some behind-the-scenes dirt?
Ha! I have until March 2007 to finish painting all the illustrations and everything is right on schedule (with a secret preprinted cover image under the jacket!). The title of the book is The Sea Serpent and Me and was written by Dashka Slater. It’ll be published through Houghton Mifflin in 2007. My editor at Houghton Mifflin, Kate O' Sullivan, is wonderful to work with and I have to say that she has made the process of revisions really rewarding.
So what makes a good children’s book?
Just a good story. I think without it everything else falls apart. When a good story is in place then all the other elements can come into play: beautiful pictures, meaningful messages, and funny characters which allow a child to be curious, think, laugh, feel, and understand.
One of my favorite writer and illustrator of children's books is Jimmy Liao. He wrote and illustrated The Sound of Colors, which was also made into a film. I also love the work of Lizbeth Zwerger. She illustrated some of the most beautiful children's books and has won countless awards. I also like the kooky, brilliantly designed, original stories by the super duo Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka (the true story of the three little pigs). If you haven't had a chance to read these I would highly recommend it: Cloud Boy by Rhode Montijo and The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. My favorite books are I'll Be You and You Be Me, by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Maurice Sendak; Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss; and Shaun Tan's The Red Tree. It's so, so beautiful. I believe it's an amazing book that transcends the very market it is for.
Is there any advice you’d like to give readers?
There’s so much that I want to see, so my advice is
travel while you can and if you can. I think that there's a balance and perspective
that can only be understood by leaving home and coming back to it after a
long journey. I mean, the bigger picture is that if we all knew a little more
about the rest of the world then people would be more conscious of how strong
our ties are and take care in what we support and how it affects everything
Guu Magazine at GuuPress.com
> Catia Chien’s website