“With my own art, I try to invite readers to seek meaning in expressions, body language, or through visual clues. I endeavor not to tell the story directly but make enough suggestions so my reader moves beyond being a watcher and, instead, becomes a participant. I have read the recent articles regarding progressing kids out of picture books quickly. That is an idea I believe to be very harmful, robbing children of some fine opportunities to hone essential skills. Being able to decipher visual clues is extremely beneficial. We should remind ourselves that words, powerful as they are, are still only ONE form of communication.”
“I would like to say I went into children’s book writing because of my great understanding of children. I went in because it wasn’t excluded by my Standard Oil contract.”
“Sometimes you’ll do something that you really like and no one else does. You’ll feel terrible, but you’ve just got to press on and keep trying. If you like doing it and keep working at it, then someday you will succeed.”
“If we don’t laugh, gasp, block our ears, sigh, vomit, giggle, curl our toes, empathize, sympathize, feel pain, weep, or shiver during the reading of a picture book, then surely the writer has wasted our time, our money, and our precious, precious trees.”
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
“Since I began making picture books I have come to realise over time that I call them just that. Picture books. Not children’s books. The reason for this is twofold; firstly I don’t believe they are just for children. I have met countless adults that collect picture books for themselves, and they are growing in confidence about openly admitting this in a book-signing queue. It’s not for my daughter, or a friend’s nephew. It’s for me. Often these individuals are teachers, librarians, publishing employees, art college students / aspiring picture-book makers themselves. But increasingly, they are doctors, civil servants, bus drivers … just people who have discovered the joy of a story unfolding visually over a few dozen pages.
I refrain from calling them children’s books because that implies I write them specifically for children. I don’t. I write them for myself. And for everyone.”