BLOG TOUR w/ INTERVIEWS: The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
ABOUT THE BOOK
Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation.
The young rabbit who is the main character of this story explores the world around him and then returns safely home to the loving parents who are waiting for him. The symbolism and message her shine through with a sweetness that was just right. The book reminded me of the wonder of learning about the beautiful things of the world as well as the hard things, the dreams as well as the journey itself. This book is about not only the value of stepping out and enjoying life's journey and the wonder of it, but also the inestimable value of having a home to come back to with those who love you waiting. Cordell's illustrations do an excellent job of highlighting different aspects of the text. Since the text is a bit abstract in it's discussion of life's journey, it helps immeasurably to see the little rabbit's experiences in the illustrations. Overall, a delightful read that will encourage readers both young and old to take the time to 'smell the roses' so to speak and enjoy life's journey and having supporting, loving family around you.
INTERVIEWS w/ AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
MATTHEW CORDELL, Illustrator:
*Could you share a bit about your illustration process for the book? How was this book different than others you have done?
Pretty much all of my books--The Knowing Book included--are a combination of drawing in pen and ink and painting with watercolors on paper. A free and spontaneous line in my drawing has always been important to me. And looseness in the painting too. I branched out with the drawing on this book by playing some more with colored inks (I typically only draw in black ink) and creating different areas of focus and texture by using some cross-hatching accents here and there. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and can't wait to incorporate more of this in books to come!
*What do you enjoy the most about illustrating books? Dislike the most?
Man... There's SO much I love about my job. I love getting paid to draw every day. I love collaborating with kind and generous and creative people. I love making art that is affordable and goes into children's hands. I love making BOOKS. I love telling stories with words and pictures. I love book design. I love being my own boss (more or less) and working from home and being around my kids at home while they're so young. What do I dislike about it?... Total copout answer, but I really can't think of a thing! Seriously, I love being able to do what I do. I feel so lucky and blessed.
*What are you currently working on?
I'm juggling a number of projects at the moment. I'm just finishing art for a picture book I wrote and illustrated called WOLF IN THE SNOW (Feiwel and Friends, 2017). I'm working on final artwork for THE ONLY FISH IN THE SEA, a picture book written by Philip Stead (a sequel to last year's SPECIAL DELIVERY). I'm in sketches for GONE CAMPING, a novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger (a sequel to 2013's GONE FISHING). And I'm writing and sketching DREAM, a picture book companion to last year's WISH. So excited about all of this stuff!
REBECCA KAI DOTLICH:
*What is the "story behind the story" or what inspired you to write this book?
During a particularly rough patch in my life, I went outside one night to be alone and just think. Feeling confused and sad, I had this overwhelming feeling of disappointment with people and life circumstances. As I was thinking, I looked up to the dark sky. Wow. Amazing; the stars, the universe. Now there’s something inspiring and constant; something that no one can ever take away. Don’t ever forget that, I told myself. And I went from feeling empty to feeling comforted. I went inside and jotted down my emotions at that moment.
*What do you enjoy doing that has helped you 'stop and smell the roses' so to speak?
Reading, sitting on my back deck with a glass of iced tea and a notebook scribbling notes, ideas and memories. I enjoy wandering around used bookshops. Collecting (and reading) old post cards. Watching movies, and more than anything, watching my grandchildren play office or pretend cook, dig in mud, make tents.
*What is your writing process like?
It’s always a little different. But it either starts by doodling in a notebook, or on the computer. Usually I don’t start a word document for a new idea until I’ve brainstormed quite a bit. I like to write in the mornings best. But there are many nights I work past midnight. Usually an idea comes from something small and quite normal that I overhear or see or think about. Thinking about things I did or felt as a child. Something my grandchildren say might be the seed of an idea. Then I just let my brain play and I make word lists and then I begin to construct the beginning of something word by word, line by line. I move lines around and generally find my way by just exploring ideas on the page. I cut and paste a lot. I tape many drafts up above me when I’m on my computer so I can “see” where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m a very visual learner.