|"Eco Flower Fairies" available here.|
The fairies were soft and colorful and the perfect size for a pocket. My daughter spent hours building a fairy world around them -- a pine cone became a pine tree, a pile of leaves was a soft fairy bed. She was a child who would've wondered (and worried) about fairies in the winter. I wish I had this new book to share with her then:
Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? explores this question with rhyming questions and charming illustrations. It will wing its way into the world on October 15. Author Liza Gardner Walsh and illustrator Hazel Mitchell have dropped by to tell us about their wonderful, whimsical new book.
Hello, Liza! What draws you to writing about fairies?
|Author Liza Gardner Walsh|
What draws me to writing about fairies is first that I am a bit in the clouds myself. Sometimes I feel as if I might float away! But really, the main reason is seeing the wonder and magic of believing in children’s faces. The care and devotion that these young people put into creating worlds for the fairies and their utter earnestness about the endeavor is a true joy to watch. There is an underlying message that if you are kind and make the world better, the fairies will be happy. If I can in some small way encourage kids to make the world better than I feel like I am on the right track.
How was the process of writing this picture book different from your other books about fairy houses and fairy gardens?
This book was a joy to write because I started my writing career as a poet and I was able to put that hat on again. Although using less words doesn’t mean it is easier, there was a breeziness to writing this one that my other longer fairy books don't have. I was also working as a preschool teacher as I wrote this and listening to the most amazing questions each day. Sometimes questions don’t have an answer but imagining the possibilities is the best part!
And hello to you, Hazel! The books you’ve illustrated have vastly different stories. How do you go about starting your illustrations?
|Illustrator Hazel Mitchell and Toby,|
who will star in an upcoming book.
Yes, I've had a diversity of subjects to illustrate in my career so far! It's been interesting. When illustrating someone else's story I begin by reading the manuscript several times. The first time I read straight through to understand it and get the feel of it. Then I start thinking about the setting of the story, the characters, the mood, whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, narrative or not, what age group it’s for and what kind of illustrative style might fit. Is it realistic, fantasy, fun, serious, cute? All these things give me a feel for what’s required. Sometimes I'm guided by an art director’s brief and sometimes I’m let loose with a free rein. On the next read through I’ll begin to make notes, jot down ideas for illustrations and characters. Start to think about where the page turns are. Maybe I will start to do picture research or mood boards. Then I’ll start to sketch the main characters. Once things are beginning to evolve I’ll dive right into thumbnails and I am off!
Wow, that's quite a process! In Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows?, what helped you capture the fine details of nature?
Liza's story suggested the environment fairies live in. I started to see scenes straight away. To understand where fairies really lived, I needed to look a little deeper. Liza has a couple of other great non-fiction books published by Down East Books about fairy houses and where fairies live, so I was able to do some research with them and see a multitude of REAL fairy houses in the wild! It helps that I love drawing nature and little critters and all kinds of tiny detail. Being British I grew up reading Beatrix Potter, Wind in the Willows, The Borrowers … so small worlds are in my blood! I had a wonderful time imagining fairy houses.
I see that you are both Maine residents. Just for fun, what is the best part about living in Maine and what is the worst?
Liza: The best thing about Maine is that it feels like its own country—rugged a little hard to reach, and the people who live here have this deep creative ingenuity and unique spirit.
Hazel: Best – Lobster! Worst – Black Fly!
Thank you for giving us a peek at your book, Liza and Hazel.
Readers, you can join in on the fun of this new release! Liza and Hazel have graciously offered to GIVE AWAY a copy of Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? and an adorable Winter Fairy Kit. Enter by commenting below. Winners names will be drawn in one week.
|Isn't this wonderful? |
(I know a not-so-little girl
who would love one...)
You can also support your local fairy author and illustrator by purchasing a copy of Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? at indiebound or Amazon.
Liza Gardner Walsh has worked as a preschool teacher, children's librarian, writing teacher, museum educator, and holds a master's degree in writing from Vermont College. She is the author of several other books including Fairy House Handbook, Treasure Hunter's Handbook, and Muddy Boots.
Hazel Mitchell's first book was published in 2011 and her latest books also include Animally, Imani's Moon, One Word Pearl, and 1,2,3 by the Sea. Her first book as author/illustrator, Toby, will be published in 2016 by Candlewick Press. She is represented by Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown Ltd., NYC.
Let's celebrate Liza and Hazel's new book! Congratulations!