Am I BIG Enough?

Once you are a published author you get a lot of questions and requests for advice from people who want to publish a children’s book. Most of the time I give them a couple of suggestions but mostly I tell them to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

A local friend and client of mine who had helped me out on a few occasions told me he had friend who had written a book. He said she wanted to take me to lunch and ask my advice. I didn’t want to say no so we set a date.

I did a lot of character designs to get Finn just right.

Julia Pinckney was not local to my area but her job had her travel to many places. She was in town from North Carolina. We chatted for a bit about books and she asked if I d look at her manuscript. I told her I would make no promises but would give her my honest opinion. I read Am I BIG Enough? And was surprised at its simplicity and sweetness. I was also blown away by her idea of having a hand every few pages that a reader of the appropriate age could see that they were “big enough” too. She said she he’d talked child psychologists and others to get the size right.

A spread from Am I BIG Enough?

I did something I never do, I told her I’d help her put together a dummy with some sample illustrations and make an introduction to Schiffer Publishing. I said that if Schiffer liked the book I would do the illustrations. I was finishing up Do Not Open The Box! and had time to fit it in with another book I was working on.

Schiffer, unsurprisingly to me, said yes. The illustrations are very simple so it did not take long to finish. Early on I was working on a realistic hand illustration. I was not happy, it looked odd. My wife Melanie was running an art museum based pre-school at the time and I saw some colorful hand prints on a craft. I suggested we do that inside the book instead, making them in many bright colors.

Am I BIG Enough? was scheduled for release on the same date as Do Not Open The Box! It was nice to know I would have 2 new books to promote that spring.

It was also great to have a pre-school book in my catalog. Often times at a book festival a family would come up looking for books that are good for different age kids. I now had one for the very young and soon I’d have a middle-grade. That’s the next story.

The end papers I created for the book.


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