Tag Archives: illustration

Alison Goldberg’s Big Moment!

alisons-author-photoIt is my great honor to host Alison Goldberg today as she reveals the cover for her debut picture book, I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES, coming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux next December. (How will we wait??)

Alison, this is so exciting! I’ve watched this book transform from an idea to a manuscript. Now it’s almost a real book. How did you first get the idea?

Between the ages of two to four, my son was deep into trucks. My daughter loved building complicated train tracks. We lived and breathed vehicles for a few years. The bedtime game, “How much do you love me?” turned into a comparison of the size, strength, and length of all things that go. After many nights of coming up with these examples for my own children, I thought this could be a fun take on a love book.

I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES is *perfect* for children who love trucks, boats, planes, and trains! It’s sure to be a favorite of caregivers too, with enough heart to make story time a sweet, snuggly experience again and again.

With no further ado, here’s the gorgeous cover!


What did you think when you first saw the cover, Alison?

I was absolutely thrilled! There is so much movement and so much sweetness in Mike Yamada’s illustrations. The perspective of the plane flying toward the reader is incredible. And I love those bears!

Heavy-duty vehicles zoom, soar, and dig on every page. Mike Yamada’s dynamic, vibrant illustrations are packed with page-filling excitement! Here’s a bigger sneak peek:

 I especially like how I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES offers readers—both child and adult—the profound reassurance that, “Love can be stronger than the strongest excavator” and “steadier than the steadiest tugboat.” I can’t wait to preorder it and share it with the trucks-and-trains kids in my life.

So, do you have any advice for new picture book writers?

Revise, revise, revise.

 Also, finding critique partners to share the challenges and the joys of this process is so important. When you go to classes, conferences, or events, don’t be shy about approaching people.

 Hayley, we met in NYC at a SCBWI conference, even though we both live in the Boston area. I remember hearing you read a fabulous picture book manuscript at a roundtable and thinking, I need to connect with her!

I remember feeling the exact same way at the time, and now here we are! Congratulations, my friend!


More about Alison:

Alison Goldberg is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before becoming a children’s book author, Alison worked for economic justice organizations and wrote a resource guide about social change philanthropy. These days, she blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison is also a board member of the Food Research and Action Center, an organization committed to ending hunger in the United States.

Alison participates in Picture the Books, a group of picture book creators with 2017 debuts and is a member of The Writers’ Loft (thewritersloft.org) in Sherborn, MA. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Learn more about Alison and I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES at www.alisongoldberg.com or on Twitter @alisongoldberg.



Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…

I dream of illustrators. I drift in reveries of soft-focus pastels. I wonder about the mysteries of charcoal drawings in grays and blacks. I hardly dare to hope for cut paper. Will my illustrator prefer realism? Or will my illustrator be funny and cartoonish? Will they understand the real me?

When I tell people I write picture books, I get one of two questions right out of the gate. It’s either, “Are you published yet?” or “Do you illustrate your own work?” My answer, as of today, is easy. No and no. It feels a lot like when your well-intentioned grandmother asks if you are seeing anyone special. “Thanks, Gramma, but no. Not yet.” Emphasis on the yet.

When I explain how the process works, people are surprised and confused. “I’m the writer. I write the text. Other people design the book,” I say. They usually splutter a bit about creative control. What happens if the publisher chooses an illustrator I don’t like? What if I’m unhappy? Good questions.

Of course, I’ve wrestled with the same questions. Could I embrace a literary arranged marriage? Could I trust a stranger with my precious book baby? I think about the people who want to be involved in the creation of a book. Editors. Art directors. The whole book-birthing team. Mostly, I think about illustrators. Eager to usher something of themselves into the world. Waiting for their chance at happiness. Maybe even a match made in heaven. Just like me.

I find the prospect of co-creation exhilarating. The thought that my work could bring professional joy to an illustrator keeps my brain buzzing and my fingers tapping. I strive to write visually, to invite the artistic impulse. I leave room in my text for an unknown illustrator’s individuality. I’m thrilled when friends receive their first art samples. They proudly show them around like ultrasounds. “Look!” they say, “look!” Through the hard work of illustration, the dreamed-of and long-awaited book baby becomes real. It has personality. Humor. Wit. Tenderness.

As a writer, I have a clear choice. I can keep my words to myself, tucked lovingly into a folder or a drawer. Or I can take the plunge, entrust them to others, and give them the chance become something I can’t fully imagine. Something better. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…