Today we’re celebrating Couples Day by talking to author/illustrator duo Adam and Jennifer Young. Adam's absolutely gorgeous art brings to life a story of diversity and acceptance of differences through an unusual main character. Learn more in our interview.
Tell us about your book?
Our book is about a little Red Shed that wakes one day to find that she has changed. When she realizes no one close to her accepts her change, she embarks on a adventure where she discovers that the way she is, is exactly the way she should be.
Why did you want to write this story?
We wanted to write this story because as teachers and parents, we have seen kids struggle with their identity and confidence. And you just want to hug them and tell them that they are perfect just the way they are. We wanted a big message in a simple book, that was the ultimate goal.
What's been the best reaction from a reader so far?
The best reaction so far has to be from a mom who wrote and told us her 15 year old filled up with tears when they finished the book. We had wanted young people to connect to the book and it’s just an amazing feeling to think at least 1 person has.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our inspiration came from a few different places. It came from our own girls and the kids we taught. It came from our beautiful community and province. It came from wanting to make a connection with people. And of course, Adam's artwork was a natural fit.
What's the most fun part of being an author?
The best part of being an author (so far!) has been the reaction from our girls and from people who have read the book. The response has been overwhelming and we just feel so lucky to have had the opportunity.
What's your tip for parents to encourage reading?
Encouraging kids to read is a struggle. For our girls, we use a timer for everything. If they read for X amount of time then they get to do Y. We use a timer to motivate them for a lot of activities they resist (tidying up, homework, bedtime, etc) and we find it makes it less stressful and they transition between activities better when they have a set time.
How was it to work together to create the book?
We have been working together for several years now with Young Studios so we are pretty good at separating business and family. We are similar in a lot of ways so we didn't have many creative differences.
Did you have a unified vision or were their challenges?
We did have a unified vision. We had been thinking about this story for a long time before sitting down and drawing it up. As educators we wanted the story to flow easily for early readers but also contain a deeper message to connect with kids and adults alike. This was the difficult part.
What's your favorite book of all time?
Our favourite children’s book is “a The Giving Tree” we bought it for our oldest daughter girl before she was born. Like Shel Silverstein, we wanted to write a simplistically worded book with a strong message. Ours isn’t even close to his but it was definitely an inspiration for us.
Adam and Jennifer Young live on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, with their two daughters and their dog, Johnny Cash. An accomplished visual artist, Adam is best known for his original, whimsical, and vividly colourful depictions of Eastern Canada. His stunning artworks will inspire you and you can find them on their website. The Little Red Shed is the first of hopefully many collaborations together.
Where to Next?
We hope you enjoyed this insight into Adam & Jennifer's lovely book. This is just one of our many author interviews and book reviews. We love to give you a behind the scenes look at some amazing children’s authors. The best way to keep in touch with these is through signing up to our newsletter. You can also see our range of children’s books in our shop. Plus of course, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.