Award-winning children’s book author Chris Stead reveals the first image from his upcoming release, Where Do I Come From?
For quite a while, I have wanted to make a book that was set within Australia’s aboriginal culture. In particular, I find the Dreamtime, or The Dreaming, as a setting fascinating . This “time out of time” is where the traditional peoples of Australia defined their world view. It’s where the knowledge and the laws of existence that form the foundations of Aboriginal culture can be found. Since I was very young, there’s been something about the Dreamtime that feels so Australian. Even if it’s something I’ve only been able to look upon from the outside.
In thinking about bringing the Dreamtime to a children’s book story, I needed to make sure it was relevant to all readers. Eventually a question came to mind. How did a young Aboriginal child in the distant past come to understand and question the Dreamtime?
Developing the Story
I wrote the story for Where Do I Come From quite quickly. A young aboriginal girl listens to an elder speak as she falls asleep in the cave. In her dream state, the girl goes to all corners of Australia to ask the animals where they come from. In doing so, she seeks an answer to the question of her own origins. And hopefully she invites readers to ask that question for themselves.
This was at least 18 months ago. At the time the idea came to me, I was already working on the art for ten other books. As a result, I decided not to add another parallel production to the mix. I’m currently in another cycle of production, with five books being illustrated as you read this. That includes Where Do I Come From. And today, I am happy to share two of the images. You can see one below and the other was at the top of the page; perhaps you could tell me what you think in the comments?
When will Where Do I Come From be out?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a date to share with you at this stage. I’m currently finalising the last half of the book’s images and the cover with artist Ijulekeh. (This is our second book together after the as yet unreleased The Rainbow Race.) Then I will need to design the book for print and digital release. It’s definitely a 2018 project. But in the interim, please check out one of my already released books. Please also sign-up to our newsletter, so I can keep you posted about a release date. And if you’re thinking about making your own children’s book, you should read our getting started guide.