Here it is - the beautiful front cover of my new picture book, illustrated by the incredibly talented Heidi Cooper Smith!
What I love about Heidi's work on this book is the way she's captured the emotional heart of the story.
Basically this book is a story about a little boy who thinks his family of five is perfect (that's Jayden James in the red). He loves the routines and the sense of belonging he's familiar with. He's happy and settled and at home. But that's all changed by the arrival of a new brother (Mitchell David in the white shirt). Jayden has to adjust, even when he doesn't want to. And in the end it's Jayden that holds the key to bringing his beloved sense of family back.
Stories like this can carry layers of meaning, which is why the picture book medium is perfect for them. One of the things I really wanted to communicate in Jayden's story is that sometimes change, even the most well intentioned change, can bring with it a sense of grief for those involved. And that grief is valid and worth recognising. But even when things don't turn out as we expect, or don't initially feel hopeful, there can be potential for growth. For us to learn about ourselves and other people and to be empowered to open our hearts (and families) to those who might need it.
That's a lot of meaning to fit in under 500 words of text! But Heidi's artwork gently takes these themes and weaves them in with compassionate authority. It's beautifully illustrated and the final illustration gets me every time.
Can't wait to share the book with you! Release date is 28th February. If you know of a school, preschool or playgroup that would like to be included in my Book Launch Tour - where I take the book out for a series of special author visits - please get in touch. Bookings are NOW OPEN, but places are limited.