Yes, I wrote a picture book. And as of this spring it’s out.
There’s been a growing need for books about peanut allergy, and the folks at Albert Whitman were looking for something new. We’d published The Peanut-Free Cafe in 2006 and we wanted to be able to offer something else. And one day, during an editorial meeting, we were talking about how we wished we had another peanut allergy book. We were also talking about how we could wished we had some kind of princess picture book. (Memo from children’s book land: princesses are HUGE.)
“We need a book called ‘The Princess and the Peanut,'” I said, not too seriously.
“You need to write a book called ‘The Princess and the Peanut,'” my boss said. “Seriously.”
Okay, then! I promised I would try.
I had another reason for writing a book like this. Chris has several food allergies, including one to tree nuts: almonds, pecans, cashewsâ€”pretty much any nut that isn’t a peanut. So I know about having to to be flexible, checking food labels and asking questions; about having to speak up in inconvenient situations. I started thinking about how all this might affect someone’s very princessy birthday party, and that’s when Paula and Regina started to come to life.
And then I had to rewrite it a ton of times, and then wait around anxiously while everyone else at Whitman was off in another room discussing whether or not the story was as good as something that would have come from a writer outside the company, and also, I’m sure, discussing how badly I dress and how I never dust those action figures that I have in my office. (That’s definitely the downside of getting your book published by the same company you work for.)
The upside, of course is that I got to see my book get made, and watch slowly as Paula and Regina really came to life, thanks toÂ Tammie Lyon and her completely perfect illustrations. I especially love Regina’s big round owl glasses. THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH CUTE GLASSES GIRLS IN CHILDREN’S BOOK LAND.Â Oh, and you can see another illustration from the book in Tammie’s online portfolio.
Anyway, now the book is doneâ€”along with the other Spring titles that we worked on last year. Of course, now we’re already well into working on production for the next spring’s book, and you barely notice when a current title hits the shelf.Â Except when you’re the one who wrote it, that is.