Over the years, I have gotten better at patiently accepting the long production process that is a picture book’s journey from acquisition to publication. One way I do this is to enjoy each little milestone before a book is released, and one of the very best is seeing the final cover for a book.
Today I am excited to share the cover of OCEANS OF LOVE (Viking, 2022)! Stunning watercolor illustrations by Holly-Clifton Brown on the cover and throughout complement my humorous poem that imagines ocean mamas showing love to their little ones. For example, Barnacle assures her young it’s quite all right to cling—
I’m also excited to soon have the perfect pairing of books to demonstrate the difference between fiction and nonfiction when I do K-2 school visits. I’ll be able to compare OCEANS OF LOVE with my National Geographic book OCEAN COUNTING that is filled with numbers, facts, and photos of ocean animals.
I always include the fiction/nonfiction distinction in my school presentations, not only because I write both types of books, but because I had difficulty grasping the difference between the words “fiction” and “nonfiction” throughout much of my grammar school years. Maybe I was confused because nonfiction wasn’t a curriculum focus back then like it is today. Or perhaps I struggled with understanding nonfiction because the word starts with the negative “non.” One has to process what fiction is before one understands what it is not. Possibly, I was absent on the day it all got explained?!
I am amazed when I do school visits that many students in the youngest grades have a far better understanding the difference between the terms fiction and nonfiction than I did at their age. Some of them eagerly wave hands and tell me that fiction is “make-believe,” “not true,” “a made-up story.” Others capably explain nonfiction as a book or text that is about “information” or “facts.”
But I suspect that in those school visit audiences there are a few kids like me, who don’t quite get it yet. Hopefully, my book pairing lesson will be their “light bulb” moment of understanding.
And this is a fact—adults and kids will have oceans of fun reading OCEAN COUNTING and OCEANS OF LOVE!