Today I’m going to share a sweet board book with you that seems perfectly timed for what the littles are going through these days.
Deb Adamson is a published children’s book author with four new titles coming out in 2021 & 2022 She write picture books, board books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and she also write for adults. In addition to writing for kids, she has also taught them in “Shel Silverstein” poetry workshops. She also teaches an ongoing adult memoir and essay writing class. You can learn more about her at her website.
Her book “I Miss Your Sunny Smile” is a board book to help kids deal with grumpy days, as well as learn more about their own social emotional well being. It’s a showcases a great relationship between mother and child as the mother helps the child to go looking for their smile in a variety of ways. I suspect that this is a book that will be read and re-read many times.
Me: You have written in quite a variety of genres over the years: adult memoir, essayist and syndicated columnist, etc. What draws you to writing for children?
Deb: Because it’s FUN! Writing for children brings out the child in me. I think when I’m absorbed in writing a children’s manuscript I am drawing from the child within—things that have stayed with me and are probably relatable to most children. Stories help kids see themselves and the world through a lens that guides them towards an understanding of themselves and others. And often times, children’s books are just plain silly and entertaining!
Me: You have several books published, but this book is different in that it’s both for younger children and more lyrical. What gave you the idea for this book?
Deb: I love adult books that teach emotional intelligence and well being. I am a great collector! I Miss Your Sunny Smile is my attempt at writing such a book for the youngest audience. Toddlers need guidance through difficult new emotions and this little book provides a bit of that through redirection. I wrote it recalling my own son’s younger years and some of the really challenging days when he was frustrated and so was I!
Me: Aww! “I Miss Your Sunny Smile” has great respect for younger readers and their emotions. It doesn’t try to dismiss the sadness or grumpiness. Is this important to you? Why do you think young children need a book like this?
Deb: I’m glad you noticed that about this book! I was cognizant of that while writing—I never wanted the reader or listener to think that a child’s emotions should be discounted. Sad days are normal. We all have them and yet we should help children understand that sad days come and sad days go and that often times we can move on with a bit of help from someone we love.
Me: The illustrations by Anne Zimanski are absolutely adorable. Did you supply art notes or communicate with Anne during the process? Were there any illustration surprises for you?
Deb: I did provide Anne with some illustration notes but I was still super surprised and over-the-top thrilled with her artwork. I am not just saying this but what she created is just as I imagined each page. I consider myself so lucky to have her join me on this project. She is a great talent!
Me: What is one thing that surprised you in writing this story?
Deb: What surprised me most about this story is how many parents have already told me they can use a book like this! When I describe what it is about they usually tell me they need more tools like this for helping small children navigate difficult emotions.
Me: I love that! Any advice for new picture book writers and/or illustrators?
Deb: My advice is to keep reading the genre, keep writing, have others read and critique your work and do not query until you have edited manuscripts several times. This is a business that takes perseverance and patience.
Me: What is one thing that can make you smile, no matter what, when you’re having a bad day? Why?
Deb: The one thing that can make me smile is when I am grateful. When I step back and realize that I have been exceptionally lucky in so many ways, I smile. Of course I’ve had my really tough challenges but when I think about what is and has been good, I can usually change my perspective. And of course, my husband, son and cat, Lumpy, usually can bring on a sunny smile.
Aww! Thank you for stopping by Deb. Dear readers, if you’re looking for a book that will help encourage your sad or grumpy kiddos, this is it. It’s a charming board book that is great for dealing with those frustrating days.