Have you ever wondered what the future would look like? If you have, then today’s picture book is for you.
I still think about “Back to the Future” and hover boards from time to time. That could be a throw back from my youth though when I thought skateboards were cool (thanks to the same movie franchise) and thought I could be coordinated enough to use a regular skateboard. I now know MUCH better. Skateboards, surf boards, anything that requires balance? That won’t be my thing. I’m a natural born klutz.
Or maybe the allure of hover boards back then was because of my “flying” dreams. I’m a big dreamer, but I also have a fear of heights. Apparently that combined in my subconscious into hovering dreams. I simply float from place to place about a foot off the ground, without the need for my feet to do anything. I’ve had those dreams off and on for many, many years. Whatever the case, that was the thing that captured my future fancies when I was younger. Today’s book explores just such fantastical dreaming of the future that is also wonderfully cemented in truth.
Diana Murray has visited my blog numerous times over the years. She has published many picture books now and it has been a thrill to watch her writing career blossom from her very first book to the present (and beyond!). She grew up in New York City and still lives nearby with her family. You can learn more about her at her website.
SOMEDAY, MAYBE is a picture book poem that explores every child’s fantasies about the future. Yet, while it’s fantastical (a diet of eating worms?), it’s also firmly rooted in reality. Every whimsical flight of imagination is backed up with actual STEM reference (especially in the back matter). There is even one moment in the book that is already a part of our reality now. That kind of thing, that magical happenstance, gives me goosebumps. While the writing uses a first person point of view to voice who is doing all of the the musing about the future, the illustrations show a variety of kiddos who are capable of fulfilling each wish. And really, they might be! Who knows which future scientist, engineer, or doctor will be inspired by reading this picture book? This is a story I suspect many kiddos will want to read over and over again to assist in their own daydreams.
Welcome back Diana!
Me: What gave you the idea for this story about kids dreaming of fantastical future jobs with STEM back matter?
Diana: I got the idea while playing with words. I like the phrase “someday, maybe” and the way those two words imply endless possibilities. It’s a concept I was experimenting with for a while, just for fun. It started out as a poem but I couldn’t get past the first stanza. It just wasn’t coming together, so I set it aside.
But then one day, I came back to that file, and wrote “Someday, maybe cars will fly.” That direction inspired me because I’ve always loved science fiction. Also, I was happy to have an opportunity to think about the future in a positive way. From that moment, the rest poured out and it ended up becoming a picture book text.
Me: I love that. I get a very Jetsons vibe from the beginning of your story. Was that old cartoon ever a thought while you were writing? Did any of your critique partners ever mention it?
Diana: No, that didn’t occur to me and nobody mentioned it. Although I was a fan of that show when I was a kid! I guess hover cars automatically give Jetsons vibes. But to me, hover cars are the ultimate, quintessential example of something cool and futuristic. That’s why they are the first thing mentioned in the opening line (“Someday, maybe cars will fly”).
Me: Was the inclusion of back matter your idea or your editor’s?
Diana: That was the editor’s idea. It was fun to research.
Me: I was surprised to see a “maybe” that I recognized as real. Was this story written before or after the ROVER made it to Mars to explore? Why did you decide to include one dream that wasn’t too fantastical?
Diana: The “maybe” refers to the speaker, who is wondering if they (personally) will be the one to control a rover on Mars. On the whole, the “someday, maybe” is meant to be about imagining all the amazing things that might happen in the future and playing a direct role. So for example, some people already eat earthworms. But in this book, the speaker is imagining that “someday, maybe” eating earthworms will become very popular and that he/she will be the chef who thinks up recipes. In addition, the part with the rover on Mars acts as a transition to talking about other planets further away.
Me: The illustrations by Jessica Gibson are amazing. I love how they capture the fun of imagination and yet show things that could really exist! Were there any illustration surprises for you?
Diana: Yes, I adore the illustrations! I love the diversity of the characters and the way Jessica made everything look so fun and fantastical yet also realistic. And I love how she grounded it by having the first page start out with a boy looking at futuristic crayon drawings on the wall. It’s the perfect blend of fantasy and reality. As far as surprises, every single page is a surprise for me! Seeing the illustrations is always my favorite part of the process.
Me: What is one thing that surprised you in writing this story?
Diana: It surprised me that I had trouble picturing a self-cleaning house, even though I’ve often wished I had one. Thankfully, the illustrator (Jessica Gibson) captured it perfectly.
Me: Yes she did! What is your favorite “someday, maybe” invention? Did it make it into the book? If not, what would you love to see in the world someday?
Diana: A self-cleaning house is something I probably wish for on a daily basis, so that’s up there in my personal favorites. BUT out of all the inventions and discoveries in the book, I guess I’d have to choose “a cure for the common cold” as the one I’d hope for the most. That would be incredible and would require an increased understanding of viruses in general. I think it would help the most people.
That does sound wonderful. Thank you for stopping by my blog again today Diana.
Dear readers, this book was released into the world just last week. If you haven’t had a chance yet to track it down, I highly recommend doing so. This is a book that encourages the very best kind of woolgathering for kids: daydreaming of the future and all its possibilities. I’m still waiting for a Star Trek type transporter after all! What a world it could be.