This new year is bringing you a new book from me all about newness. It’s called Little One, We Knew You’d Come. And it’s a celebration of the joy and wonder when a new baby comes into the world.
Whether you’re welcoming a child or grandchild, a niece or a nephew, a friend or a neighbor — by birth or adoption or fostering or friendship – I hope this book helps you celebrate and welcome the new miracles in your life.
And most of all my hope for this book is that it reminds the children reading it that they are a miracle. And a gift. That they are here for a purpose. And that they belong. And they bring something to the world no one else can. And that they are indeed miraculously, and wonderfully made.
The story behind the story:
- I wrote the poem in 2000 inspired by the birth of my nephews and nieces. What longing we felt for them to come. What laughter and joy we felt at their arrival. (I dedicated the book to them.)
- The poem was published by Little Brown in 2006, illustrated by Jackie Morris (award-winning illustrator of the bestselling The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, which recaptures the words dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary—words like ‘willow,’ ‘acorn’. Which were, wait for it, replaced by words like, ‘bullet-point’ and ‘broadband’).
- Jackie Morris set the poem in Bethlehem with the birth of Jesus. Her illustrations were filled with rich symbolism often used in Medieval art.
- The book (as books do) went out of print.
- About 10 years later, an editor read the poem and said they loved it and would like to republish it with new illustrations—setting it in the contemporary world of new parents longing and waiting for their baby to come. The poem had suddenly come full circle back to the initial inspiration for the poem.
- Eve Tharlet said she’d love to illustrate the text. But why? She is sent so many manuscripts to consider—and she’s in very great demand. Because she loved and responded to the poem. And also because, when the manuscript arrived, she herself was preparing for the arrival of a new baby—a new grandchild.
- As Eve began to illustrate the poem, her grandchild arrived, so the book became especially personal to her.
With Eve’s illustrations, she gave the book a whole new life without my changing a word. Amazing. It once again demonstrates the truth I bang on about—that a picture book is a story told in two languages: word and image. Turns out if you change just the images you can change the whole story.
Eve and I can’t wait for you to see our new book. Thank you for reading. Thank you for all the book love you’ve given me. I am so grateful.
(ALSO PS: Aren’t the Quokkas adorable? More about that to come.)