How My First Picture Book was Born
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
The Story Inside the Book
A long time ago, about 17 years now, my son Max was a young child who could best be described as "slow to warm." Oh, he was filled with excitement and passion for many
things, but first he had to get good and comfortable. And so I knew that when it was time for his first school picture day, when the photographer (a stranger) walked into his school and started giving him instructions, he was more likely to burst into to tears rather than smile for the camera.
And so we prepped a lot for picture day.
The results were perfectly imperfect. There were no tears, but he was clearly not a happy camper. And I love that photo most of all, because not only does it capture his face, but it captures exactly what was happening in his heart and his head.
The Story of This Book
For years, this story sat in my head.
"This would be a great story for me to share with my students," I thought.
"I should make a mini scrapbook album/story book that I can read to my class." I said to myself, and my husband, and my co-teachers.
But still the story just sat there in my head doing whatever it is stories do when they are not being told. Festering, maybe.
And then one day, about 12 years later, I did make that mini album. And so, the story finally moved out of my head, and got its own place in the pages of a book.
I liked the book, and I read it to my class every year.
I liked it, but I did not love it. I did not love its design. I could not leave it on the classroom library shelf for my students to read on their own, because it was filled with fancy stickers
and brads and paraphernalia.
"I really should make a digital mini scrapbook album that I can have printed as a photo book." I thought.
"This is a really good story, I think I should try to publish it," I told myself and my husband.
And then one day, about five years later, I did make that digital album. And I love it. It's a scrapbook with photos of Max spanning the years. And, It is a story for children. It is a helpful tool so they know what to expect on picture day. Whether they are children who are quick to adapt or slow to warm or anywhere in between, it is always helpful for young children to know what to expect in a new situation. They haven't been on the planet that long, and grown ups throw words around all the time, and we forget that their context
for those words are pretty small.
Furthermore, at the beginning of Picture Day, we meet Max as he is on the cusp of adulthood. He is big and tall, Even taller than his mommy.
But when he was small a lot of things made him feel scared and shy.
It's a subtle message, but I like kids to know that the world might seem big and overwhelming now, but they will not feel that way forever.
Once I created one story book, I wanted to make more. Sure I love writing them about my own children, but every day, children everywhere learn new skills, battle their fears, love others, and are loved by others. I want children everywhere to read their own stories and to know how much they have already accomplished in their little lives.
And so, from Picture Day, Tiny Pumpkin Press was born.
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