She sent Blue Sky to my editor, and when Lucia saw this manuscript, she asked if she could call me.Of course I was very excited! I had just gotten a few rejections and I was planning on revising it. Lucia had a vision for this book right from the start. It was really her vision that brought it all together.
Of course that vision included Kadir Nelson as the illustrator. When I went to his website and looked at his artwork (this was before I knew who Lucia had in mind), it hit me that he was the perfect artist for this book, with his rich blues and deep browns. He has also done books that contained several of the subjects in my book, such as baseball and Abe Lincoln, and space.
When Lucia spoke with me on the phone, she asked me to revise. She wanted me to add more people and Americana to the text. So of course I brainstormed for months, thinking about the flag and words that describe it, that could also describe people.
When I write, I ask myself a lot of questions, so I asked myself, “Where else has the flag been?” And the answer was immediate. To the moon! And I knew I had my climax, even though this was a concept book. I had always wanted to be an astronaut so this was the perfect ending.
For me, space is always the perfect ending for my books (see my upcoming board book, LINES).
Dial did decide that they were going to be doing special 4th of July displays around the country with this book, so I got to sign 2000 copies ahead of time, putting my signature alongside Kadir’s.
The only thing was, I got the books late, so I only had 4 days to do so.
Then, later on, it ended up that the ink stuck on the previous pages, and so we had to resign 2000 copies all over again!
So that is a little about this book and how it came into this world. Thanks for sharing my special day with me!