I have spent a lot of time this summer sitting on my porch and visiting local book stores and public libraries to find and read wonderful books to share with my family, students and other librarians and teachers around the world.
In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do.
And, as I am sure you know, picture books are my absolute favorite too!
When this special new book came in the mail, I couldn't be more excited!
Little Sock, from Sleeping Bear Press,
is the debut picture book written by my friends, Kia Heise and Christopher D. Park.
They shared this about Little Sock,
Little Sock gets worn, Little Sock gets dirty, Little Sock gets washed. Everyday it's the same old routine, until Little Sock wanders into the back of the dryer and discovers an entire world of lost socks! What is it like in Sock City and who lives there?
Join Little Sock on an adventure into another world, the world of lost socks!
It is such a sweet story and the illustrations make Little Sock and his adventure come to life.
As I tucked Little Sock into a special bag to share with my students during the first week of school, I caught up with Chris and Kia to hear more about their book and the experience of writing and illustrating their first book.
I would love to share our conversation with all of you.
First, they shared the process of creating Little Sock. Being their first book, I found this very interesting and inspiring.
I suppose it started out as a simple silly idea. Then one day, as ridiculous as it sounds, we actually Google searched where lost socks go (there is an actual Youtube video that explains the mystery).
From there it became a little harder to build a story around the idea. I think that is why so many people have ideas for children's books. Coming up with the idea is easy, building a story and a world around that idea is more difficult, especially when you are working within the restraints of a 32 page book.
Once the story was written Chris had to envision the characters and the world of Sock City. Through the character exploration we realized to make these characters relatable they had to display real emotions. Most of them are humorous and some are more complex.
We realized that the varied emotions of each sock was a good opportunity to show children, in a subtle way, that emotional diversity was a good thing. You know, it's okay to feel mad or sad, embarrassed or proud. We didn't want to beat the reader over the head with this moral but exhibit them through the characters and to do it without dialogue.
Chris and Kia also shared the message they wanted to share in Little Sock.
We wanted Little Sock to have agency in his own decisions. In one of the first drafts, we had Little Sock accidentally getting sucked through the back dryer. It didn't feel right, and we ended up envisioning the character making a conscious decision to enter a different world. This not only helped drive our narrative forward but it told an important message to children, again not explicitly, that you can forge your own path and choose where you want to go and who you want to be. If that choice leads you to a different world, great! If it leads you back to the comforts of home, then that is where you go!
Letting children know they have agency is an important message for kids to hear.
I simply love their message behind Little Sock.
I know it will inspire students to feel brave to do things that are different. Chris and Kia have created a picture book that will not only make readers feel brave and empowered to try new things and go to new places, it will also encourage and support conversations about imagination and thinking outside of the box too.
Thank you for sharing the story behind Little Sock, friends. And thank you for creating a picture book that all readers will love and one that every library should have. Little Sock is one that will jump off of the shelves and into the hands of children everyday.
Publication date for Little Sock is on August 15, 2019. You can find out more about this book and others are Sleeping Bear Press here.