As part of Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week, I decided to have a chat with a couple of friends who are published authors (or aspire to be). I wanted to hear more about the process and inspiration behind their creation of stories and illustrations, and I had so much fun hearing about their process of creating!
Though these are not well-known authors (yet), I wanted to do them the favor of giving them some extra exposure, while also giving you the treat of seeing inside some of their beautiful creations. Win-win 🙂
Introducing: Alivia Puterbaugh
One of the authors I spoke with is Alivia Puterbaugh. She currently has one book published, titled He Calls Me His Dandelion, with some ideas for future books rolling around in her head and simmering in her heart.
Alivia is from the Midwestern United States but has a heart for adventure. She has spent some time overseas and has also gone through the scary process of giving up the life she knows to step into the unknown.
As a former teacher, Alivia has a passion for sharing with others the lessons she has learned in her life and relationship with God in a gentle, yet honest manner. This passion is evident in her social media posts, her voice, and in her book.
The book itself is the story of her journey with God over a few specific years in her life, but it is told through the (fictional, of course) eyes of a dandelion.
Dandelion has to grow and experience different stages of life and the accompanying difficulties and emotiones. Throughout it all, Dandelion learns to trust, to take risks, and to obey God’s direction.
Most of all, Dandelion learns that her identity, as God’s dandelion, doesn’t change, even when she experiences seasons of growth that look different on the surface.
Alivia’s hope for this book is that it will be used as a tool to teach about the wild adventure it is to follow God and the joy that comes from living in trusting obedience to God, even if (when) it feels scary.
She also wants to convey the highly important message that we are not alone and there is hope for every circumstance of our lives. Every aspect of our lives is redeemable and within God’s grasp.
Since the amount of words on the page outweighs the illustrations, this book is best for older elementary, middle school, and high school students. I’d wager a guess that it would be great for adults, too.
Alternatively, it could be used as a read aloud with younger kids, since they would have the support of an adult to think through the different weighty concepts. (See my previous post.)
I asked Alivia about her process of illustrating, writing, and publishing.
For illustrations, the medium she prefers to use are pen and colored pencils – though she admits she’s learning how to do the whole digital-artwork-on-a-tablet thing, too.
The writing process challenged her, she admitted, and she had to be willing to push through the challenging moments.
That is a common theme I’ve heard from authors: writing and publishing is difficult, but the successful ones learn how to forge ahead through the rough patches. (Good life lesson for us all, eh?)
She decided to self-publish. Self-publishing requires the author to do more of the heavy-lifting in terms of marketing and selling their own book. However, on the flip side, the author retains decision-making and veto power on the cover, word and illustration placement, etc., which doesn’t exactly happen when the author goes with a publishing company.
One of the things I love about her book is the highly intentional use of font.
The bolded word, different font sizes, and occasional all caps all play an incredibly important role in telling the story.
My teacher hearts loves having books that help kids learn about the creative ways authors use font to support their message. This is one of those books.
It opens them up to realizing how powerful words are – not just their intrinsic meaning, but the added meaning they can convey when positioned intentionally and artistically.
So what’s next for Alivia?
Primarily for now, she’ll be focusing on marketing her book more through avenues such as speaking to groups and using social media. She strongly desires to get it into the hands of teachers, parents, and kids who could benefit from the message her story tells. Which, let’s be honest, is basically all of us.
Here’s how you can buy the book and get in touch with Alivia:
You can buy He Calls Me His Dandelion through:
- Barnes and Noble
- Amazon (there is a Kindle version for those of us outside of the U.S.)
Can I just say, it tickles me to no end to see my friend’s book and her name on big ol’ websites like these? So cool!
I know this book was a labor of love and borne of her close walk with Jesus.
She does hope and plan to publish more books in the future, and, if you’re like me, you’re eager to see what spills from her heart onto paper next!
Give her some follow love on the social medias, and check out her book, too!