Q: What inspired you to create Sloth Sleeps Over?
A: As a kid, I attended so many sleepovers that I am still surprised it took me as long as it did to land on it as an idea for Sloth. I had created the design for Sloth a few years (and a few plotlines) before the final iteration.
But once the thought of Sloth attempting to stay up all night at a slumber party entered my head, I knew that was her (and Paloma’s) story. It just delighted me to no end.
Q: BCCB Reviews said of the book, “The narrative tone nicely balances compassion for poor sleepy Sloth and cheeky irreverence for the whole situation.” What do you think of that description?
A: I think BCCB wrote a really wonderful review and that description is a lovely takeaway. The world is already overflowing with judgment, so if I am able to infuse all my books with “compassion” and “cheeky irreverence” - then I will have done my job.
Q: Did you work on the text first or the illustrations first--or both simultaneously?
A: I started with a general outline of the story and then made rough storyboards. I tend to see the stories I create as movies in my head, so I like to get them out visually first. After that, I am able to add text that works with the illustrations, without a lot of overlap/redundancy.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: Sloth Sleeps Over is about a lot of things - fitting in, peer pressure, anxiety when experiencing new things, acceptance, etc. - but I honestly just hope that it brings kids a little bit of joy while reading it. I’ll take any giggle I can get.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on sketches for another Posie the Pika comic (Epic! Originals), written by Paige Braddock with colors by Whitney Cogar. I am about to start illustrating another project that hasn’t been announced yet and I’m always slowly chipping away at my own stories. Hopefully I’ll have more to share soon!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: If you’re looking for more picture book recommendations, check out the 2022 debut group I am a part of: PB CREW 22! Lots of beautiful books for all occasions and interests.
Thank you so much, Deborah!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb