Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Q&A with Moira Butterfield

Moira Butterfield is the author of the children's picture book Home, Sweet Home. Her many other books include Welcome to Our World. She is based in the UK.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Home, Sweet Home?

A: I want children to be introduced to the diversity of the world in a positive and natural way. The best way to do that, it seems to me, is to relate material to their own lives - and the home is a perfect starting point.

I really want children to know that other children and families, though perhaps far away and living in different ways, are like them in many ways. My goal overall is to get children to notice what’s around them and be inspired by it to be curious. Actually kids are so naturally curious, aren’t they? I’m encouraging it!

I’m also very keen on the idea of children and adults sharing books together, and I thought the home would be an idea that all the generations could relate to.

Q: You include a wide variety of homes in the book--how did you choose the ones to focus on? 

A: I broke the information down into different areas of a home, then I chose examples that I found interesting and that I thought would make readers go “wow!”. I wanted the choices to be ones that stick in the mind.

Q: What do you think Clair Rossiter's illustrations add to the book? 

A: Clair’s work is perfect for this book. It’s full of tiny details to spot, and - really importantly - there are lots of diverse people living naturally, going about their day. I really wanted that. They’re not seen as “weird” or “funny.” They’re seen as both interesting and also similar to the reader.  

Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book? 

A: I hope that kids will become a) more aware of their own surroundings and b) more curious about the world.

I’m also thinking about the adults who might share this book with their children, too, and I hope they find it a good experience - sharing a reaction to the facts and pictures and perhaps chatting together and having their own questions to explore. I want everyone in the home to enjoy this book together!

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: I have a couple of books on nature coming out next year (not sure when yet!). They’re about getting as much as possible from being outside. I hope they will inspire some good family walks!

I’m also really interested in inspiring children to get into science, so I’ve written a book about what the future might be like, using some of the amazing inventions happening today.

I’m about to start writing another book that I hope will inspire children to get interested in inventing for the good of the planet. I worry that children are getting a lot of negative messages and I want to try to give them hopeful thoughts for their own future and the future of the world. Big goals, huh? Well, I’ll do my best!

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I am so delighted that children’s non-fiction is getting the attention and the illustrators it deserves. There are some gorgeous books out there that I’m sure will become family treasures. That’s fantastic, isn’t it! 

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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