Monday, July 13, 2020

Q&A with Sarah Dillard

Sarah Dillard is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book I Don't Like Rain!. Her other books include I Wish It Would Snow! and Extraordinary Warren. She lives in Vermont.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for I Don't Like Rain?

A: I Don’t Like Rain is a companion to my picture book I Wish It Would Snow, which came out in 2018. In I Wish It Would Snow, a bunny longs for snow, but when it finally comes, he finds the snow overwhelming. I Don’t Like Rain features the same bunny in sort of a reverse situation. In both books, there is an emphasis on the joy of playing outside with friends. 

Q: Did you work on the illustrations first or the text, or both simultaneously?

A: Every book that I work on is different. Sometimes the text comes first, which was the case with I Wish It Would Snow. With I Don’t Like Rain the picture came first. I was already familiar with the bunny and his world from the first book. The story unfolded visually, and the text became an integral part of the illustrations.

Q: What first got you interested in creating children's picture books?

A: I have loved children’s books from the very start. As the youngest in a family of four children, there was always someone to read to me. Books created worlds to explore, and the characters in books were like friends. Reading fostered my imagination and before long I wanted to create my own worlds and characters.

Q: What do you hope kids take away from I Don't Like Rain

A: I think the main message in I Don’t Like Rain is to make the most of what you’ve got. That can mean playing outside even if the weather isn’t perfect, but I would like to think that the message might resonate on a deeper level. I hope that children will think of this little bunny and see that even in less than ideal situations there is joy to be found if you look for it.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Right now I am finishing the illustrations for a picture book called Blueberry Cake. It will be published in the summer of 2021. And I am looking forward to the publication later this month of Extraordinary Warren’s World (a compilation of my two Extraordinary Warren books).

Q: Anything else we should know? 

A: In both I Wish It Would Snow and I Don’t Like Rain I see the setting as being as much a character as the bunny. I live in Vermont and the land and the seasons are both beautiful and challenging. These books are in part my attempt to embrace and commemorate that aspect of where I live.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my work with you!

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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