Friday, July 24, 2020

Q&A with Yevgenia Nayberg

Yevgenia Nayberg is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Typewriter, which focuses on a Russian language typewriter brought to the United States. Her other books include Anya's Secret Society. She grew up in Kiev, and lives in New York City.

Q: When you were creating Typewriter, did you work on the pictures or the text first, or both simultaneously?

A: The idea for the story usually comes first, but I begin to imagine the art right after. I try to envision the whole book before I finalize the text, not just the illustrations, but also page design and the relationship between the text and the image.

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

A: Life could get tough, but it might have a happy surprise for you when you least expect it.

Q: The book's Kirkus review calls it "A gentle, unusual take on the immigration story." What do you think of that assessment?

A: The story is told from the point of view of the Russian Typewriter, which, I guess, qualifies it as unusual. 

Gentle is a very broad term, so, perhaps, this is how my love for the characters manifests itself. I emphasize with all of them, human and mechanical alike.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am illustrating a graphic novel and two picture books. I have also just completed my new picture book. It’s a humorous story about changing relationships to heritage, identity, and oneself. I hope it finds its home soon.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: My new picture book, Mona Lisa in New York, a love story between a snobbish Renaissance beauty and a New York graffiti man, is coming out in March from Prestel Jr. It is my love letter to New York City, the Renaissance, and street art.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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