Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Q&A with Carin Berger



Carin Berger is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book In the Night Garden. Her many other books include The Little Yellow Leaf. She lives in New York City and in the Hudson Valley.


Q: What inspired you to create In the Night Garden?


A: There were many, twining, inspirations for In the Night Garden. When my daughter was little she had difficulty falling asleep and a fear of the dark. To help her overcome this anxiety we used to lie on our porch and star gaze. Celebrating the beauty of the darkness not only made this transition easier, it actually became a treasured ritual and inspiration for In the Night Garden.


Also, my love of gardening inspired the book. I am insatiable. I love noticing the changes in the garden and the magic moments that happen: each plant and flower feels like a treasured friend. I am constantly amazed by transformations that happen daily.


Finally, In the Night Garden is a celebration of Cupcake (the name our daughter gave our country house), this place that we love.


Q: How did you choose the nighttime color palette for the story?


A: The deep blue palette is intended to allow the reader to experience the sense of the wonder of being in the garden at night, and to convey the subtlety and nuance that occurs in the darkness.


We decided to print the book on uncoated paper because it has a warmer, more classical feel; however, this decision also creates some technical challenges. The deep color palette and subtle tonal shifts required a lot more care and time on correcting the color to match the artwork as closely as possible and to ensure that we didn’t lose the detail of the originals.


Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, in part, “Nighttime is the right time for young readers thanks to this perfect amalgamation of soothing text and image.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am delighted with the way In the Night Garden has been received so far. It has four starred reviews, and each has lovely quotes that make me feel as though the book is truly being seen the way that I had hoped.


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


A: Of course I hope that In the Night Garden inspires curiosity about nature and nighttime, as well as about the transformations that the natural world helps to highlight.


In addition, there is an important underlying message. I hope that the book can help initiate discussions about learning to explore the unfamiliar in a broader sense. Fearing the unknown is fairly universal, especially in childhood, and especially in these uncertain times.


It is my deep wish that In the Night Garden can serve as a tool to start conversations about openness to things we aren’t familiar with, and that it will encourage readers to learn about new things, new people, new ideas. I hope that these conversations can help institute an openness to “other,” something that I think is incredibly important, especially in these divisive times.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have a new project that I am doing together with my dear friend, Rachel Vail. It is an early reader series about friendship called Tort + Hare. Not coincidentally, Rachel has a pet tortoise and I have a pet rabbit...The project is currently in submissions.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I am excited about In the Night Garden, and eager to do school visits and events! Also, I have signed bookplates that I would be happy to send to anyone who orders a copy. To get yours, email me at


And please! Order your book from an independent bookstore! Pre-orders are soooo helpful to help the book make its way into the world. Here is a link:


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Carin Berger.

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