This week Amazon unexpectedly started shipping pre-orders of Iver & Ellsworth, six weeks before its official "book birthday." Yesterday produced a flood of text messages and social media posts showing kids reading my book. Kids in jammies, snuggled up with siblings or lovies, looks of concentration on their sweet faces. I fell asleep last night with these images on a carousel in my mind. I fell asleep smiling.
Reading space is sacred space. Reading books with children creates a place where they are safe to explore and tumble around in their minds all kinds of truths about the world. Kate DiCamillo says our job as book creators is to "tell the truth and make it bearable." Iver & Ellsworth may be a story about a man who is friends with a giant inflatable bear. But it is also a story about the comfort of companionship, the pangs of change and loneliness, and the unexpected thrill of new beginnings. My favorite picture books, the ones I read and re-read, always end up being the ones with emotional depth. I hope Iver ends up in your read and re-read pile.