As a storyteller, my stories have to have purpose, spirit, and soul. I have never been the sort of author or illustrator who could take on a project simply with the idea that it might sell. While I am not opposed to making money, my purpose has always resided more in the telling than the selling.
I have attempted to blend the form and style of my stories with the era in which they were set. Just as a movie director selects camera angles, point of view, color or black and white cinema to visually enhance the story being told, illustrators of children’s book, also utilize design decisions to enhance their stories.
I’ve tried to use my words and images to give children room to explore.
It was no accident that I closed the century riding an elephant and rafting a river. I wanted a non-technological closure. It was not fear of a Y2K catastrophe; rather, it was an affirmation of where I had been and where I am going. For all the possibilities and promise of computers as story tellers, they are a poor substitute for a parent, a grandparent or a teacher; what they most lack is a human lap and all the warmth and sharing that entails.
My primary role in life may be that of a storyteller, yet I had created more than 30 books before I began telling stories to an audience.
There is so much that is magical about stories and books. I have found that children pick up the resonance of things that I know when I write and illustrate my books. They see between the words and the pictures and pick up on things which are invisible to the eye and inaudible to the ear. That gift is lost to most adults who have been taught to live in a world in which part of their own potential has been systematically closed off to them by conditioning.
Children who are not spoken to by… responsive adults will not learn to speak properly. Children who are not answered will stop asking questions. They will become incurious. And children who are not told stories and who are not read to will have few reasons for wanting to learn to read.