Details & Summary:
**Thank you to Wunderkind PR for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
Those of you who’ve been following me for a while or the ones who take a quick look at my reviews know that I haven’t reviewed anything else but contemporary YA books on my blog. Contemporary YA are the books that I love and will prefer over any other demographic and genre. But when the lovely people of Wunderkind PR contacted me about reviewing a nonfiction book about authors and illustrators sharing their ‘origin story’ if you will, I had to take the opportunity.
Our Story Begins is a collection of stories from well-known authors and illustrators of children’s fiction. They include Kwame Alexander, R.J. Palacio, Candace Fleming, Gail Carson Levins, Grace Lin, Brian Selznick, and many more.
The sections for each of the 26 authors / illustrators follow the same format. They give you insight into how, when or why they started writing or drawing, followed up by an example of their early work. The examples range from poems to short stories and drawings.
As an aspiring author, I found this book very interesting and inspiring. It also gave me hope because the journey of many of these authors and illustrators has been long and difficult, but they’ve succeeded nonetheless. If anything, I’ve learnt to work hard(er) and to never give up.
My favourite story is that of Dan Santat, who was inspired to draw after seeing Norman Rockwell’s work.
Norman Rockwell was old. My five-year-old judgment of age concluded that he was probably a thousand years old. I remembered how, earlier that evening, my dad had mentioned that Norman Rockwell had painted for years to become that good.
NORMAN ROCKWELL HAD A THOUSAND YEARS OF PRACTICE ON ME.
And I was only five.
So I began to draw.
The only slight problem I have with “Our Story Begins” is that some of the stories are rather short. For some, I would’ve liked to read more about their lives and their reflections on their childhood and seen less material.
Having said that, this is a great read for anyone in the creative business. And even if you aren’t, I would still recommend giving it a read. After all, who doesn’t love a few good success and childhood stories?