Congratulations to author Liza Gardner Walsh and Hazel Mitchel on their new book DO FAIRIES BRING THE SPRING? They have agreed to participate in our book giveaways. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.
After a long winter’s rest with little to do,
are the fairies ready to start something new,
Do they use tiny brushes and oil pastels
to paint crocuses, lilacs, and daffodils?
Everyone knows fairies love spring flowers and summer sun, but is it the fairies who wake up the earth as the snow melts? Do they entice the trees to turn green and the flowers to grow? In this charming follow up to Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows, Liza Gardner Walsh, acclaimed author of the Fairy House Handbook and Fairy Garden Handbook, explores the matter in a children’s picture book of rhyming questions. Combined with delightful illustrations by Hazel Mitchell this whimsical book will help children discover the world of fairies and learn to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.
LIZA’S BOOK JOURNEY:
After Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? The big question was if we were going to do all four seasons. Our publisher gave the green light so I knew I needed to write a spring book to follow winter. The winter book had a central message about kindness and empathy so when I began thinking about spring, I immediately focused on growth and taking care of the earth through tending the plants around us. Fairies and flowers are so intertwined that it was easy to think in general about spring fairies but the trick was asking exactly how they would bring they about the flowers? By tapping their feet? By painting them? By ringing bells?
I have so much fun asking these questions. The hard part is knowing when to stop! I find that the nature of talking about fairies begs questioning. It goes with the nature of belief … could this be? Let’s imagine. What if?
I keep coming back to the idea that for me fairies represent creativity, imagination, kindness and wonder. And I think by encouraging kids to think in this way, to get outside, to take care of the world around us, we are hopefully creating caretakers of the earth and future citizens of the world.
HAZEL’S BOOK JOURNEY:
I was excited to be asked to illustrate the next book in Liza Gardner Walsh’s fairy picture book series. The winter fairy book was a lot of fun. Because the premise of the books is to ask questions and get children thinking, (they don’t have to believe in fairies at all!), it makes me ask questions too … just what are the fairies up to? What do they look like, where do they live, what do they wear and how could I bring the theme of helping each other into the book and still keep it fun for young readers (and older readers as it turned out!)? So, when the manuscript for spring landed on my desk and I realized there was going to be lots about helping plants grow, tending to and enjoying nature – I couldn’t wait to get started!
As in ‘Where Do Fairies Go When it snows?’, ‘Do Fairies Bring The Spring?’ features a main character fairy. At the end of the winter book there’s a spread with four fairies who represent each season (it happened unconsciously). They turned out to be a diverse range of characters and so I already had my ‘spring’ fairy! That she’s a fairy of color fits well into the current climate we are living in. There’s no ‘agenda’ in this – this is just a little fairy going about her spring business and she happens to be of African descent. I believe this is great for the reader – characters of any ethnicity just doing normal things! (Which in this case is helping spring along.)
I love to garden and it was easy for me to imagine a miniature world where the fairies are planning a garden – sitting around in the dark evenings of winter with seed catalogs and garden plans. Then off to the woods to rake and plant! Of course there are fantastical elements in the story, this is fairyland after all, like coloring the flowers and waking up the plants. However this is almost a representation of what nature does. The over riding theme is that we can all help things grow and look after nature and our world. (This would be a great book to help celebrate Earth Day). The fairies are lucky, because they have little creatures helping them too. I like to think that the fairies are the adults in the book and the animals are the children. Humor is important in my work and the animals add a lot of that, I think. I really would love to do a book about just the little creatures and what they get up to when the fairies are away doing their fairy things. (No hints to Liza, here!)
The end spread in both the winter and spring books shows ‘our’ world’ with the fairies looking on, in spring book there is a family of mixed ethnicity enjoying a picnic in a spring flower meadow. I deliberately chose to do this to reflect the diverse fairy world I created. All children should be able to see themselves in books they read!
Liza Gardner Walsh has written numerous books for children , including Muddy Boots, Treasure Hunter’s Handbook, Fairy Houses All Year, and Where Do Fairies Go When it Snows? illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. Liza has been a children’s librarian, high school English teacher, a Museum Educator and she holds an MFA from Vermont College. She lives with her family in Camden, Maine.
Thank you Liza and Hazel for sharing you book and your journey’s with us. Looks like another great picture book.