Mr. Not Me Part One
You might remember when I revealed the cover and blurb for my very first picture book, Mr. Not Me, last week. In that post, I mentioned I'd return with more to the story. Well, that day is today! But it's quite the story, so I'm only sharing part of it with you today.Before I do, though, I wanted to share this really great list of books for tweens. I know how hard it is to find clean books with appropriate content for kids. My own children had particular reading needs and I know that's true for most families. Some children like to read up, maybe because they have a higher reading level. The problem is that the content is often too mature. I think you'll find some great titles on this list (Cinderskella is included!) that are appropriate for the young reader in your life. Let me know if you find something here that you love!
So back to the story behind Mr. Not Me...
When I was a little girl, if a mess was made or someone ate the last treat, my mom would ask us who did it. She was often met with a resounding chorus of “not me!” from each of the children. Of course, all of us couldn’t be innocent but my mom would play along. She’d say, “It must have been Mr. Not Me.” And so, Mr. Not Me became a frequent guest in my childhood home. Years later, when I had children of my own, Mr. Not Me became an honorary family member.
I’ve written many stories over the years. Everything from young adult paranormal to chapter books for young readers but I had never tackled a picture book until a friend encouraged me to participate in a picture book challenge. That challenge was to write a picture book each day for an entire week. Reluctantly, I agreed. While I fulfilled the requirements, nothing I wrote was of merit. Picture books, I found, were a gentle balance of text and illustrations. A skill I did not yet possess.
While I continued to write picture books over the years, none of them ever really resonated. At least not until a few years ago when, while joking with my family about the Mr. Not Me in our house, I thought, “why not?” I quickly jotted down all of the various scenarios which had played out in our home over the years and a few days later Mr. Not Me was born. Technically, he’d always existed, just not on the page.
But my story was nothing more than one hundred words of dialog. That’s it. As far as I could tell, that didn’t really make a story.
As I thought about this book and the special meaning it held for our family, I realized the story could be best conveyed in the illustrations. This was that balance I always knew picture books needed but, at the time, didn’t quite understand how to convey it, let alone know how to trust an illustrator enough to bring that story to life.
Then I met Meghan Higgins.
To be continued!