Natalie Jubb comes out to many of my events in Toronto with her charming kids, and while I knew she was an artist (mostly lovely mosaics), I hadn't had a chance to get a good look at her work until today, when she tweeted a link to "The Story of a Piece of Paper," a board-book she wrote and drew with the help of her daughter Katya. Natalie and Katya have released their book as a CC-licensed PDF (it's a picture book, so they needed to control the layouts pretty closely). It's a fabulous read, and has my favorite kids' book origin story: the bedtime-story-become-a-book.
The Story of A Piece of Paper was commissioned by my older daughter Katya one bedtime when she was four. “Can you tell me a new story?” she said. “Make one up yourself. What about? Oh, just a piece of paper.”
So I made up this story with the girls’ help, and they were quite pleased with it. So pleased that they kept requesting that same story again and again. I personally didn’t think the story was all that great. But clearly I have a poor grasp on what literature appeals to children.
For the girls’ birthdays this year, I decided to illustrate their story and make it into a book. I thought that it would make a memorable birthday present and also that seeing characters from their imagination on a pages of a real book will encourage my kids to keep inventing stories and creating things.