Happy Publication Day to author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow! Her latest picture book, Your Name is a Song, releases today.
This phenomenal picture book (illustrated by Luisa Uribe and published by Innovation Press) is the story of a young girl who doesn’t want to go back to school after the first day because no one is able pronounce her name…and of a mother who encourages her daughter to reframe and confront the situation in an empowering way.
I had the opportunity to read an ARC of Your Name is a Song and before I was even half-way through, I knew this was going to be one of the star releases of the year. I reached out to Jamilah to find out the story behind YNIAS.
Read the rest of Tameka Fryer Brown's interview on The Brown Bookshelf's blog.
Today we feature Tameka Fryer Brown author of Brown Baby Lullaby illustrated by AG Ford. Brown Baby Lullaby is a beautiful depiction of a day in the life of a baby with his parents.
What inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired to write Brown Baby Lullaby during a moment of nostalgia. I was remembering the relationship I had with my children when they were babies; it was such a pure and uncomplicated one, full of the sweetest memories. I wanted to capture those memories and emotions in writing and I thought the topic would certainly make for a good picture book.
How long did it take you to write Brown Baby Lullaby?
I wrote the first draft in one day. I just looked at my files to confirm and was surprised to find how similar that first draft is to the finished version.
The illustrations are really beautiful. Did you have any input in that?
I did not have input into the selection of AG Ford, but man was it inspired. I'm so thankful to Joy Peskin and Monique Sterling (my FSG editor and book designer for BBL, respectively) for having the foresight to reach out to AG for the project. And I'm even more thankful that he agreed to do it!
You are a member of KidLit in Color, a group of diverse children's books authors but you're also a member of an author collective called the Sowing Circle. Tell us about that group and what benefits these types of groups serve authors?
Our Sowing Circle serendipitously came about through a conversation I initiated with three authors about how we could promote each other's titles on our joint book birthday. Assuming you have the right mix of people in a collective, it can be a great way to leverage each other's networks, personalities, and skills to help increase visibility for each author and the work they are trying to promote. Members have to leave self-centeredness by the wayside, though, in order to make marketing cooperatives like these work. You have to put as much time into promoting other members as you are expecting them to put in for you. Also, it's important to establish or understand what the expectations of the group will be and to be honest up front if you don't think you'll be able to meet them.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read a lot. Study the craft. Learn the craft. Join SCBWI. Don't expect hook-ups. Do the work.
What are you working on next?
I have a book slated to come out in 2022 called Twelve Dinging Doorbells. It will be published by Kokila and illustrated by the supremely talented Ebony Glenn.
Besides that, there's always something in some stage of the process, isn't there?
Yes, there is!
You can follow Tameka Fryer Brown on the following social pages:
Facebook: Tameka Fryer Brown, Children's Book Author