Interview with Sarah Luann

Time for #ChatWithThePBLady 🥳🎉

Today’s chat is with the wonderful Sarah Luann.

📚 What’s your favorite family tradition?

Its hard to pick a favorite! I like most traditions surrounding food. I love making food and I love eating food with friends and family, whatever the excuse. My family has a recipe for pear pie that is particularly delicious, and I love making and eating it whatever the occasion! 

📚 Share a children’s book you recently read and enjoyed.

Lately my daughter has been choosing to read Another by Christian Robinson a lot at bedtime, and its a really fun one! Its wordless, so it makes bedtime easy for me since I can just sit back and listen. Its also fun for my daughter, who loves taking the lead in narrating the story. I love seeing which details she decides to call out each time we go through the book, because there are a lot of details to notice so it makes each time we read it unique. 

📚 Fill in the blank. Every party needs a ____.

Every party needs a reading corner! Yeah, I am absolutely that obnoxious person who will bring a book to a party in case it gets boring. And yes, I have absolutely read at parties before. Judge me if you want. 

📚 What’s your favorite vacation destination?

First parties, now vacations…. I know I’m going to sound like such a stick in the mud with my answers to these questions. I am such a homebody. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love getting out and visiting new places. I love traveling to museums or to see beautiful landscapes and architecture, or just visiting friends and family. When traveling with my kids, I love going to the beach or theme parks. And then going home after. Being able to go home and sleep in my own bed after a vacation is one of the best parts of traveling. 

📚 Let’s talk about ON A RAINY DAY. This book features a wonderful father daughter relationship. How did you use your illustrations to portray this relationship?

As an illustrator, I think my default is to use pictures to show what is going on and then just use words to tell the parts of the story that the pictures don’t tell on their own. At the time I was writing this my daughter was a toddler, so watching her with my husband was a very direct and obvious inspiration for this story. I noticed how he was more willing to play with her in certain ways than I was–particularly his willingness to jump in puddles! So it was really a matter of observing what I saw in front of me in my day-to-day life and drawing what I saw. 

📚 What else can you tell us about these beautiful linocut style illustrations?

While all of the art for this book (including sketches!) was done digitally, I was very much inspired by linocut. Linocuts are created by carving a piece of linoleum, removing the pieces of the design where ink won’t be printed while leaving the spaces where ink will be printed. This process creates a particular texture and line quality that I find really interesting and distinct. I developed this process of working digitally over time by studying linocut artists so I could get the same look and feel in my digitally-created art. However, I never actually created a linocut print myself until last year, after the art for the book was already complete! I love this subtractive approach to making images both digitally and traditionally, and I don’t plan to stop doing either any time soon.

📚 What makes this book such a great read aloud?

This book is all about the sounds we hear on a rainy day, and there is a wide variety of them! There are big sounds and small sounds, inside sounds and outside sounds, man made sounds and sounds from nature. Its fun to use your voice to imitate all these different sounds and relate them to your own experience–because who hasn’t heard the sounds of a rainy day? I also feel like the emphasis on sounds makes for a particularly immersive and magical reading experience. Thinking about different specific sounds can make you feel like you’re in the story in a way that you don’t get with books that tell a story only through pictures and narration. 

📚 Do you have any rainy day childhood memories? 

I don’t have a standout memory of a specific rainy day, but I do have general memories of playing inside with my siblings and finding ways to entertain ourselves. Blanket forts were a big favorite! We also loved puppet shows, playing make-believe, and, of course, reading.

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