Sherryl Clark is the versatile author of over 40 books across a range of age groups and genres. She’s had three new releases this year and today we talk to her about her new picture book, Now I Am Bigger.
Sherryl’s inspiration for Now I Am Bigger started with one poem about birth, inspired by a photo of a baby’s eyes, which then became more poems about being a baby (but with a totally different voice) and then she started to think about where she could go with a series of poems.
Now I Am Bigger is a book for aged three to seven. It’s about a small child’s life, from birth to about age three. The last poem is about moving from his cot into his first big bed. The other poems are about learning to walk, talk, eat by himself, the dog, dressing himself, etc. All those little stepping stones that are really huge in a child’s early life.
It may also strike a chord with older children who love to remember what it was like to be little, and those with younger siblings.
About the main character
Initially, Sherryl says she thought the child could be a boy or a girl
I had no gender in mind) but it’s ended up that Nina has illustrated this with a boy – although for probably 2/3 of the book, it could be either still! I love how she has showed him in all the various growing stages, and some favourites are the ones with the teddy bear, and where he tries to dress himself.
Now I Am Bigger breaks new ground in that it is a verse novel in a picture book! Sherryl hopes that parents will enjoy reading the poems aloud because they work so much on imagery and repetition. She intends to put some poems on her poetry website http://www.poetry4kids.net and some writing prompts to help parents and educators soon.
The writing process
According to Sherryl, seeing the poems gradually come together into a story has been one of the best parts of writing this book.
And feeling like, despite never having attempted this before, I had found a small child’s perspective in there – not so much a voice as a view of the world. I often tell my picture book students to get down to floor level and see the world from a child’s view, and I felt that’s what I did here.
The hardest thing about writing this book was deciding what the ending would be. I could have gone on writing poems for ever! But I knew there had to be a point where things came to an end, and moving into the big bed turned out to be the perfect finishing point. Maybe there’ll be another book, but I doubt it because I feel as though I covered some pretty big moments!
Or you can check out her new site at http://www.poetry4kids.net – it’s all about poetry for kids!