From Brain to Book: Camilla Kuhn
Eerdlings is introducing new guest post categories! We love hearing from our authors and illustrators — and we know you do too! — so we’re giving them more ways to share their stories, advice, and work in progress.
From Brain to Book posts invite authors and illustrators to sketch the development of an idea or illustration from their book, revealing how it went from the first inkling to the final draft.
Today Camilla Kuhn, author and illustrator of Samira and the Skeletons, shares the icky inspiration for her book.
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I wrote Samira and the Skeletons after failing to eat a sandwich with prawns.
You see, I kept pet prawns for a while in a fish tank, and then I discovered what prawns eat: fish poop. (And the occasional decomposing fish corpse.) Subsequently I came to realize that the delicious wild North Sea prawns I used to enjoy for lunch most likely preferred the same diet: poop and rotten meat.
How much better would my life have been if I was spared this knowledge! I remembered how as a child I went into a minor existential crisis when our teacher pulled us out of uneducated bliss and brutally told us that earth was floating in empty space and that we were mere freckles in the vast universe! I didn’t want to know! Not knowing is nice and comfy!
It can be rather brutal, all the information we throw at our children about how the world and everything in it works. How the body works, for instance — that we have a skeleton. If you really think of it, if you really start to visualize your skeleton there, inside your body, your skeleton fingers on the keyboard, your jelly eyeballs rolling around in those hollow sockets in your skull . . . it’s just horrible, isn’t it? And very intriguing!
And oh, that good feeling when you come to terms with it all: when knowledge isn’t scary anymore, when knowledge just makes the world a little more comprehensible to you. Oh joy!
I should write a book about this, I thought. So I did!
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Order Samira and the Skeletons today!