Nosotros Means Us: A Bilingual Story
by Paloma Valdivia
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Releasing on May 11, 2021
CHILDREN’S FICTION–Picture Book
A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be .
If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.
Si yo fuera una oveja, tú serías un cordero.
Si yo fuera una osa, tú serías un osenzo.
Con su niño en brazos, una madre contempla cómo sería elamorentre ellos si fueran diferentes animales. Pero por mucho que cambien,no importa. Siempre serán“nosotros”. Este cuento bilingüe es una oda eterna al lazo irrompibleentre madre e hijo.
Paloma Valdivia is a Chilean author/illustrator who studied design at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Chile and has a master’s in Creative Illustration from the Eina School of Art and Design in Barcelona. Her work as an author has been translated into 12 languages. See more of her work at http://palomavaldivia.cl/ or on Instagram and Twitter at @palomavaldivia.
Congratulations on your Children’s picture book! What was your inspiration for Nosotros Means Us?
The idea arises from the number of years I spent making my son sleep. I read him many books, I told him a thousand stories, I sang him all the songs I knew, but what worked best for me to relax him was this game of playing to be others. I used to tell him, “if I were a bear…” and he would complete by saying “I would be a little bear”. The game used to last a long time until he began to fall asleep hugging me. Then I had to make time, because if I moved very abruptly or stopped quickly to leave, it meant waking him up and all over again. So I would stay there for a while and think about how one day he would grow up and leave the house—and then I would start my own game where I thought that one day we would be different. He would grow up; he would become whatever he wanted to be. And for my part I would begin to grow old. There is pain at the departure, but then there is understanding; because the puppy has found its way. It is the cycle of life, of nature. And when they meet again when the puppy returns home– although they are no longer the same physically—the affection and that forged bond is intact. I think that in some ways I always answer something that I do not know with my books, but that I intuit, I give myself a loving explanation to an inexorable fact.
It is a story created just before sleeping, there is lucid thinking and something of dreams.
What are you hoping readers take away from your story?
Something very magical and unforgettable happens when an adult reads to a child. Love for reading begins in the cradle as an indestructible bond forms between that child and the person who reads to him. I am also looking for moments of calm and contemplation; I like quiet readings that generate an inner world. We are in a world that goes very fast, filled with images and a lot of noise. The calm that reading gives to us it´s a necessary gift to children.
What was your favorite part of writing/illustrating Nosotros Means Us?
I really like the timing of the idea. The light, the bulb that lights up. That little thread that comes out of a hole and you can start pulling to see what’s behind it, the whole story. I like to immerse myself in this quest to understand and put together the complete idea, which sometimes takes years. When I have it ready, I can write and illustrate it with almost no sketches. I have a very good memory, and in my mind I am writing and drawing as if it were a notebook. I spent so many hours making my first son fall asleep that I had a lot of time to think about this book. I really liked those moments, I treasure them.
What is something your publishing journey has taught you?
I started very early in this job. I didn’t know anything. I only liked to draw ever since I was a child. I have learned that being able to work on your passion is a gift. The world is so huge and immeasurable; a passion shows you a path, what to study, where to work, what places to visit, with whom to meet. A passion makes the world more manageable. My universe revolves around books and the creation of them. I have learned how important reading is in early childhood and how it makes children’s brains grow and expand. I have learned to be neat and responsible and not to illustrate everything people ask of me. Today I have my own publishing house (Ediciones Liebre); through it we experience formats and themes. The children’s book can be more than that, a toy, a museum, a friend.
I have learned that I could not have chosen a more beautiful job and I work every day to be better.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors/illustrators?
This is a very good question. I would tell them not to wait for something big to happen to start working on what they like. Each drawing, each written text is an advance. Create illustrations and self-manage them, show your work through your networks. Read a lot so that you’ll have interesting stories to tell. Look more inward than outward. The new, the personal is in what we have lived. Work hard for what you want—there are people who are born with innate talent, but most of us have to sit down to work every day to achieve something good. Life passes quickly, so distribute your time well and know how to deal with frustration to move on quickly. Life is about having fun on your chosen way.
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Enter to win one (1) finished copy of Nosotros Means Us by Paloma Valdivia! USA only. There will be 1 winner.
Giveaway starts: Monday, May 10
Giveaway ends: Monday, May 17 at 12:00 a.m. CST