Book cover: Robin Preiss Glasser
Author photo: Sam Diephuis
You Made Me a Mother (HarperCollins) is a sweet picture book debut for author Laurenne Sala, with captivating images by veteran illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser. In this evocative journey from pregnancy to mommyhood, Sala brings to light the full spectrum of emotions that accompany a major life transition: ushering a new soul into the world, and experiencing together the delights, fears, and laugh-out-loud surprises of early childhood.
While the whole story is heartrending, it’s the last line that’s going to turn you into a puddle (fair warning!). I’m so excited that Laurenne Sala is my Short & Snappy interviewee this week!
CSM: THIS BOOK IS CLEARLY A WONDERFUL MOTHER’S DAY PRESENT! WHAT MAKES IT A GREAT GIFT FOR YOUNG READERS AS WELL?
LS: This book helps kids feel loved. It’s a letter from a mom to her child, so it will always be a reminder of a mother’s love and the importance of a kid in a mom’s life. Any child who hears it read gets snuggles and kisses and a big full heart.
CSM: HOW DID YOU ACCESS THE EMOTIONS YOU NEEDED TO MAKE THIS STORY RING TRUE?
LS: I like to become other people when I write. First, I research. Then, I let someone else come out through my fingers. It's easy to imagine others' emotions because I have experienced a wide range — from extreme despair to glowing pride to giddy happiness. I get to pick from all of those when the time is right.
CSM: WHAT’S THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE GOTTEN FROM A NEW MOM SO FAR?
LS: One mom said she decided to have another baby after reading it! WHAAAAT!? But any picture I get that shows a mom reading it to her kid makes me SO HAPPY! That means something I wrote inspired a snuggle or a hug. I’ll take that compliment any day.
CSM: TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. WHAT GETS YOU INSPIRED?
LS: Observing. Writing down everything in a journal. Getting out and not thinking for a while. Spending hours in the library or a bookstore. Getting jealous of other books and wanting mine to be better. Listening wherever I can.
CSM: WHAT NEW CHILDREN’S BOOKS DO YOU HAVE IN THE PIPELINE?
LS: You Made Me a Father is coming next! I would be so happy to continue the series with grandma, aunt, sister, brother, adoptive families, gay families, etc.
I also have just written a manuscript about a lemming who decides he no longer wants to follow. Going to try animals for a while. They're cute and androgynous.
Laurenne Sala lives in Los Angeles, where she likes to look at the ocean and wonder what is on the other side. She thinks that riding a bicycle down a hill is the best feeling in the world. And that eating a big bunch of blueberries is right up there too. She has written all sorts of things (commercials with and without talking animals, a depressing memoir, lots of articles, plenty of copy you skipped over, several ignored tweets, names of new products and beverages, and hundreds of flyers for her mom's senior center), but none as fun as You Made Me a Mother, her first picture book.