Saturday, December 03, 2011


Where You Came From is in some very nice company on a Favourite Books of 2011 list over at Say Yes to Hoboken.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Little Literati

I did a little Q & A over at Heather Bergman's Little Literati blog the other day.

Among other things, I talked about one of my favourite books from when I was small:  Look Out the Window by Joan Walsh Anglund.

You can see it here and if you read on it is followed by one with the wonderful Shaun Tan.  He quite eloquently answers a question I tried to address with a class a few weeks ago:

WHERE do you think technology is taking the picture book?

I'm not sure. I think the traditional picture book will remain relatively unchanged, but you'll have new narrative forms growing up around it, not unlike the relationship between theatre and film, radio and TV, painting and photography. While I could see e-books potentially eclipsing paper-back novels, the same is not true for picture books, because they are already carefully made objects, where format, printing, physical design and texture are inherently critical elements, and not easily substituted. What you'll find is that those stories and concepts better suited to a digital medium will move across. It may even mean more attention to the production quality of paper books, given they have to 'justify' their non-digital form.
Yeah!  What he said.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


There's an interview with Julie Morstad up at VM where she talks about her work, her work-life balance and her influences:
I have always been inspired by the illustrations in children’s books. Some of my favorites are Mary Blair, Gyo Fujikawa, Alice and Martin Provensen, Barbara Cooney, Tove Jannson, Bruno Munari, and of course, Maurice Sendak. My daughter is named after his character, Ida, in Outside Over There.

That's where the darling Ida got her name!  Of course!

I'd love to hear about other babies named for picture book characters.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vancouver Launch

We had an early celebration for the new book in Vancouver this month and those who came out were able to score advance copies of the book (expected to hit stores soon).  It was a fabulous time and I want to say thanks to all who came out and especially to all those who made it possible.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quill & Quire

Review for the new book, When I Was Small up at Quill & Quire.

The dreamy quality of both text and image gives the book a slightly low-energy feel, but it may be the perfect thing for a kid who is just a little quiet, a little shy, but still inquisitive – a child not unlike Henry. The result is a perfect antidote for parents whose retinas have been scorched by too much Dora the Explorer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birds, Bees, Bloggers

Rounding up some of the blog reviews for Where You Came From.

Isn't Say Yes to Hoboken a great name for a blog?

And here's what blog creator, Liz Stanley has to say about Where You Came From:
I'd highly recommend it for a young child or toddler whose too young for the real birds and bees talk. A friend recommended it to us a year ago and I still can't get through it without tearing up a little bit. It's so sweet. 

Chapter Forty out of South Australia has this to say:

We are really loving the book 'Where you came from' by Sara O'Leary. It deals with that dreaded childhood question "Where did I come from?' with imagination, humour, and poignancy. The illustrations are also very engaging and delicate.

And Julie Sparrow Carson wrote on her Bundle blog:
Hmmmm…such a persistant question and such an awkward one to answer. This fanciful book makes a great big-brother big-sister gift.
Bundle is a cloth diaper service in Boulder, Colarado.  I do love the interwebs.

Scout Magazine (out of my one-time hometown of Vancouver) writes:
The second collaborative work from the author/illustrator team of Montreal based Sara O’Leary and Vancouver artist Julie Morstad, Where You Came From adopts a playful approach to answering the inevitable question: Where did I come from? Rather than glossing over the question with a hopeful “Well, um… er… hey, lets see what’s on t.v., shall we?” Henry’s parents come up with a myriad of beautiful and entertaining alternatives to the too graphic, and likely premature, truth. Julie Morstad (one of my absolute favourite Vancouver artists) provides amazing artwork for this sweet story. 

Also pleased to note that Babble names the book one of their top ten picks for toddlers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Praise from the marvellous Dooce:

Many readers have sent me books to help with explaining to Leta how the baby got inside my tummy, and this book, Where You Came From by Sara O'Leary, is one of my favorites. Inside there are no cows humping other cows or pictures of sperm swimming toward a woman's ovaries, and instead there are playful illustrations depicting possible explanations, like a baby in a sale bin at the grocery store or parachuting from a spaceship. I love the answer at the end, and I won't give it away, but I think it's perfect for beginning the discussion with a four-year-old.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Librarian's Pick

When You Were Small is a librarian's pick at the Homeschool Co-op.

It’s just the right amount of silly.  ”When you were small, we used to give you baths in the teapot.”  ”When you were small, we let you sleep in one of my slippers. The left one.”
It’s lyrical.  Each page starts the same way, and has the same lovely cadence and rhythm.  ”When you were small…”
It’s beautiful.  The binding is lovely.  The book has a matte finish, with lovely muted colours.  It could be on display in a fancy home.  It could live on your coffee table.
It has a great ending.  ”Don’t you remember?”  Henry’s father replies.
It doesn’t belong on a coffee table.  It belongs on a bedside table.  Kid’s or parent’s.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bloggers Know Best

Rounding up some of the more recent blog reviews of When You Were Small...

Irene Hoofs at  Bloesem Kids writes:
Sara O'Leary's witty text would stand well on its own, however the beautiful illustrations by Julie Morstad compliment the book terribly well and take the writing to a whole new level.  A perfect marriage of minimal text and delicate image, both so simple and yet so good, this books warms my heart and puts a smile on my face every time I read it!
And here's a write-up that has me walking on sunshine, by Katie at My Mama's Goodnight:
Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad may be the finest writer/illustrator team since Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake. Their utterly lovely book, “When You Were Small”, is a feast of words and pictures the likes of which I have not seen in some time. Henry is a little boy who, like most children, likes to hear about when he was small. So, his loving father, with a penchant for exaggeration and wit, spins tales of Henry’s infancy when he could sleep in his father’s left slipper and bathe in a teapot. The whimsy with which O’Leary’s words spill forth is perfectly matched by Morstad’s gorgeous drawings. This is a match (and a book) made in Heaven. I would recommend reading it every night…right after your warm and fragrant teapot bath. 
The book was also recipient of a very nice shout out from talented (and very discerning) writer/illustrator Carin Berger at Bird and Little Bird.