For this Marvelous Monday new picture book post, I wanted to discuss a book that I just bought at the Southern Festival of Books. While attending the conference, I was lucky enough to meet the creators of My Love for you is the Sun. Within minutes of hearing Julie Hedlund and Susan Eaddy describe the book and its publication process, I knew I had to buy it for my own collection. The illustrations were breathtaking, for one. I think they are probably the book’s most impressive feature. Eaddy’s illustrations are molded with clay, slowly built up over time, and ingrained with textural elements. I cannot help but share this video of her creating one of the illustrations for My Love for you is the Sun because the artistry behind her work blew my mind!
Hedlund had to develop the funds for publishing My Love for you is the Sun on Kickstarter because her publisher was unable to support the book’s initial development. This process intrigued me because it is indicative of the changing market for children’s books, and specifically, how modern technology like crowd-sourcing is influencing the publication world. I had never heard of a publishing house using crowd-sourcing as a fundraising process, but it worked wonders for Hedlund. Since she had more creative control over the book because of her crowd-sourcing platform, she was able to request Eaddy specifically as her illustrator. She had seen Susan’s previous work and knew that her style was instrumental to making the book successful. Hedlund had never wanted the book to be an advantageous story; instead, it was meant to be a sweet bedtime story. She wrote in an effort to render the love she felt for her children comprehensible. Plot, character development, and thematic discussions were not the focus of her work. Instead, she used metaphor after metaphor to help every parent express their undying love for their children.
The result is a picture book that reads almost like a poem, mirroring the natural illustrations that engulfed the text. My Love for You is the Sun is quite simply a fun read. It is poetic, beautifully illustrated, and sweet. Watching the book trailer (below) created with Hedlund’s home videos, my heart melted. Often, as teachers (or parents), we search for the most educational books, hoping to improve our students’ development. However, now I realize that not all books need to be educational; sometimes, they can simply be mirrors into a child’d world. Lighthearted, authentic books, such as My Love for you is the Sun are important. I would recommend it to anyone, hands down.