A Spark of Inspiration: How Flash and Gleam Came to Be

by Jordyn Taylor, Assistant Editor for Carolrhoda Books and Millbrook Press

For those who are stuck at home, I wanted to try to shed a little light on your day with this new book. I enjoy editing picture books because each one is different. And each one also comes about in a unique way, which makes it fun to ask, “Where did the idea for this book come from?”

Today I want to take a look at Flash and Gleam: Light in Our World by Sue Fliess, a recent release that Booklist calls “lovely” and “a great read-aloud or a starry bedtime story” in a starred review.

So where did Sue Fliess get her inspiration? She says, “Believe it or not, I was talking to a handyman at my house, who was hanging about thirty framed photos of our trip to Switzerland in a collage in our hallway, and he showed me that he takes photos of lighthouses.”

“He told me I should make children’s book about lighthouses. I encouraged him to make a coffee table book with all of his photos of lighthouses, but . . . I liked the idea of a children’s book about light, in general.”

“Then I started to think about light and all its different forms and functions. [The handyman] left and I ran to my computer. One spread does include a lighthouse that guides. Because light is so unassuming, yet so inspiring and ever so important, the manuscript came to me as a spare poem. Inspiration strikes in the most mysterious ways!”

In addition to that lighthouse, the book touches on everything from rainbows and lightning to birthday candles and fireworks to the holidays of Hanukkah, Diwali, Christmas, and Yi Peng. Young readers will delight in Fliess’s rhyming text as well as the luminous illustrations by Khoa Le depicting various forms of light. The book’s back matter contains additional information about the science of light and the role light plays in the celebrations featured in the book. This one will certainly add a little sparkle to your bookshelf!

This book also has a wonderful book trailer! It was a Shelf Awareness book trailer of the day last week, but just in case you missed that, we wanted to add a little brightness to your online experience today.

Other book trailer posts on this blog.

5 thoughts on “A Spark of Inspiration: How Flash and Gleam Came to Be

  1. John Coy

    Thank you, Jordyn, for this interesting post in these unusual times. I’m wondering how the manuscript from Sue came in. Did it have illustration suggestions or was it just the short text?

    1. Jordyn Taylor

      Hi, John…thanks for your question! We received this submission from Sue as just text. We then matched the manuscript to the illustrator, Khoa, through her agent.

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