Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October #cbadspotlight - Spotlight on Let Me Finish! with Illustrator Isabel Roxas

Today I'm shining the spotlight on Isabel Roxas,
illustrator of #cbadspotlight pick
Let Me Finish! 

When our young hero settles in to read, the last thing he wants is for some noisy animals to ruin the ending of the story.
But ruin it they do.
And as it turns out, the boy is quickly approaching a surprise ending of his own! Maybe he should have listened to the animals after all. . . .
This silly, timeless picturebook with a clever meta twist introduces debut author Minh Lê's witty text and Isabel Roxas's eye-catching illustrations.

Thank you, Isabel, for joining me for a #cbadspotlight interview today!

Q: What was your inspiration for the illustrations in this book?

A: Minh’s tale was a joy to read, so most of my inspiration came from the story itself. The manuscript was so full of possibility, loads of humor and crazy characters (that were not strictly specified) that it very nearly drew itself. The animals in the cast were chosen for their comedic value (bear, goat and rhino), ability for escape and mischief (birds) and their skill at camouflage (giraffe). 

Q: What message do you hope kids (of all ages) take away from this book?

A: I would love it if they finish the book and think that books are so wonderful that we can’t help but share them with others, and that we SHOULD share them with others, but perhaps, not ruin the endings ;p

Q: What was your process for creating & revising the illustrations for this story?

A: I made a dummy based on Minh’s original manuscript and most of the scenes were pretty close to how they were originally imagined although we made some adjustments to enhance page turns and things like that. There were a ton of different versions of the cover and the endpapers, but most of the character development was pretty straightforward because it was so clear to me what this little boy was going to look like. 

Q: Was there any part of the process where you worked together on the vision for this book?

A: We built the dummy together and I secretly emailed Minh work-in-progress drawings. hopefully our editor isn’t reading this (Eep, Hi Rotem!).

Q: What is your favorite part of making picture books?

A: I generally love the research part. But since this book was not research heavy (save for the animal anatomy stuff), I think the sketching part was my favorite—figuring out who our characters were and what the world was going to look like.

Q: #cbadspotlight is putting the spotlight on inclusive #ownvoices books. What can you share with students about the connection you have to this book or the choices you made while writing/illustrating it to add diverse representation?

A: When I was making books in the Philippines, it was always important for me to create characters that reflected its readers, so I drew mostly dark-haired and brown skinned children. Working in the US, there is a broader range of skin color to take into consideration. So instead, I made the boy a bright pink since no one in real life is that color, I hoped it could stand in for many different colors, but I also gave him characteristics of Minh—same dark, spiky hair, mischievous expressions, and myself—oversized glasses, small, nearsighted eyes, small body.

Q:  #classroombookaday is a goal to read aloud a picture book every day of the school year to students at any grade. What would you like to say to the teachers who are taking on this challenge?

A: Thank you and what a super idea! Not only is there such a broad range of picture books but also a great depth in many of them and I am delighted that they are being shared with older kids. 

Be sure to check out yesterday's spotlight on the author of Let Me Finish!, Minh Lê!

Be sure to check out all of the #cbadspotlight choices for this school year!
Visit classroombookaday.com for more information on #classroombookaday,
a goal to read aloud a picture book every day of the school year, at any grade,
inspired by Donalyn Miller's #bookaday.

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