BOOK TOUR REVIEW& INTERVIEW: Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story by Elisa Kleven
Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story
by Elisa Kleven
Claire, a glasswing butterfly whose transparent wings reflect her lush home, finds herself lost in the city after being separated from her family. She doesn’t know how they will ever see her, but she finds new city friends, a pigeon, an ant, and a ladybug, who search for the flowers Claire needs to live. They come upon a tiny urban garden, and as Claire drinks from the flowers’ nectar, she pollinates more flowers. Soon the garden—and Claire’s clear wings—fill with color, allowing her family to recognize her at last. Together they create an oasis for all to enjoy. Facts about glasswing butterflies and pollination complete this beautiful and educational picture book. Kleven’s latest offering is as colorful and delicate as a butterfly’s wings—a treasure that can be cherished for years.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This story is full of beautiful imagery, both literally and figuratively speaking. A young butterfly leaves her home but soon discovers that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and you need your family.
The vibrant pictures kept my 4 year old’s attention, and the story is a great lesson for children. The author does a great job and knowing what kids want in a book and what adults need them to learn. I’d recommend this to any parent and young child.
Had you always wanted to write children’s books?
It was a childhood dream of mine, which I think began with my love for Hans Christian Andersen’s transporting fairy tales, and the joy I felt looking at the marvelous pictures in my favorite books.
Why did you choose to feature the glasswings butterfly in your latest release?
I was intrigued by the creature’s transparency and delicacy. I loved the idea that they could take on the colors of whatever surrounded them (they’re known as “Espejitos,” Little Mirrors, in the Latin American countries where they’re found), and I marveled at their fluid identity. I was also impressed that this incredibly fragile creature could accomplish so much as a pollinator.
Can you tell us a little about your forthcoming title “Cozy Light, Cozy Night” from Creston Books?
The book presents a year of everyday wonders, giving children an opportunity to snuggle up with a parent and enter into a warm, cozy world, where even the planets are tucked cozily into bed along with the shining stars. I was inspired by my appreciation for how the small things in life give us comfort and make us happy. I, for instance, enjoy taking a hike with my dog in the incredibly beautiful landscape we live in. I find extreme pleasure in sharing a meal with family and friends, curling up at the end of the day with a good book, or the quiet magic of creating art in my studio. Life would be a cold, hard struggle without access to coziness. I hope my book will provide children, who are often so stressed, over scheduled and steeped, for better and for worse, in technology, with a little piece of coziness, too.
“Cozy Light, Cozy Night” brings the simplest yet most magical details of each season to life.
You have done both the poetic text and luminous illustrations for than 30 picture books in your career. As you write, are you picturing the scenes in your mind, and do they end up looking the same once you start drawing?
I picture the scenes in my mind, then try my best to translate them to paper. Sometimes I’m disappointed with how they come out, and sometimes pleasantly surprised. Creativity is not always controllable!
Do the words always come to you first for a book, or do you visualize something and decide to write a story around that sometimes?
Sometimes the words come first, and sometimes the pictures. In the case of “Cozy Light, Cozy Night,” they came together. I thought of the things that bring me the most joy (warm sand, soft snow, summer light, autumn leaves, snuggling with my family and animals), and suddenly words began clustering – in rhyme, no less – around the images. Of course I rework many drafts of a story, including
this one, until it feels as finished as it can be.
About the Author
Elisa Kleven is the author and/or illustrator of over 30 childrens picture books. Favorites with children and adults alike, Elisa’s books have received awards and honors from the American Library Association, The New York Times , The Junior Library Guild, School Library Journal, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Her pictures from Abuela are part of a traveling show organized by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, and her story The Paper Princess has been adapted for two theater productions, one in Ireland and the other in California. Elisa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and pets. To learn more about Elisa and her books, please visit her web site: www.elisakleven.com
Other books by Elisa Kleven: