Happy Thursday everyone!
I’m delighted that Kate Hosford is here celebrating her upcoming picture book, You’ll Always Be My Chickadee, and sharing the first peek at its final cover. Thank you so much, Kate, for stopping by!
Thank you, Sandra, for having me here!
Are you ready to go?
Let’s kick things off with that beautiful cover created by Sarah Gonzales. What was on your mind when you first saw it?
Here is the cover, but I also couldn’t resist showing you the entire dust jacket! (You can see it below.)
I was very lucky to be paired with illustrator Sarah Gonzales. I love the bright palette, composition, and dynamic movement on the cover. To me, it looks like the mom has swooped up her daughter just seconds before, and now the birds and butterfly are circling around them, celebrating their bond. Even the caterpillar is watching them.
On the back of the dust jacket, I like seeing a cross section of earth and the profusion of flowers carried over from the front. There is so much joy here!
You are right about that. There is so much joy! Now, tell us about what’s between the covers.
The book is about a day in the life of a child and mother (or other caregiver) as they explore the outdoors together. The adult celebrates nature and her love for the child through reassuring nature metaphors. It was fun to have a tagline for each stanza. Some of my favorite ones, besides the title, were You’ll always be my sugar beet, and You’ll always be my evergreen.
What a magnificent celebration of the many ways to say I love you! I especially like You’ll always be my sugar beet! What was your first inspiration for this celebration of love?
I wrote the book during the first summer of the pandemic when our family moved back to my home state of Vermont. We couldn’t live with my parents for health reasons but lived nearby for six weeks. I spent a lot of time thinking about all the beautiful natural spots around my home in the Mad River Valley: the garden, pastures, river, mountains, and forest, and how they had been an integral part of my childhood.
I started out thinking the book would be mainly about wildflowers, but eventually the narrator became a nurturing female who found many different metaphors in nature to express her love to her young one. When my editor Daria Harper got the manuscript, it reminded her of her childhood in Oregon, and when Sarah Gonzales got the manuscript, it reminded her of her childhood in British Columbia. I was very happy to hear that the story resonated for people who had grown up in different places.
The childhood connection that both Daria and Sarah felt makes so much sense to me. There is something timeless about this book. It already feels like a classic, like a story that will touch the hearts of so many.
So, last of all, what are your hopes for You’ll Always Be My Chickadee?
In a world that is full of uncertainty, I hope children will be comforted by the message that each of us has someone who will always love us. I hope that children who read this story will feel loved and protected and will learn something new about the natural world around them. I also hope they will enjoy the rhyme, repetition, and nature metaphors in the book.
I’m sure they will! Thank you so much, Kate!
Weaving together the wonders of nature and a parent’s devotion in one glorious day of outdoor exploration, this picture book is a beautiful, unforgettable ode to the bond between caregiver and child.
Busy birdsong, breaking dawn,
melodies above the lawn.
Fly right over here to me.
You’ll always be my chickadee.
With lyrical, rhyming text by author Kate Hosford and gorgeous illustrations by artist Sarah Gonzales, this gentle book shows that there are as many ways to say I love you as there are special moments to be shared together. A restful bedtime book, a cherished read-aloud, and a memorable gift for new families, You’ll Always Be My Chickadee reassures young children that no matter what, our love for them is as steadfast as the tallest forest tree and as endless as the stars in the sky.
TIMELESS MESSAGE: Parents and caregivers are always looking for ways to reassure children that they are special and loved—and always will be. By playfully incorporating elements of nature, this picture book offers a meaningful new way to share one’s love.
NATURE APPEAL: This book details the beauty and delights of nature in lovely and specific ways. The poetic language and gorgeous illustrations will speak to families who value and encourage outside time over screen time.
EASY BEDTIME READ-ALOUD: Soothing, rhyming text and a comforting nighttime ending make this book a joy to read out loud, especially at bedtime.
- Parents, grandparents, and caregivers of young children
- Baby shower, adoption, and birthday gift-giving
- A sweet and comforting bedtime book
- Fans of Love You Forever, Goodnight Moon, and Tree Full of Wonder
If you would like to know more about me and my writing, please visit sandranickel.com.