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First Look at STAY THROUGH THE STORM by Joanna Rowland and Lorian Tu

July 6, 2018

Last week I shared an unofficial cover reveal for DRESS LIKE A GIRL, a promising new picture book by Patricia Toht and debut illustrator Lorian Tu. Today I have the privilege of sharing the cover of another work that bears Lorian's name. 

 

Lorian and author Joanna Rowland approached me about revealing their cover of STAY THROUGH THE STORM. I invited them each to finish my sentences as we anticipate the release of this new picture book.

 

JOANNA AND LORIAN FINISH MY SENTENCES:

 

(Joanna) The idea for Stay Through the Storm first came to me... earlier this year while driving. I had wanted to write a storm story ever since Storystorm the previous year but I didn't know what my story about a storm would be about. Nine months later I was driving thinking about a childhood friend that had taken his life and how I wish he stayed. Then that word stay stuck with me and I knew what my story was. So it began as a metaphor to stay through life's storms but children will never know that. It's really about friendship through a really storm and how they are there for one another.

 

(Lorian) When I first read the manuscript for Stay Through the Storm... I cried. I felt like it was speaking directly to me. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and if it wasn't for my friends, I don't know where I'd be. This book really captures that sense of unconditional love and support through tough circumstances... without judgement, just love.

 

(Joanna) In the story... one of the girls asks her friend to stay through the storm. (The storm has an arc in the story). It shows how the girls comfort one another as the storm gets worse and are there for each other as it passes with a promise to always be there.

 

(Lorian) The illustrations for the story were made... with mixed media: some watercolor washes, ink, colored pencil, and digital magic. I tried to give it a watery look, but at the same time create a juxtaposition between the darkness and the light. I also tried to make it seem like the light is emanating from the girls themselves, because really, that's the truest source of light, right?

 

(Joanna) One thing I hope readers will take from this story is... how they can be there for their friends during scary times. That storms will pass and friendships are so special. And it's important to be a friend during that happy and scary times with each other.

(Lorian)  ...is that everyone needs someone at some point, and just the same, everyone will have the chance to be that someone for another... it's important to be on the lookout for those opportunities, to help, comfort, care, and love--- without judgement, without condition.

 

(Joanna) Honestly, to me storms... are fascinating. But I love to be safe inside when they hit. I love watching the lightening brighten the darkened sky and counting seconds between the lightening and thunder. But they can still be quite scary.

(Lorian) ...are kind of exciting. Of course, I'm speaking from the position of being inside and watching through a window. The sound of the rain on the roof, the dark sky, the thunder and lightening. It's another thing to be caught in a storm, of course... which isn't so fun. One good thing about storms is that they don't last forever. You can count on there being an end to it eventually.

 

 

And just like that we have a COVER!

Okay. Let's take a closer look at this cover.

 

There are a couple of things here that I think are revealing of the story within. First, like many of us and our children have down at some point in our lives, these girls have build a fort using blankets and couch cushions. These moments are close moments in our lives. They reveal an intimacy between characters grown out of trust and love and affection. 

 

Notice also that the flashlight is on the ground pointing toward not away from the girls as if it was dropped. Perhaps the storm outside became particularly threatening  and in one such moment the flashlight was dropped so that one of the characters to cling to the other with both hands. I could be reading too much into it, but that's what the illustration is evoking in my mind. 

 

It will be interesting to read this one once it publishes and to see how much of each one of us (and our memories from childhood) are reflected in the story.

 

Thanks, Joanna! Thanks, Lorian! And thanks, Beaming Books!

 

STAY THROUGH THE STORM will publish in May of 2019 from Beaming Books.

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