Today, fellow Trike Press author Betsy Franco shares some thoughts about the writing of Zero Is the Leaves on the Tree.
1. What was the inspiration for the book? Was it an idea, an image, or....?
I've always been intrigued by zero. I wanted to write a book that would capture the character of zero. I wanted to show that zero might be "nothing," but that it was very powerful, very meaningful.
2. Does the book resemble your original concept? Did you revise several times?
I rewrote it many many times because the images had to be different, precise, illustratable, poetic, and seasonal. I have file folders filled with pages filled with possible images. I also added "0 leaves," "0 sounds," "0 ripples," etc. to each page so that children would know what I meant, and so that they could repeat that refrain out loud if they were being read to.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
I wanted to make sure that each image had an expectancy, an observable absence, a poignancy that kids could relate to. I wanted them to go way beyond the normal notions of zero and feel it in their bones.
4. How would you like teachers and parents to use the book?
I'd love for kids to write and illustrate their own zero pages in the format I use in the book.
Betsy, thanks so much for giving us some insight into your writing process. Teachers could borrow some of your techniques (like the file folder full of images) in a math/writing lesson.