Interview: Debut image e-book writer Sara Truuvert and illustrator Michelle Theodore about MIRA AND BAKU (Annick Press)

is the writer of Mira and Baku, her debut image e-book, revealed by Annick Press. Sara’s brief fiction and poetry have appeared in publications like Ploughshares, the Chicago Quarterly Overview, Witness, and PRISM worldwide. She lives in Ontario. Yow will discover her at

 is an illustrator born and raised beneath the prairie skies in Edmonton, Alberta. As a landlocked yonsei, she is commonly reminiscing about coastal summers with household, impressed by her occasions on seashores amassing sand {dollars} and consuming selfmade salmon jerky. Yow will discover out extra about her at, Instagram at @meeshell_t, and Twitter at @meeshell_t. I’m an enormous fan of Michelle’s work and have already bought a few of her beautiful prints.

– See writer’s e-book web page
Written by Sara Truuvert, illustrated by Michelle Theodore
Writer: Annick Press ~ Publication date:

With the assistance of a magical good friend, a younger lady searches for her lacking father on this poignant story set throughout Japanese internment in World Struggle II. “It’s every week till Mira’s birthday, and he or she’s getting anxious. The place is Papa? He has by no means missed her birthday earlier than. When Mira’s good friend Baku, a creature from Japanese folklore, gives to assist, they journey over farmlands and forests, mountains and river mouths, gathering clues to Papa’s whereabouts—clues that echo Mira’s reminiscences and overheard conversations within the camp the place she lives with Mama. Lushly illustrated by up-and-coming illustrator Michelle Theodore, this tender, shifting image e-book by debut writer Sara Truuvert explores the profound impacts of household separation and the totally different varieties consolation can take for a kid processing loss.”

It was a shock! I’d been submitting poetry and fiction to literary journals for a short time. Annick Press discovered considered one of my poems in The Ex-Puritan (previously The Puritan Literary Journal). They reached out to ask if I’d ever thought-about writing for youngsters. I hadn’t! They had been open to my concepts, so I ready some pitches. We felt particularly drawn to the concept would grow to be Mira and Baku. Then I drafted the manuscript, collaborated with Annick on edits, and waited to listen to in the event that they needed to accumulate the story. I’m so blissful that the reply was sure.

: I used to be tabling at Canzine Toronto in 2019 and met an artwork director working at Annick Press. We briefly talked, exchanged enterprise playing cards and quick ahead 3 years, the identical director reached out to me with the chance! After I first learn the manuscript I instantly knew I needed to work on this e-book. Not solely was I precisely like Mira as a toddler, however the imaginative and prescient inside Sara’s story was so clear to me!


The wonderful Claire Caldwell. It was Claire who reached out about working with Annick Press, and who gave me the steerage (and confidence!) to direct my love of storytelling to youngsters.


Fantastic and collaborative. After I submitted an preliminary draft, Claire and I handed concepts and edits forwards and backwards for a pair months. I used to be grateful for her steerage – she helped me use instruments I hadn’t earlier than, like web page breaks and, after all, illustrations, to strengthen the story. It was useful to collaborate with somebody with experience on which story beats may very well be stronger with a visible solely, find out how to tempo the narrative throughout the size and page-turns of an image e-book, and so forth. I additionally felt that Claire and I had been on the identical web page by way of how critically we took particulars – I can agonize about phrase alternative and comma placement for days, so it was nice to have somebody supply enter and preserve issues shifting. A lot of the edits occurred earlier than Annick formally acquired the manuscript, however we made little edits proper up till the e-book went to print.

I’m nonetheless thrilled that Annick discovered Michelle, and that Michelle was on board for this undertaking. When the manuscript was full and Annick was trying to find illustrators, they despatched me samples of Michelle’s work and requested for my ideas. All the things in me instantly went YES!. I bought emotional seeing Michelle’s work because the e-book got here collectively however I actually needed to take a second once I obtained the primary set of character thumbnail sketches. There was a lot character coming off the web page. Michelle breathed an entire new dynamic of emotion and life into the story.

I labored with each Robin Mitchell Cranfield and Claire Caldwell all through everything of constructing this e-book. I owe a lot to those two for all of their perception and their limitless persistence. Really probably the most supportive people I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

While you’re younger it’s very easy to miss your loved ones and the methods they’ve poured themselves into creating a way of normality and luxury in unsure occasions. I might hope any younger reader would take a second to understand their dwelling and household and particularly the times that don’t appear significantly particular.

This preliminary sketch is extraordinarily humorous to look again at as a result of it showcases how a lot of a metamorphosis my work goes by means of. I might have simply proven this second go, however I believe it’s attention-grabbing to see what an sincere first sketch can appear like typically!

There’s no specific message or sentiment I hope younger readers take away – they’re free to interpret the e-book nonetheless it occurs to have an effect on them. But when they study something from the story/setting, or really feel one thing, or don’t perceive one thing, I do hope they take a second to replicate. I’d encourage them to speak about/specific these emotions and ask questions. I additionally hope that on some degree readers of any age can relate to Mira – although the historic backdrop is restricted, I attempted to create an emotional core that would resonate extensively.

One thing I inform myself once I’m discovering it troublesome to jot down is: Look, you both do it, otherwise you don’t.Which appears apparent or possibly a bit harsh! However for me, it retains the duty minimally daunting and in addition grounds me. Simply do the work. Begin proper now. Even in the event you solely have a handful of minutes. Sit with the uncomfortable likelihood that a big portion of your work isn’t going to return out the way in which you need. Then forgive your self and preserve writing anyhow. Acknowledge that point spent not bodily writing, like planning a narrative or mulling over an thought, remains to be a part of the method. For those who discover setting concrete, externally-driven targets useful, I’d advocate discovering one thing to undergo – a literary journal with a submission window, a mentorship program calling for purposes, for e.g. – and decide to ending the submission by the deadline.

I’d additionally encourage you to learn as a lot as you may and to learn extensively. Learn exterior what’s in a “canon” or on a syllabus. Learn books, poems, performs, articles, comedian strips, your outdated diary entries, Kijiji listings. Take note of and be interested by what’s taking place round you or to you, from headlines, to conversations on the subway, to the feel of no matter you’re touching proper now, to the way in which your voice modifications once you decide up the telephone. Keep in mind that your perspective and your observe are worthy of respect, together with your individual. That features being affected person with your self and your artwork. It additionally consists of making up your individual thoughts about whose recommendation to take, together with mine    

My solely recommendation for younger illustrators is to pour simply as a lot time into your individual life as you do your work! My best inspirations come when I’m away from my desk and I’ve discovered that taking the time to step away from drawing is likely one of the most important components of my observe!

A novel! It’s a full-length work of fiction with an older viewers in thoughts. It retells a Japanese folktale and units it in modern-day Toronto. I’m grateful to have obtained beneficiant grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, which have allowed me to dedicate my time to this undertaking.

At present I’ve simply signed onto a brand new undertaking that’s not anticipated to be launched till 2025. Nevertheless, within the meantime I’ve been chipping away at some private work and aiming to launch some self revealed comics within the new yr! And only recently Sitting Shiva which was launched in 2022 with Orca Ebook Publishers and author Erin Silver, has been nominated for the TD Canadian Youngsters’s Literature Award!

Additionally see different Interviews with Ebook Creators and Recommendation For Younger Writers And Illustrators.