I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young (+GIVEAWAY)

Oh, Picture Book Builders people. Prepare to be a little bit mesmerized.

Jessica Young and Rafael López have teamed up to create a masterpiece of a book. Going through the pages is like getting lost in a poem and an art gallery at the very same time.

This is what Kirkus had to say in a starred review:

“A tender ode to a family’s ever changing (and never-ending) love.”

Nice, huh?

I thought we could all use some extra beauty in our lives, so let’s learn more about this book from someone who knows it especially well–Jessica Young.

Hi, Jessica! Welcome to Picture Book Builders.

Hi, Tammi! Thank you so much for having me, and thanks for that wonderful introduction to the book!

Tell us about I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams.

It’s a celebration of the parent-child bond in its many forms, following two parent-child pairs across a lifetime of love. As parents (or other loved ones) and children meet in their dreams, the imagined forms they take mirror their evolving relationships, from the nurturing closeness of infancy, to the parallel play of the school-age years, to the parent acting as home base for the older child, and beyond.

How lovely! What was the initial inspiration?

One night as my daughter was getting ready for bed, she was telling me about what she was going to be in her dreams. It made me think about a parent and child planning to meet in their dreams to have fantastic adventures. That was the initial spark which led to the title.

How did the story evolve from there? Did it involve lots of brainstorming? Lots of revision? Lots of chocolate?

Yes, yes, and yes! Some stories materialize quickly, close to their final form. This was not one of those. I started writing it in 2010, but I realized early on that it needed something more. I put it away and revisited it five years later, revising with input from my critique partners (including you!). At that point, the sequence from intimate to more expansive dream images started to emerge. But I still hadn’t figured out that the dreams could reflect the development of the parent-child relationship over time. I set the piece aside again, then two years later, I went back to it and added more of the developmental elements. I wanted to explore the relationship between parent and child almost like a dance, with the parent responding to the child’s changing needs and growth through the dream characters they take on, and the metaphors flowing from one into the other.

Wow! Such a great example of perseverance!

What was it like to see your words brought to life by the incomparable Rafael López? Were you envisioning a similar art style as you were writing the book? Do you have a favorite spread?

It was like Rafael pulled the ideas and words out of my head, did some brilliant magic tricks to transform them and make them shine, and held them up for me to see clearly for the first time. I was imagining colorful, dreamy illustrations, but I could never have envisioned how the text would be brought to life in this way. It’s been such an honor to create this book with him, and the amazing team at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite spread, but I especially love the knight and horse spread which is full of movement and light, and the “you’ll be you, and I’ll be me” spread which depicts an older child leaving home to explore the world. The final spread ties everything together in such a beautiful way. And the “till you blow home to me” spread is the most emotional for me — probably because that’s the phase of life I’m approaching with my own kids, so it really resonates.

You have written humorous picture books, playful picture books, and lyrical picture books. What is your secret?!

I love playing around with different types of books and different formats, and I’m also lucky to have a wonderful agent and thoughtful, skilled, patient critique partners like you who are open to reading them!

Scoop time! What’s next for you?

I have an early reader, the third book in the Fairylight Friends series, coming next fall. In Full Moon Party, Ruby, Iris, and Pip (three fairy friends) go on a field trip to the Full Moon Fairy Fest. It’s been really fun working on a book with a magical setting, and Marie Vanderbemden’s colorful illustrations are full of fantastic details. My first board book, Baby’s Here!, comes out in Spring 2022. It’s an interactive, rhyming book that prompts young children to go through the motions of caring for a baby. I can’t wait for young readers to interact with illustrator Geneviève Godbout’s adorable cast of babies.

BIO:

Jessica Young grew up in Ontario, Canada. When she’s not making up stories, she loves sharing the creative process with kids. Her books include I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, the Fairylight Friends early reader series, the Haggis and Tank Unleashed early chapter book series, Play This Book, Pet This Book, A Wish is a Seed, My Blue is Happy, the Finley Flowers chapter book series, and her forthcoming board book, Baby’s Here! (2022).

GIVEAWAY:

For a chance to win a copy of I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, please leave a comment. For another chance, please share this interview on Twitter. Be sure to tag Jessica @happybluejess and me @SauerTammi. Winner will be selected and notified March 9.

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist. She currently has 28 published books and more are on the way. In addition to winning awards, her books have gone on to do great things. Mostly Monsterly was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program. Me Want Pet! was recently released in French which makes her feel extra fancy. And Your Alien the Musical is currently on tour across the nation. Tammi's latest books include Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants, A Little Chicken, and Nugget & Fang Go to School. To learn more about Tammi, visit her site at tammisauer.com.

104 Comments:

  1. This looks really lovely, Jessica. Congratulations!

  2. Love that this spans so much time and the art looks breathtaking. Congratulations!

  3. What a wonderful idea for a book! It looks beautiful.

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    Debra Kempf Shumaker

    Oh wow, what a lovely book. I cannot wait to read it. So glad you persevered and it’s now a book!

  5. I love the conceit and how wonderful that it is your own child who gave this to you. It is beautiful. Congratulations!!!

  6. Lovely book. Congrats Jessica. Thank you Tammi for sharing.

  7. This looks so lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you for introducing me to Jessica Young and her delightful books.

    I’LL MEET YOU IN YOUR DREAMS depicts outstanding artistry in the words and illustrations.

  9. Oh what a sweet and lovely book -a treasure to keep forever! Congrats!

  10. From a seed to a full blown, blooming story! Congratulations, Jessica!

  11. So glad you kept coming back to this manuscript, Jessica. The words and illustrations are so calming and we all need that right now. Thank you for sharing Jessica and her books with us, Tammi.

  12. A testament to perseverance… certainly inspiring to all of us to not give up! I can’t wait to read the beauty that is I’ll Meet You In Your Dreams. Congratulations, Jessica, and thank you for sharing, Tammi!

  13. Sounds gorgeous! Looking forward to reading this.

  14. This book looks great, the illustrations are gorgeous! Think my twins will love it!

  15. What a beautiful book. Congrats!

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    Michelle Garcia Andersen

    What a great reminder of the rewards that come from patience and perseverance! This a gorgeous book, well worth the wait! Congratulations!

  17. This book looks dreamy. Can’t wait to share it with the ones I love.

  18. The line in this interview that caught my eye was “the line between a parent and a child almost like a dream.” I look forward to sharing your book book with family and friends. Rafael Lopez is one of my favorite illustrators!

  19. This is a beautiful book! Thanks for the post.

  20. I cannot wait to buy this book!!! Thank you for sharing it Tammi and Jessica (and for the inspiring imagery, Rafael).

  21. Oohh, this sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to read it!

  22. Wow! What a gorgeous book. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Congratulations, Jessica!

  23. Mercy! What a gorgeous book! Congratulations on the starred Kirkus review.

  24. Congratulations, Jessica. This looks like a lovely, magical journey between parent and child. The illustrations are beautiful!

  25. This beautiful book will bring so much joy to parents reading to their children. Congratulations!

  26. So so beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us. Congratulations!

  27. Looking forward to reading your story and thank you for sharing.

  28. How sweet and fanciful! Love Rafael López too.

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    Jilanne F Hoffmann

    The illustrations are stunning. And the rhyme, sublime. Looking forward to reading the entire book! Sharing on Twitter. Cheers!

  30. What a dream of a book, Jessica. Can’t wait to hold and look at a opt in my hands. A story of perseverance. Congrats!

  31. What a gift your daughter gave you and what a gift to kids of all ages.
    The illustrations and your words are joyful!
    Congrats!!!!

  32. This book looks and sounds like a beautiful dream one would want never to end. Thank you for sharing your inspiring process. I can’t wait to see the magic!

  33. This looks lovely. Beautiful marriage of prose and illustration. Congratulations!

  34. Beautiful concept & book! Congratulations.

  35. Thanks Jessica and Tammi! Great interview. I appreciate the story of persistence.

  36. Congratulations! This definitely looks like a book to fall into and get lost in. I can’t wait to read it.

  37. Dreaming of being Jessica when I grow up:)

  38. I can’t wait to see this one — what gorgeous words and art!
    Oh, the cover!!!
    Congrats, Jessica and Rafael!

  39. Wow! What a beautiful book! I enjoyed reading your interview and learning about your inspiration for this book. Congratulations!

  40. This looks like a very sweet bedtime story. The artwork is beautiful.

  41. Oh, how lovely is this? With gorgeous art. Congratulations, Jessica and Rafael!

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    Sheri Delgado Preston

    What a beautiful story, Jessica! It reminds me of when my children were younger and now how our relationship has evolved and they’re older, and they still need me and always will. Thank you for sharing your writing journey:)

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    Janet Frenck Sheets

    That bumblebee image…adorable!

  44. Such a beautiful book! The words and illustrations are dynamic!

  45. I loved hearing about this book and its journey–lovely–can’t wait to read it!

  46. Exploring and celebrating the evolving connection between a child and parent is a story for all ages. The dreamy illustrations enhance the text to perfection. Congratulations, Jessica, on realizing your beautiful dream.

  47. I love sleepy, dreamy books!

  48. Congrats, Jessica and Rafael! It looks like a beautiful book.

  49. What a gorgeous book! Congratulations, Jessica! And thank you both for a great interview. Always love those long-incubation book stories. It hatched beautifully!

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