Early last year, my editor asked if I would be interested in taking on a project very different from the narrative nonfiction books I've written. She asked if I would like to write the text for a baby book, a keepsake baby book, the kind in which parents can record the highlights of their baby's arrival and growth. But instead of being illustrated with the usual pastel drawings of bunnies, etc., this book would be filled with gorgeous photographs. The text needed to be lyrical and inspirational, with strong visual elements, she advised, and oh yes, it should also celebrate the natural world.
It was tall order! And it was unlike anything I'd done before. But it sounded like a great opportunity to stretch and challenge myself--not to mention earn some dough--so I took a deep breath and said yes to WELCOME TO THE WORLD: A KEEPSAKE BABY BOOK (National Geographic, March 4, 2014). I'm glad I did. Working on this book was a joy, from brainstorming with the editorial and design team, to looking through my own children's baby books and recalling their infancy and toddlerhood. I explored my feelings about motherhood and thought about my hopes and dreams for my children (now grown). I thought about my parents (both still going strong, I'm happy to say!) and my own childhood. I pondered the wonders of our world and tracked down--and verified--inspirational quotes to sprinkle through the book. Most gratifying, I discovered my poetic side as I crafted the text.
My goal was to go beyond the traditional journal style of most baby books. I wanted to connect the birth and early days of a child's life to the beauty and wonders and possibilities of this amazing world we live in. I tried to do this with my text, but ultimately it's the stunning photographs--selected by Lori Epstein, a brilliant photo editor and very talented photographer in her own right--that really make this book special. The photos Lori selected not only delight the eye, they enhance and expand my words, creating layers of meaning I didn't even realize were there until I saw the pictures and words together. Some of them make me laugh out loud. Some bring tears to my eyes. It took a team of us to create and give birth to WELCOME TO THE WORLD. I can't wait to see how it fares.