Today we are chatting with Deborah Hopkinson, author of
Read on for more about Deborah, her book and a giveaway!
Meet Deborah Hopkinson!
Deborah Hopkinson is the author of many highly acclaimed picture books, including A Letter to My Teacher, which received two starred reviews, and the modern classic Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, which the New York Times called “inspiring.” Her other books include Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book; and Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book. She lives in Oregon with her family.
Meet Only One!
This lyrical, environmentally focused picture book showcases the unique beauty of our one and only universe—its galaxies, stars, and planets—as well as our one and only Earth and the precious life it contains.
Join one girl as she leads her friends to a tree-planting ceremony. Along the way, she explains in simple language the value of the universe and Planet Earth. Readers will see the Big Bang, the Milky Way, all the planets in the solar system, as well as Earth’s atmosphere, and the life within it: its oceans, trees, bugs, and seven billion human beings. Finally, the girl and her friends plant a tree—doing one small thing to help their one special planet.
Both informative and inspiring, here is a beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated science picture book about our universe that will encourage young readers and listeners to protect and preserve the environment.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
As a writer, I really struggle to find the right voice or words for a picture book, and often go through draft after draft. I would say most of my ideas never make it into books at all!
But for some reason ONLY ONE was different, a kind of gift. I can’t recall exactly what inspired me except for the desire to write something to express my concern about the climate crisis, but at the same time inspire young readers to action, rather than feeling powerless. I think Chuck Groenink’s incredible illustrations do that so well by showing the narrator and her friends on the way to a community tree planting.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Many people think that illustrators and authors collaborate closely. This can happen, of course, but just as often we work independently. So with ONLY ONE I didn’t see the art until it was nearly in final form.
And I absolutely LOVE how illustrator Chuck Groenink imagined a personality for the unnamed narrator of the story, and gave her a sibling, friends, and a community as well. I love how the illustrations give the narrator exuberance and passion!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the book?
Again, each story is different for me. Sometimes a book’s title is changed while it’s in production. But in this case, I began with the words “ONLY ONE” and the narrative took shape from there.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I have wanted to be a writer since fourth grade, and for many years, held a full time job while trying to become a writer and raise kids. I think the most important thing I learned is that writing is hard. For me, anyhow, it’s as hard now as it was at the beginning. And that challenge is exactly what makes writing so rewarding and fulfilling.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I LOVE the cover of this book. It is so striking and dramatic, with the young child looking up to the Earth. I feel Chuck Groenink’s work here and throughout the book brings a level of emotional resonance.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m really excited that my next books with Random House in 2023 include a Little Golden Book entitled Happy Earth Day! Also, from Anne Schwartz books at Knopf, a really fun picture illustrated by Paul Zelinsky entitled Cinderella and a Mouse Called Fred. It’s my first book with talking animals.
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
I hope ONLY ONE inspires readers of all ages to appreciate the immense beauty of our world, and do what we can. For adults, that may mean becoming informed about the issue, supporting leaders committed to climate action policies, and composting and recycling at home. But young people have already demonstrated that one doesn’t have to be grown up to speak up, get involved or take action. This issue, along with severe weather events, will shape the lives of children coming of age in the 21st century.
For educators, one good new resource is www.climatelit.org, a resource site with literature for young people about climate change.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
My superpower is growing marigolds. (It doesn’t take much.)
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I worked in philanthropy as my day job for many years, and try to support as many organizations as I can. And though I can’t give much, I try to include groups working in my own state and city, as well as those working internationally. I’ve written a book about monarch butterflies, for instance, so I both grow milkweed native to Oregon in my garden and support nonprofits working on the issue.
During school visits, I’ve also done writing activities with kids such as creating “pretend” fundraising letters to ask for local support. A lot of young activists will end up trying to raise funds to support their work!
YABC: What advice do you have for new writers?
Read, write, and keep at it!
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books/Random House
Publish Date: April 4th, 2022
Three winners will receive a copy of Only One (Deborah Hopkinson) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*