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Picture book club #21 Eva Eland

For March’s picture book club we made a return to Broad Street Books, Waterstones Reading and we were delighted to welcome Eva Eland all the way from Cambridge.

Author-illustrator Eva Eland’s debut picture book When Sadness Comes To Call is out now with Andersen Press. The hardback edition is gorgeous with a matt embossed cover (my favourite kind!) and although it is a book about Sadness (who is green, not blue BTW) it is an uplifting, hopeful and charming read. Many of the members who came along last night commented that they thought adults could definitely gain just as much as children from reading this book.

The text is sparse and the images complement it perfectly. There is plenty of space for the reader to bring their own experience to the story which is a great starting point for discussing emotion with children. Eva explained that she wanted the narrative to be open and not tied to her own or a single experience of sadness so that it would be relevant to everyone. We definitely think she has succeeded! It was interesting to hear how she had worked with her editor at Andersen to pare down the text but bring out detail in the images.

Eva told us how this book evolved from a project she did as part of her masters in illustration in Cambridge. As part of the course, students display their work at Bologna and her project was spotted there by the team at Andersen Press in 2017. We were all impressed by the short turnaround to make it to the shelves (especially as Eva revealed later that she isn’t keen on deadlines!).

It sounds like Eva hasn’t rested on her laurels though and there are more books in the pipeline. At picture book club we will be looking out for them!

Of course, there was cake… this is picture book club after all… but we couldn’t bring ourselves to have a sad cake so we drew inspiration from the endpapers where Sadness is trying out new things and looking more content.

We kept Eva busy signing books and were thrilled to be able to choose what Sadness was doing in each of our books! I thought this was a great idea and is something I haven’t seen before.

Sadly there were technical difficulties and we couldn’t broadcast the session on facebook as usual. But don’t worry! We are plotting another session with Eva and her fellow debut author-illustrator Marguerite Surnaite next month so we hope you will be able to see and hear her in all her glory then! Details soon!