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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Book Tour: SOMETHING GREAT Review + Author Interview


Book Details

Title: Something Great
Author: Jeanette Bradley
Publisher: Levine Querido
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Genre(s): Picture Book, LGBT, STEAM
Pages: 40

Reading Details

Finish Date: September 30, 2022
Format: Digital
Representation: Nonbinary/Nonconforming
Trigger/Content Warnings: None

Rating: 5/5

There's just something great about Something Great! This picture book has such pretty illustrations that drew me in to the story with their colors and art style. It was an actual pleasure to read this book and take in the artwork on these pages.

The casual way that Quinn uses they/them pronouns was absolute perfection! Yes, please more of this. More casual non-conformity and nonbinary characters in children's books, please and thank you. Quinn themselves is an interesting kid. I love their little recycling workshop and I love that they came up with Something Great.

This is honestly just a cute and sweet and charming story. It's full of heart and a lot of fun to read. I love the way this book captures the sheer wonder of Something Great so well. It's just itself and even if the others don't necessarily get it, Quinn gets it.

Author Interview:
How did you first get started with writing?

I had great teachers! In elementary school I had teachers who encouraged me to write and illustrate my own books made out of stapled-together construction paper. In middle school I had a great English teacher who was very supportive of my writing and pushed me creatively. Many years later, when I was trying to break into children’s book illustration, my parents ran into Mrs. Smits and filled her in on my life after middle school. She told them to pass on the message: “Remember you are a writer too!” That inspired me to start writing again as an adult.

What inspired you to write Something Great? Was Something Great based on something you (or someone you know) have ever created?

The first draft of what eventually became Something Great was a creative nonfiction exploration of simple machines, starring a group of zombie chickens. After many rounds of revision, I had a fiction story about a human child that still wasn’t quite gelling. I kept switching the gender of the main character back and forth from male to female. I realized that I was writing a character who doesn’t see value in labels and resists answering the question “what’s it supposed to be?” The story wasn’t working with either gender I was assigning the main character because Quinn was agender. Once I made that change, the story clicked into place.

I am fortunate to have an amazing nonbinary child, who has always been an inspiration for my work. As they grow into a young adult, they have become an incredible artist and the best live-in critique partner.

Several of your books appear to have important messages. What, if any, message did you want to convey by writing Something Great?

My nonfiction books No Voice Too Small and the forthcoming No World Too Big have clear messages – that every voice matters, and you should take action on the problems you see in the world. Something Greatdoesn’t have a message so much as it has an emotional core that I hope acts as a mirror to kids who need that mirror, and a window for kids who don’t share Quinn’s life experience. I hope anyone who has for whatever reason had the feeling of being misunderstood or out of synch with the world will take away the sense of hope that there are people out there who will “get” them. It gets better.

Thank you so much for answering my questions about Something Great. It was an amazing book and I greatly look forward to your next one. One last question, what are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Making Comics by Lynda Barry, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in jump starting their creativity, even if you have no interest in comics or no background in art! Barry focuses on process and play over product and brings so much heart into her hand-lettered writing.

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