Lulu Delacre is the author and illustrator of many award-winning children’s books, including How Far Do You Love Me? and Arrorró, mi niño. In this guest blog post Lulu shares the valuable lessons she’s learned in her journey from illustrator to author.
“Me? Write a Story? In a language not my own? I can’t! I graduated from art school!”
That was my reaction to the suggestion of editors and art directors from children’s publishers in New York who saw my sketches back in 1984. From the doodles of my boredom a character had been born, complete with a name and attributes, and I shopped him around in the hopes of illustration assignments.
The scheduled interviews led to a meeting with Barbara Lucas, former assistant editor to the legendary Ursula Nordstrom at Harper & Row. Barbara was the first of several great editors throughout my career who have provided me with enlightening advice. “Your character needs a friend,” Barbara said. At that suggestion my self-imposed handicap began to erode. I thought, what if Nathan is asleep one night and a mouse comes into his room and sets up house in his toy chest? That question, the many sketches that followed, the clumsy first manuscript, and my editor’s guidance, led to the first book I ever wrote and illustrated: Nathan and Nicholas Alexander.