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It wasn’t all that long ago that we all cheered on Kristy Yamaguchi as she skated for Gold in the Olympics in ’92. Following her victory at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Kristi founded the Always Dream Foundation to support the lives of children through educational and recreational initiatives. For almost 20 years, Kristi has championed the Always Dream Foundation, continuing to inspire children and supporting the local community.
Now she’s turned her talents to writing children’s books and the main character of her stories is a pig named Poppy. She sat down and discussed her books today at Book Expo in New York. She explained how kids inspired her to write a children’s book. She chose to use her life and reflect it in Poppy’s stories.

In the books, Poppy the Pig has big dreams—lots of them! But following her dreams isn’t always easy, and whenever Poppy thinks it might be time to give up, her family reminds her to “Dream Big!” While on a “pig’s day out,” she has so much fun ice skating that she doesn’t even notice those around her who think pigs can’t skate…and without even knowing it, she achieves her dream while doing something she loves! The artwork for the two books “Dream Big Little Pig” and “It’s a Big World, Little Pig” is done by Tim Bowers a very stylish and humorous illustrator. He has illustrated over thirty children’s books, including The New York Times bestseller, Dinosaur Pet by Neil and Marc Sedaka. His work has been published in children’s magazines, his illustrations have been used on a wide variety of products and his characters have appeared on hundreds of greeting cards. Each year, Tim travels to schools and libraries to promote literacy and share his artwork with students.
The combination of these two great talents makes for fun reads and embedded lessons which don’t talk down to kids but inspire them. A lot of celebrity children’s books have been vanity pieces that have no redeemable qualities and artwork that fails to match storylines. Yamaguchi’s efforts are right on and her messages coming from who she is and her experiences resonates loudly with parents and kids alike.
Dream Big, Little Pig has garnered rave reviews, tremendous media attention, sold more than 15,000 copies through bookscan and debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Ok, so how does that relate to us, the illustrator looking for the next great project to work on? Here it is …Be careful who you hook up with when you take on projects. Those of us who are lucky enough to be offered a celebrity project should be aware of how “real” the writer’s effort is and how much control the publisher has on the project. If you’re doing artwork for Madonna you better believe she is making all the decisions and she is one major diva so you better get ready. Don’t be so quick to jump on board. Ask questions, make sure that the committment and the story itself is there. Sometimes the money (I have made this mistake a few times) seduces you into making a foolish decision that will later implode on you. You find yourself in the middle of a project you wish you had never taken. You wish you never heard of that certain celebrity. On the flip side if someone like Kristy Yamaguchi comes your way jump on that asap and do your best work ever!

 

More to come from BEA