Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on picture book and graphic novel author Elise Gravel.
Elise, my first question to you is, could you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?
I’m a French-Canadian author and illustrator. My goal is to write books that kids will find funny and entertaining, but that will also offer educational content and social messages that are important to me.
So where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
In most bookstores in North America and in many countries around the World. I also offer some free printable comics and we-books on my website, elisegravel.com.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I’m on Instagram @Elise_Gravel , Facebook Elise Gravel – English, on Tiktok @elisegravel_english.
What was the inspiration for Pink, Blue and You? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I heard a mother say on the radio that she wished her child felt comfortable describing his family to his kindergarten class. He has two mothers and told them that he felt excluded when everyone else in the classroom describe typical heteronormative families. That mother was hoping for resources in schools to welcome kids with diverse gender identities, sexual orientations or gender expressions. I decided to write a book to help teachers and parents who want to introduce their kids to different ways of being themselves. To make sure I presented information that went beyond my own experience as a cis straight woman, I got the help of a transmasculine educator, Mykaell Blais, and many members of the LGBTQ+ community.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Pink, Blue and You? How did you overcome that challenge?
My biggest challenge was to find a balance between providing information and allowing the young readers to think for themselves and make up their own opinions on the subject of gender identity, gender stereotypes, and sexual diversity. I didn’t want to force-feed them my own ideas on the matter; I wanted them to open up their minds, to reflect, to think about their own experiences. I decided to end every page with an open question so that kids would have a chance to think about what I was showing them and to discuss it with the grownup who was reading the book with them if that was the case.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I just finished a book on media literacy, disinformation and fake news that will be published with Chronicle Books very soon. After that, I’d like to work on some books that are pure fun, not necessarily socially engaged in any way, but I don’t know if I can really stop being somewhat political these days.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Elise! And lots of luck with Pink, Blue and You.