I’m very excited to celebrate the #BookBirthday of JUST A WORM, by debut author/ illustrator Marie Boyd which releases March 14th with Greenwillow Books!
This STEAM-themed picture book explores the many wonderful and unique ways in which Worm and friends contribute to the garden and work together to make it grow.
JUST A WORM celebrates everyone’s individuality and highlights the importance of interdependence—how it’s necessary for a stable, collaborative, and healthy environment.
Using the ancient craft of quilling, Marie Boyd meticulously created each illustration out of strips of colored paper that she shaped, layered, and glued to produce a lush three-dimensional world.
You will love this clever #STEAM read-aloud!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Q 1. When and how did you first begin quilling?
Marie Boyd: About ten years ago I was at a craft store and the store had all its quilling supplies on clearance. I didn’t know what quilling was, but I love paper and trying new crafts, so after looking up “quilling” on my phone, I bought the supplies. Once I started making cards for my family and friends, I quickly fell in love with quilling. Soon I began cutting my own paper, which opened up so many new creative possibilities, and eventually led to JUST A WORM.
Q 2. What was the inspiration for JUST A WORM?
Marie Boyd: In many ways, I’ve been preparing to write and illustrate JUST A WORM since I was a child as the book brings together my longstanding interests in art and science. When my mother saw the completed book for the first time, she even remarked that the book incorporates so many my childhood interests.
Art + Science
MB: As a child I spent countless hours observing insects and other creatures in my parents’ garden, collecting, pressing, and sketching flowers, and studying seed catalogues. I spent a lot of time making things with my parents and younger brother, including tissue paper flowers and beaded bugs.
In college, my concentration was in chemistry, but I also took biology, children’s literature, and art history courses, and spent time at Harvard’s natural history museum, where I was particularly drawn to its collection of glass flowers and biological specimens.
“It’s just a worm.”
I love spending time outside with my family. And I still get excited every year when the seed catalogues arrive in the mail. I have a small garden and many potted plants in and around my home. I’m intrigued by insects and have even written about them in my work as a law professor.
“It’s just a worm” is something I frequently told my son when he was younger as we went on walks after the rain. I wondered how a worm might respond if it overheard my words and could understand them. This question inspired JUST A WORM.
Q 3. One of the themes of JUST A WORM is overcoming self-doubt. I love that (spoiler alert) Worm compares himself to others and then eventually sees the important part he plays in our world. As a debut author/illustrator, have there been moments in your #kidlit journey where you experienced self-doubt? How did you keep going?
Marie Boyd: The message in JUST A WORM is one I’ve needed at times. One piece of advice I kept coming across for aspiring children’s authors was don’t try to illustrate your book if you aren’t a professional illustrator. I saw myself as a lot of things, but even though making art has always been an important part of my life, I did not see myself as an illustrator. In addition, I had never seen a picture book illustrated with quilling.
Trust Your Instincts
MB: As a result, when I first started querying agents, I did so as a writer and not an illustrator. When I imagined the garden in Worm, however, I imagined it as a lush, quilled paper garden. To make my vision of the garden a reality I had to ignore that advice and trust that even though I was not a professional illustrator, I had the skills to make my vision a reality.
Bonus–> For Kids & Crafty People of all ages:
Teachers–A perfect craft + Read-aloud for your class!
Click this link to view an easy quilled craft tutorial
with Marie Boyd.
And she’s a Law Professor too?
Q 4. What aspects of being a Law professor might apply to your #kidlit journey thus far?
Marie Boyd: I’ve found a lot of the skills I used when I was a lawyer, and continue to use as a law professor, have been helpful in my kidlit journey. In my experience, practicing law, teaching law, and writing for kids all involve a lot of research and writing, and many, many revisions. All three jobs also involve conveying information to different audiences.
Q 5. Is there a project you’re working on now that you can share?
Marie Boyd: I don’t have any other projects that I can share right now, but I will note that my contract with Greenwillow is for two books, and I have several dummies I’m hoping to send out this year. So, stay tuned for more!
We can’t wait!
Huge thanks to Marie Boyd for joining us on the blog today.
To learn more about Marie and her books, check out her website: www.marieboyd.com
And follow her on:
Marie Boyd is a member of the #GreenPB@023 group,
featuring NEWLY RELEASED picture books about nature and our environment.
and FB Greenpb2023
Happy Book Birthday to JUST A WORM!
Up next on the blog:
A #BookBirthday celebration for John Schu’s wonderful picture book: