A few weeks back, 12 April to be precise, I was riding back on the N.E. Regional train from teaching my classes at Drexel University and had a great idea for a childrens’s book. I’ve worked with the Yuri’s Night organization, which honors the first human space flight by Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961, by promoting celebration parties around the world. I began to wonder what good children’s books there were about Yuri and his magnificent flight. Searching the Web, I found nothing. This most important of human adventures was not something very small children would learn about.
I decided I needed to tell the story of Yuri’s flight, to show the excitment of space travel for children still new to their home planet. So, I sat down the next day and wrote about 15 three line pages, and another five the next day. I asked my wonderful wife, Tara, to edit it and give me feedback; shared that version with a few other trusted collegues; and by Tuesday had finished my third, and for now, final draft.
The title is Yuri: The First Spaceman, and I’m writing it for the 2–4 year old age range.
I’m conceiving it as a 40 page book with illustrations that cover both pages.
But how to illustrate it? I thought of doing it myself. Here’s a simple cover with no figures that I started:
I’m still looking at maybe getting someone with a bit more depth to their illustration style. In the meantime, I’ve found a potential publisher, and I’m looking at doing a kick-starter campaign.
More news in the next few weeks!