I love books that celebrate various cultures around the world, such as AT THE SAME MOMENT AROUND THE WORLD written and illustrated by Clotilde Perrin. It's glorious in its simplicity and wow, what a talent Clotilde is! As so many of the creators I've been featuring lately (what is up with the French!?), Clotilde is French, so Chronicle is helping us talk to her via a translator...

Q. Hi Cotilde - as a francophile, I'd love to know where you live in France?
A. I live in Strasbourg, it’s in the northeast of France.

Q. Is the children's book market very different in France, or do you find yourself targeting the American or English-speaking markets specifically?
A. I work a lot in France at the moment but I’m absolutely ready to begin working in the American and English market. I think that my style will work very well for young American and English readers. I will be delighted to have this experience.
Click the image to see a larger version in a new window.

Q. What has been your journey to publication in children's books?
A. I’ve published around thirty books, four of which I wrote. My first book that I wrote and illustrated was LE COLIS ROUGE, published in 2007 by Editions Rue du Monde. It’s a wordless book where you follow a character on a bike with a hat and a red package. It’s a mysterious package, and my character travels across incredible universes—and at the end you discover what’s inside the package. This book was very important for me because I could draw whatever I wanted and whatever I wanted to pass on to my readers. My images were teeming, filled with little details.
     Next, I made TOUT AUTOUR DE MOI, a book for the very young, a book you can read with all your senses. I really wanted kids to have fun with the book, discover that they could look at it upside down, lying down, that you could read it repeatedly, wherever you felt like with whoever was with you. There too, I liked that my books allowed my reader to undertake his own storytelling inspired by my images.
     In 2011, I made AU MEME INSTANT SUR LA TERRE [what became At the Same Moment, Around the World in English]. In France, this book was published in an accordion format. It’s a book-object that you can read but also then stand up and turn into a globe so you can find your way to the center of the world and travel all around it.
     In 2012, QUI VOILÀ was a little book that told of the arrival of a baby, his first day on earth. Now I’m working on new books in a littler format, more intimate. To be continued . . .

Q. AT THE SAME MOMENT AROUND THE WORLD is charming and seemingly simple. How did the idea come to you and how much research did you have to do to get it right?
A. The idea had been stumbling around in my head for a fair bit of time to tell a story about something happening at the same instant—this elusive idea that so many things could happen at the same moment. Then, the inspiration to take a journey around the Earth turned the idea into a coherent vision. I felt like I was travelling in my studio during the several months I worked on the book. It was very exciting to choose the countries that I wanted to show. I wanted readers to discover countries both well- and lesser-known, to show that at the same instant it could be beautiful and hot in one corner of the globe, and in another, it could be cold; it could be snowing. I didn’t want to make a book that was purely didactic, but rather to introduce in my paintings details that were poetic and cultural, little hidden gems that the reader could find. I really like when I can engage the reader in the experience of my paintings.

Q. The book has a narrow and tall proportion that's different from average picture books. Why did you choose that layout?
A. The object transformed itself. The choice of format allowed me to create a big frieze of all the countries in the book. Chronicle Books published it in a different format, more classic, but the pages stayed the same. All my paintings follow each other, so they are visually connected. The geographical map locating where the characters live was made especially for the English edition.

Q. Your illustrations are so engaging. What is your method?
A. My paintings tell a lot. I draw a lot of details as well, so my readers aren’t passive. You have to enter my world and read all the “winks,” the little gems, to understand the whole thing. I really like the work of Jerome Bosch, a Flemish painter of the 15th century. These paintings are filled with stories; they overflow with details. It takes a good amount of time to really read each painting, and that’s what I like. You travel in the image, you meet characters, ambiances, objects; you have fun there!

Q. Are you able to celebrate the release of AT THE SAME MOMENT AROUND THE WORLD way over in France? How are you celebrating your gorgeous accomplishment?
A. I would really like to, but here in France there is nothing planned. I would love to come visit you and drink champagne to this superb moment!

I would love that too! Thanks so much for visiting!

Chronicle is kindly giving away one free copy of AT THE SAME MOMENT AROUND THE WORLD to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US or Canada to win. Enter below...
a Rafflecopter giveaway


apple blossom said...

love to share with students I teach said...

Love the concept of a book that can be turned into a globe. What fun for the readers.

And the illustrations are gorgeous.

Rosi said...

This looks like a super book for kids. Thanks for telling me about it.