I recently flipped over Gloria's Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem, Feminist, Activist, Leader (People Who Shaped Our World) by Aura Lewis. So I had to reach out to Sterling Children's Books to invite her to come chat!
e: The timing of Gloria’s Voice is so perfect. What inspired you to create this book?
I made the book two years ago, which was just a little before this current feminist moment. I’m lucky that the timing was so perfect! I’ve always been interested and passionate about the women’s movement and feminist history, particularly second wave feminism in the 60s and 70s. I wanted to find a way to talk about these ideas with kids, and when I had the idea of making a book about Ms. Steinem it seemed perfect!
e: This is your first published picture book - congratulations! What was your path to publication?
I sent in a complete book dummy to a conference. My editor there loved it and made an offer.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Gloria’s Voice?
I created the book during the first year of my illustration grad program. When I graduated a year later, I was extremely excited to learn that Ms. Steinem was the keynote speaker at our graduation! I had the opportunity to personally hand her a package I made with a letter and paintings, telling her about the book.
e: I love the gloss sunglasses on the cover. Gloria is famous for her sunglasses, yes?
Aviators, yes:)

e: What was your creative process and media for this book, can you walk us through it?
The illustrations are done in pencil and watercolor. In most of the images I collaged parts together- so each illustration was handmade in parts and then assembled digitally.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
I love this question! For me much of the heart is in the color, which sets the tone and mood. I also feel like each illustration should convey an emotion, or hold a secret that the reader can look for. Something surprising, joyful, interesting or meaningful. Adding thoughtful details can also bring the reader back again and again.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I really wanted to convey the message to kids to be strong and proud of who they are, and feel like they can dream and do big things! The book is not only about feminist ideas, but about empowerment in general.

e: Are there more famous women you want to create books about?
Oooooh I would love to make books about lots of women, but it’s tricky when they’re not as famous as Gloria:) Some women I would love to write about are Jane Austen, Yoko Ono, Maya Angelou...and many more 🌸

e: I look forward to seeing them!

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