Friday, May 15, 2015

Wherever You Go: PB Review & Author Interview

by Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Little, Brown and Company, 2015 
Themes: adventures and choices

“Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. This book celebrates the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road – the same road that will always lead you home again.”

The Story begins 
When it’s time for a journey, to learn and to grow,
roads guide your footsteps wherever you go.

Resources for Teachers: 

* Have a class discussion on urban vs. rural environments, or geography.
* Wherever You Go: Graduation Event Kit for ages K - 12

I love the positive vibe of WHEREVER YOU GO. So I was curious about the creative process.
Illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s posted “The WHEREVER YOU GO Illustration Journey” ( Great post! 
It appeared the author/illustrator roles were kept separate. I reached out to Author Pat Zietlow Miller to learn more.

Did you include any illustration notes in your manuscript? If not, when do you use illustration notes?

Pat Zietlow Miller:
Thank you for your question. You are right that Eliza Wheeler and I did not interact at all while she was working on the art for the story. So I was thrilled to read her blog post about the process, as well. I am not artistic, so I was fascinated to see exactly how she created something so beautiful.

I did not include any illustration notes in the text for WHEREVER YOU GO when my agent submitted it to editors. I purposefully wanted to leave it open to interpretation, and I knew it could be illustrated several ways.

So when Connie Hsu was interested in acquiring the manuscript, we talked on the phone about different directions the art could possibly take. Then, she and Little, Brown art director Patti Ann Harris put their heads together and found Eliza Wheeler and I had no further involvement until I saw her lovely sketches.

Sometimes, people hear that and are concerned. “But weren’t you worried the art wouldn’t be what you wanted?” they ask. And my answer is honestly, “No.”

I usually don’t see pictures in my head when I write, and I am more than willing to let a professional illustrator and art director take my story and make it even better by applying all the knowledge and expertise they have that I do not.

I have, on rare occasions, used an illustration note with my original story. But only when reading the text alone makes a plot point in the story unclear. And then, it’s more of a clarification like: (“The father is now hopping, too.”) rather than specifics about how the art should look.

Pictures books are collaborations, with each person bringing very specific skills to the project. So I trust what the other folks involved are doing just like they trust me. I wouldn’t want the illustrator to tell me how to write the story, so I wouldn’t tell him or her or her how the art should be. 

Thank you for sharing, Pat!

Enjoy the WHEREVER YOU GO Book trailer!

Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!


  1. Great to find out more about the process of this story from Pat. As an inveterate journey-taker I adored this story. And you pipped me to the post, Manju, as I was going to review this next week.

    1. Joanna, I had a feeling this PB would be a huge hit. WHEREVER YOU GO really is perfect!

  2. I really love the journey concept of this book! I would have really loved it as a child as I was always dreaming about traveling. This book will spark many reader's imaginations. I especially enjoyed the interview with the author about her process. Great choice today with summer coming.

    1. I agree, Patricia. This book makes a great grad gift.

  3. Wow. I've been a fan of Eliza's work for some time. Gotta own this book by these two amazing creators. Thanks for taking the time to talk to Pat. Great links, too!

    1. Eliza's illustrators journey post made me a fan of her work. Great post!

  4. I love this book! Thanks for featuring Pat, Manju!

  5. You're welcome, Carrie. WHEREVER YOU GO is my new favorite picture book.

  6. This PB sounds so uplifting Manju and as an aspiring author it was really interesting to hear of Pat's trust in the illustrator. Thank you!


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