Earlier this year, I read Taking Time by Jo Loring-Fisher which a fantastic inclusive picture book that introduces the principles of mindfulness for children. Due to Covid-19, the publication date was delayed until September 2020. As publication draws near, I wanted to share this wonderful book with you all again as well as my interview with Jo. Now more than ever, I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate the people and world around us.
Taking Time is a gentle, illustrated poem invites children from all walks of life, to take the time to appreciate all the wonderful things around us. From the sound of the sea, to the shape of a snowflake. And most importantly, to take the time to cherish one another. Each and every time I read this book, I am left feeling calm and grateful for all the wonderful things in the world.
The poem also inspires you to stretch your imagination and Jo has achieved this through her illustrations, particularly in mine and my daughter’s favourite spread of the sea.
You can read my review of the book here.
In my interview with Jo earlier this year, it was fascinating to hear how she paired the mindfulness poem with the emotive illustrations:
Each line of the poem invites us to take time to reflect on an aspect of the natural world and I love how you’ve have showcased different cultures (and keepsakes!) in the illustrations. Can you give us an insight into how you decided on the art work for each line? Do you have a favourite spread?
Sometimes an idea comes to me as words first and other times it’s images that take the lead. When I’m working the images out I might jot down a very rough sketch. These are then turned into thumbnails-tiny illustrations that allow you to put together your ideas and help you to see how the spreads will work as a whole. Some images come to me very easily and remain pretty much unchanged, and other times I am unsure of how they will be until I work on them. It was like this with the Ecuador image, where I had a rough idea, but the finished image came to me as I was putting it together.
I love vibrant colour and with my love of the natural world, I look to paint subjects that I enjoy and know I can make visually impactful, Taking Time was a complete dream in that respect! I like to add a bit of magic in my work and snow is a favourite subject matter (this will be featuring strongly in another book I have coming out early 2021). I wanted to feature as many different types of landscapes as possible, such as the jungle and the desert. I visited Ecuador many years ago, and the man with the little girl in that image-watching the flock of macaws, is based on my late uncle who was on that trip with me. He was also an artist and an inspiration to me. I like to add personal elements to my work, as well as items that are symbolic in some way. My daughter suggested that I included the Northern Lights and that was a great idea!
I think the image I like the best is the one set in the desert. I like to show sensitivity in my male characters and seek ways to do this. I like how the little boy’s hand rests tenderly on his father’s, there is an intimacy there, and his little bare foot. I love children’s bare feet!
Here are some of the thumbnails for Taking Time. The final images are very similar to these ones.
Read the full interview here.
Publisher: Lantana Publishing
Publication date: September 2020