Carl the Christmas CarpA Promise is a Promise


I was at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 1987 meeting all sorts of publishers in the children's book industry. It was there that I met Rick Wilks from Annick, who told me he was interested in my work, particularly for a new book that was a collaboration between Robert Munsch, of whom I of course knew, and one Michael Kusugak.

When I got back to Canada I went to a meeting with Rick and Robert at Annick to discuss the project. I took the manuscript home with me that day and remember being completely overwhelmed with the challenge of illustrating a culture completely foreign to me. I rented a dozen documentaries about the Canadian North and read more National Geographic magazines than I can remember. I spent an entire week just absorbing the visuals from that reaearch.

One thing you probably don't know is that initially the main character was to be a boy, but I was very interested in girls' clothing, and asked if we could make it a girl. Mike thought this was quite funny, but agreed.

I didn't actually meet Michael until the book launch of Promise, but we immediately got along well. We agreed that for the next book, which had already been offered to Annick, I would have to visit him at his home in Rankin Inlet.

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