As part of our series ‘Family Connexion’, dealing with all the persons who help families, I wanted to interview Astrid Desbordes, author of the recent children book, Mon Amour, which was a huge bestseller here in France.
The children literature allows expression and dialogue between parents and children. It is also an opportunity to dream and to share a beautiful moment together. As a break from the whirlwind of the day … That’s why I’ve wanted to learn more about this wonderful job that intimately contributes to family life.
Astrid, how long have you been writing for children?
For over 10 years now. Initially I was writing quite serious books on topics such as religion, and then, one day, a friend illustrator, Pauline Martin, showed me a little hamster she had just drawn. She didn’t have a precise idea about the story and she asked me if her drawing inspired me. I wrote then a little dialogue imagining other characters… Our first book, The Reveries of a solitary hamster, was born!
What do you like in your job as a writer for children ?
I have a feeling of total freedom and, at the same time, writing for children has got a number of constraints : the words, the pace, the construction of the story are very particular. I like this big gap.
How does an idea of a new book appear ?
It varies from one book to another. Mon Amour is born very simply : a desire to talk to my children. One evening at the end of the school day, my daughter said, “I’ve failed my exams, Mummy, I was afraid that you wouldn’t love me any more”. I thought that I had to write something about what motherly love really is!
According to you, what does children’s literature bring to parents and children?
It’s quite difficult to answer. I suppose it is a kind of new perspective. Looking at a made-up life through a small window with the impression that it talks a little about us.
What are your writing projects now?
After Mon Amour, Archibald, the hero, is going to have a little sister and we talk about how he feels … And I continue the series Edmond the squirrel with Marc Boutavant.
I do not write much, I just follow my desires!
As a final question, what are your favorite comics?
Oh lala, hard hard to choose! … First I would say the Ernest & Celestine series, subtly poetic and sometimes political. There is an economy of words, all is suggested. I just love it.
Letters from the squirrel to the ant, by Toon Tellegen, and illustrated by Axel Sheffler. Funny and intelligent… I’m very impressed!
And then, our favourite one : The wolf returned by Geoffrey of Pennard. I had read it (recite it, I should say) 1 million times to my children, and it never bored me!
That, and then the best must certainly be Peanuts! … For both parents and children 🙂
Thank you very much to Astrid for making us discover its beautiful job! … I’m looking forward to discovering her new book!
Have a good week,