We meet Astrid Desbordes, writer for children

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.

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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  🙂

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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,

Emilie.

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