When nature photographer Middleton Evans asked us to turn his mountain of photographs of a dog named Bodhi into a children’s book, we faced two “never did that before” challenges.
The first challenge related to the writing process. “Most children’s books start out as a story told with words, then the story gets illustrated,” says writer Sue Kline. “We were trying to do the opposite. We had years of Bodhi ‘illustrations.’ Could we find the stories hidden among them?” Sue spent hours with the photographs of Bodhi until they were as familiar to her as old family snapshots. Soon Bodhi’s personality emerged and even a voice. He was no longer a dog; he had become the audience she was writing for: a child.
“Once I saw Bodhi that way—being silly, feeling lonely, getting excited, loving adventures—I could ‘hear’ the potential stories in the photos,” Sue says. “I could look at a photo and know what he was feeling and what he would do next.”
Putting the “e” in “eBook”
The second challenge required that we enter the brave new world (for us) of digital book publishing. And because our collective enthusiasm makes it impossible merely to dip a toe in the water, we dove into the deep end. We weren’t going to produce any old eBook! No, our eBook would have sound effects (screeching eagles! rumbling snow plows! grumbling bears!). Our eBook would have narration. No, wait, our eBook would have voices for every character, not just a narrator.
We set out to publish a read-aloud eBook with the just released ePub3.0 specifications. And just when we polished off our first two eBooks, Apple changed the guidelines for children’s read-aloud books in the iTunes store, requiring us to recode every page of both books (sigh).
But the result, we think, is worth the effort. Tell us what you think. The Bodhi books are available now at the iBookstore.
How About You?
If there is a book in you waiting to come out, contact us to help find it and bring it to the world.