Thursday, November 08, 2007

Robert's Snow: Genevieve Cote

I am just thrilled to bring another snowflake feature for Robert's Snow auction for Dana Farber cancer research. Today I have an interview with Genevieve Cote. Check out her home page to see the fabulous work she has done in a variety of places. She has a long list of awards for her children's books, exhibitions of her work, and her editorial illustrations published in major periodicals. A few of her children's books: The Lady of Shallot, What elephant? and With You Always, Little Monday.

I would have to say my favorite is With You Always, Little Monday. The forest animals find a little bunny sleeping alone in the moonlight and decide to call him "Little Monday". Little Monday is happy playing with his friends, but:
"Sometimes, in a quiet moment, Little Monday would sit alone and wonder who his mommy might be. One day he decided to look for her."
He searches everywhere for as he longs for his missing mother. Each animal that he asks kindly tells him that they are not his mother. At last he finds her reaching out to him from the moon in love. Based on the legend of a woman living in the moon, this sweet story of a parent's love deeply touched me. The artwork is simple and deeply expressive. With just a few lines and washes of color Cote brings us into the heart of Little Monday and draws out our own longings. In the back of the book Cote explains,
"In many languages, Monday means "day of the moon." Look carefully at the full moon. Do you see the shadow of a rabbit running across the sky? Or maybe she is sitting quietly in the moonlight? From China to the Americas, people around the world have celebrated this gentle presence for thousands of years. The moon rabbit can still be seen today, reminding us that no one is ever truly alone in the night."
Since Genevieve's snowflake is based on the Little Monday character, I began my interview with Ms. Cote by asking her about the story:

Interview with Genevieve Cote

Bonjour Genevieve!
I am so impressed with your work! Your art is stunningly beautiful. Your books are charming. I particularly like With You Always, Little Monday. I have two adopted sons and I think it will really resonate with them. We are quite open about talking about their first parents and how much they are missed. My 5 year old son in particular often talks about his first mother and father. Although we have close, loving relationships and a wonderful family, I believe adopted children never lose the love and longing for their first parents. The little rabbit in your story expresses those feelings so poignantly. I'd like to mention that in my blog feature running this Thursday, and I wonder if you could speak about the inspiration for this book. Do you have experience with adoption in your family? Did you think about how an adopted child might miss their first/birth mother when writing this book? It seems a natural connection to me, but that may because of my own family experience.

GC: I'm really glad you liked Little Monday, as it is a favorite of mine. I guess, my intention, doing this book, was to address every child's occasional feelings of abandonment. Basically, I meant it as a comfort book, my way of saying that we're never alone, no matter how dark the night may seem. And I like the fact that a child might be reminded of this just by looking at the Moon, which is big, bright, and always there. I wrote it for an orphan, who is very dear to me, but I do believe that this will speak to every child, because, as I said, those feelings of abandonment are shared by all, at one time or another. But of course, it would resonate particularly for adopted children, and I'm really truly glad if you think your children might find something of use in this story.

CC: Tell us about how you made your lovely snowflake. What is your process of creation?

GC: As for the snowflake, it was made with crayon, watercolors and acrylics - I like mixing media. I did one side first - the bunny in the butterfly-shaped snowflakes, and then I thought I should draw a different character. I couldn't resign myself to paint it over, so I turned it over and painted on the other side that bird bringing in a bit of rainbow. I was approached by Grace Lin for this project, and felt very privileged right then to take part in such a wonderful and inspiring project.

CC: I believe you are Canadian, is that right? Can you tell us about where you live? What is the seasonal change right now? What do you like to do in the great outdoors?

GC: I'm Canadian, (french-speaking Canadian) and I live in Montreal, where November is now beginning to earn its reputation of bleakest month in the year. I love to ski, and bike, and hike, but these days I find the weather somewhat uninviting...

CC: What projects are you working on right now or have planned for the future?
GC: I'm working on two other stories of mine - I'm actually awaiting news from the publisher - and am busy this week preparing for the Salon du Livre de Montreal next week.

Thank you Genevieve Cote for your time in this interview and for your generous and lovely snowflake for Robert's Snow! Everyone please visit her snowflake at the Robert's Snow auction site and consider bidding on this one or others when the auctions open November 19th!

And don't forget to check out the comprehensive list of illustrator blog features over at 7Imp. What a treasure chest of children's literature that is turning out to be! Other posts today:

Thursday, November 8, 2007:


Anonymous said...

Oh my oh my oh my, what a beautiful snowflake! I really love that picture book, too (reviewed it earlier this year at 7-Imp). That snowflake is gorgeous.

Thanks for the feature, cloudscome and Genevieve!

Vivian Mahoney said...

What a sweet, sweet snowflake! Nice interview.

Don Tate II said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

I love this snowflake. Um, does the fact that I love almost *every* snowflake I've seen mean I'm indiscriminate? Or just that we have fabulous artists donating their talents? Luckily, I'm sure it's the latter.


Elaine Magliaro said...


Sorry that it has taken me so long to comment here. I bought WITH YOU ALWAYS, LITTLE MONDAY a few months ago. I think Cote's book would be a fine book to read to a child who has recently lost a parent, too. I love her snowflake--especially the side with the rabbit. It's one of the ones that I'm thinking of bidding on.

Very thoughtful interview. Thanks!