REDWOODS Comes to Life with a Blend of Fact and Fantasy
Jason Chin's REDWOODS (Roaring Brook) is a stunning exploration into the ancient forests of Northern California, where the world's tallest trees reside. The story begins when a boy picks up a book about redwoods on the subway and he is transported on a journey through the majestic forests - the same way Chin embarked on his own journey of writing and illustrating his first book.
"I was on the subway reading a magazine article about scientists studying the redwood canopy. I got lost imagining these guys swinging from the treetops like Spiderman," Chin said. "It occurred to me that it might make for an interesting children's book. It's a place a kid would never get a chance to explore, and the researchers were finding amazing things like trees, growing on top of redwood trees, that never saw the ground."
Out of that seed grew REDWOODS, an imaginative blend of fiction and non-fiction. "The response has been great so far. I think there is a real market for a children's book that will engage your imagination and teach you about the world we live in," Chin said. REDWOODS is a 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection, and has received starred reviews from Booklist, Horn Book and Publisher's Weekly.
While Chin has illustrated several books, this was his first attempt at writing. "I really liked the process of writing and illustrating and paging out the story. I liked to control the timing and pace of what is revealed on each page, instead of being locked into someone else's story."
He is taking a similar approach to his next book, which is about the coral reefs. "It's not just redwoods underwater. I am approaching it differently but keeping the theme of being swept away into a new world," Chin said. "My inspiration is the child who may never get to see these places."
To research REDWOODS, Chin visited the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park to stand next to the tallest living things on earth, "It's a memoire in a way. I am trying to help kids connect to a subject by showing them how I connected with it. I'm really writing as my seven-year-old self visiting the redwood forest."
For more on REDWOODS and Jason Chin, visit the Green Guide for Kids Blog.
To buy the book or more information visit www.redwoodsthebook.com.