We have been fans of the beautiful books by author Nancy Tillman since we discovered the book Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You when researching books for kids with a deployed parent several years ago. Since then, we’ve added more Tillman to our library like The Crown On Your Head and Tumford the Terrible. The newest children’s book from Nancy Tillman, I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love, is a celebration of children’s imagination while reinforcing parents’ love and devotion.
There are things about you quite unlike any other…
things always known by your father or mother.
So if you decide to be different one day,
no worries…I’d know you anyway.
I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love
As we’ve come to expect from Tillman books, the pages are extraordinarily beautiful. The animals jump off the page, giving life to a child’s imagination as she pretends to be different creatures.
To underscore the parents’ love, a mother figure appears on every page – sometimes hidden behind the action and other times in the forefront. My kids enjoy looking for her as we flip the pages.
Tillman says she hopes her books “give parents words to say what they already feel for their children” and I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love achieves just that. Through captivating illustrations and playful prose, the book tells children to go wherever they want in their imagination with the security blanket of parents’ unwavering love. No matter who or what a child pretends to be, her parents will recognize and love her.
Q & A with Nancy Tillman
We’re excited to share this Q & A with author Nancy Tillman, which provides some awesome insight into her creative process, how animals inspire her work and why her books always end with the same phrase.
Animals figure prominently in your books. What is your favorite animal?
My favorite animal is my pug, Figgy. That’s the truth! Fig is my mascot… he sits beside me every day as I write and illustrate. Other than that, every animal has special characteristics that draw me to it. Everyone is unique and wonderful in its own way…and each one suits a child differently. Giraffes are so tall they are perfect to help children pick apples. One can easily cross a stream upon a hippo. Who better to have a water fight with than an elephant?
Why do you think children relate or are drawn to animals?
Children are drawn to things that stimulate them or nurture them. Animals are full of joyful surprises and funny noises… and many are great cuddlers, too.
The child in I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love pretends to be many different animals. Why do you think children enjoy pretending to be different people, animals, or things?
It comes naturally to them, probably because pretending is so developmentally helpful. By trying on different personalities, children learn social differences and empathy for others, among many other things. Plus, it’s FUN!
What was the inspiration behind the story of I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love?
I wanted to give children the joy of becoming another creature with the comfort of knowing their parent would always recognize them. And I always love to create interactive pages that allow children to “be” the animal either in action or in sound.
Is the cover image of I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love inspired by the photograph of you with a giraffe that is featured on the back of the book?
Yes it is! My publisher, Jean Feiwel, loves that picture and asked me specifically to create an illustration inspired by it. Children I’ve met on tour always tell me they love that picture, too. That picture was taken in Kenya. The giraffe, Lynn, licked me all over my face. I was holding food in my mouth!
Your books are heartwarming and very comforting but always close with the phrase “You are loved.” Why?
Quite simply, it’s a message no one gets enough of. It’s the bottom line take-away of all my books, so I always want to end with it.
Millions of families across the nation have grown to love your books dearly. What is it about your stories that you think creates such a special connection with your readers – children and parents alike?
I try to give parents words to say what they already feel for their children. Most parents really deeply feel those words, and their children can tell. In their early years, children are little sponges. I love knowing parents are getting those messages of love into their children before many of the world’s other messages make their way in, or before barriers go up
Can you describe your creative process? How do you choose a subject? Do you have a favorite place where you go for inspiration or to work out any blocks? Do you write or illustrate first? Are you inspired by friends, family, scenery, other?
I am inspired by the natural beauty of the world around me, and the beautiful faces of young children looking up at me. When I succeed in reaching those children, I want to do it again and again. Yes, there are special places that are especially inspirational to me… many countries in Africa have provided me with beautiful memories to work from. But I could just as easily be transported by a crow that talks to me on a morning walk, or fog over a wheat field. As much as I can I try to paint wide open spaces that children can imagine themselves in.
Generally, I write first, although there are illustrations that I can already see in my mind. Sometimes I envision an illustration that might influence text.
Shop! I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love is available from our affiliate Amazon for $12.78.
We received a sample. As always opinions are our own.