My USA editor.
I arrived good and early for my meeting at Random House, so that I could sit down to fidget. It turned out to be a most wonderful place to wait for an appointment.
The bookshelves flanking the foyer are set into the walls, crammed with original copies of many classics.
It created an odd atmosphere when I walked up to the shelves and looked at the books through the glass. There was that immediate impulse and shock of recognition, ‘Hey, that’s my old book!’ … set in a space so modern and sparse, impressive and very public. I found myself pointing animatedly at cover images I had not seen since childhood. It was eerie, like seeing items from your household in a museum; strange and out of context. The memory attached to books is so personal after all.
I was however here to meet Frances Gilbert the editor of ‘Rose and the wish thing’. Soon I was sitting in her office – Random House New York. My book was sitting on top of her desk which I am certain she positioned as a courtesy, but I wanted to pretend it lived there … if only for this meeting. We talked at length about industry stuff; paper stock, Bologna Book Fair and so forth. How much would you have to pay for such an audience I thought. I sat there asking questions and trying to sound knowledgeable (and not get caught out) when Frances invited me to draw on the illustrator’s wall. Now this is my element … drawing on office walls.
As for Frances, I’ll quote from her Facebook Page, because it is both eloquent and flattering.
– you are a unique talent. Caroline Magerl Two years ago at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair I was shown a picture book unlike anything I’d ever seen. A book full of beautiful, achingly plaintive watercolors and a story written in a cadence and tone that felt entirely unique. “Rose the the Wish Thing” is a story of longing – and of how we make connections. It’s one of those rare picture books that can be enjoyed by young children and grown-ups alike, each of whom will come away a different person. I’m so proud to be publishing it today at Doubleday. Congratulations,
After I was done doodling, we spent a couple of hours in conversation about books, and the telling of stories. The one that sticks in my mind was of our shared experience, migrant childhood.
There I stood, illustrating among works of some of the great illustrators and me taking up as much New York real estate as I could manage.