Antwan Eady - A Lion & Dragonfly Interview
"I was inspired by my love for the moon and how its distance offered safety for me as a child growing up in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. That distance allowed me to dream bigger than I ever thought possible." - Antwan Eady
We adore the brilliant Nigel and the Moon - it's a treasured part of our our Power of Imagination collection. When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as…an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too! Among the stars, he twirls. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky. But it’s Career Week at school, and Nigel can’t find the courage to share his dreams. It’s easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates—especially when he already feels out of place.
Of course, we were delighted that author Antwon Eady took the time to answer a few of our questions. Enjoy the interview!
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Nigel and the Moon?
Nigel and the Moon is a story about a young boy who’s afraid to tell the world his dreams during career week at school, so he tells them to the moon at night.
I was inspired by my love for the moon and how its distance offered safety for me as a child growing up in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. That distance allowed me to dream bigger than I ever thought possible.
I was also inspired by children we’ve lost and those we’ve had taken from us. I wanted to give them a place where their dreams could live forever.
What is your favorite page of this book and why?
There’s a spread in the book where Nigel’s leaning out of his window and his arms are stretched towards the moon. Gracey Zhang did an amazing job with capturing the very essence of the book and Nigel’s relationship with the moon in that spread.
What do you hope your audience takes away from reading Nigel and the Moon?
Many things. First, I hope that Nigel and the Moon meets others where they are. Whatever their desires and dreams, the secret wants of their hearts, I hope this book gives them permission to move forward in pursuit of those dreams. I hope it unlocks something inside of readers. For young readers, I want them to protect their dreams forever and to take ownership of those dreams, however big or small.
Also, there’s this quote. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” So, for my adult readers, I hope it reignites something inside of them, something so many of us lose once we become adults.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
Living my dream. Even in my wildest imaginations, I didn’t know how it would ever feel to live out my dream. A part of that dream is connecting with readers. It’s being inspired by them as much as I hope I’m inspiring them.
What was your favorite picture book growing up?
My favorite picture book growing up was a personalized book my mom gave to me. Funny enough, it had something to do with the moon too. And I didn’t make that connection until recently. But I loved that book because it had my name and my siblings’ names in it too.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently preparing for my multi-city tour with JumpStart - an organization that celebrates literacy and aims to provide high-quality children’s books to so many. On October 27th, millions across the world will read the same book on the same day for JumpStart’s 17th annual Read for the Record event. And this year’s selection is Nigel and the Moon. It’s such an honor.
In the meantime, I have Micah’s Rise (illustrated by Ricardo Edwards) coming out next year. So I’ve been reviewing sketches and seeing Ricardo’s vision come to life, too.
As far as works in progress, I’m currently working on more picture books and another special project.
- Abby Gallagher with Antwan Eady