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Author/ Illustrator Interview with Tiffany Stone and Holly Hatam creators of "Tree Song"

By Shayanna Seymour Date: April 30, 2018

The world keeps turning all around us, and sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate it. Tree Song by Tiffany Stone and illustrated by Holly Hatam helps us to remember. It guides us through the life cycle of a tree and reminds us that nature deserves to be appreciated for all it does. Annick sits down with this author/illustrator team and they talk a bit about how they were inspired to write this book, what their creative process is like and also how we can continue to contribute to a better earth.

TS: My name is Tiffany Stone and I wrote the picture book Tree Song that came out on April 10th. Tree Song tells the life story of a tree and all the things that happen on, under and around it in the forest.

ANNICK TO TS: What inspired you to write a book about nature and the life cycle of a tree?

TS: This is my backyard and it’s what inspired me to write about nature and the life cycle of a tree.

ANNICK TO HH: Which was your favourite season, and which season was your favourite to illustrate?

HH: My favourite season is summer. Especially since I live in Canada and we have very long, very cold winters. And what feels like I’m wearing a million layers for the millionth month, by April and May I’m ready to peel those layers off and just got frolicking in the sun. Oddly enough, my favourite season to illustrate in Tree Song was winter. Just because it was so magical. I was able to add sparkly elements for the snow, and beautiful transparent icicles falling from the trees. There’s something so fantastical about snowflakes in the air, and the wind through your hair. I guess I love to draw winter, but I don’t really love it in the real sense.

ANNICK TO TS: Why did you decide to write Tree Song in rhyme and song?

TS: I wrote Tree Song in rhyme and song because to me Trees are too full of life and too majestic to simply just talk. I thought that they deserve a musical language.

ANNICK TO HH: What medium is your favourite to use in your art?

HH: My favourite art medium is the computer. That’s how I create all my art work. I used to work traditionally using water colour and ink. But, as I became a book illustrator it was just easier to use the computer. I can work faster and it’s just easier for revisions and things like that. But with the computer there are so many options. You can make the art work look like it was traditionally done, which I try to do, and a lot of people ask me what medium I use because they can’t tell. So, I guess I’m doing a good job there.

ANNICK TO TS: How do you think this book will impact young readers?

TS: I hope Tree Song inspires young readers to explore nature and learn more about how living things are connected.

ANNICK TO HH: What are you working on next?

HH: Right now, I’m working on four books that I wrote myself, which is really exciting because they are my first four books as a author and illustrator. They will each be about a different magical creature and the first one will be about unicorns. That’s all I can say but look out for those in June 2019.

ANNICK TO BOTH: Earth Week just passed, do you have any tips on how to contribute towards a cleaner, greener, earth?

TS: When I was writing Tree Song I imagined what it was like to be a tree. Can you pretend to be a tree? How would you like to be treated? Encourage your friends and family to treat real trees this way.

HH: I only use green cleaning products. So, no products with chemicals in them. That’s my detergent, my soap, my dishwash—everything is green. I also don’t use anything plastic. No plastic bottles, no plastic bags, no plastic Tupperware. Everything is reusable.

Tree Song is available in stores now!