Key to the story I have been working on is child agency, or the empowerment of a kid to have a voice and control of what they do. In the picture story book, I have done my best to conceal this underlying core with humor and fun. I did not want to come off as overly moralizing. Yet, that theme of child agency is certainly present and extremely important. This element of the story, in fact, is the reason why I chose it over another possibility I was contemplating. For me it is so important for kids to feel a sense of ownership. I was teaching a class on storytelling two weeks ago for 4th through 8th graders. While I searched for ways to be helpful and give guidance, I emphasized that during the week they should create something that was theirs . . . their creation . . . their story . . . their mark(s). I merely wanted to, as Peter H. Reynolds would say, "ripple the inspiration." I felt like I was able to achieve this during the storytelling class and I have high hopes for my book, Speak Honey.
Also, a look at a couple parts of a dummy book I recently made for the story: