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April Picture Book Therapy Feature: Nadia Ali

Updated: May 11, 2023

This month I have the pleasure of featuring a newly released picture book HUMPHREY THE EGG-SPLORER by Nadia Ali (YeeHoo Press, 2023).

Nadia Ali is a children’s author who writes fiction and nonfiction picture books. Her stories range from funny to fanciful to factual. She is a member of Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 community and was honored to be a Grand Prize Winner in the #SunFunWrite Contest, a #DVPit Critique Winner and a 2021 Picture Book Party Finalist. Humphrey the Egg-splorer with illustrator Valenti Gubianas is her latest picture book.

Humphrey the Egg-Splorer is a "rollicking story that expands the famous tale of a fragile egg to a new story about bravery, creativity, and forging your own path. Eggs are fragile and bought specifically to be cracked. . . but what if they don't want to be cracked and have their own ambitions and goals for life like becoming a great egg-splorer?"

Nadia, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on the blog! Let's jump right in.

Humphrey takes a classic tale and then runs with it in a totally new way. Tell us about what inspired you with "Humphrey the Egg-splorer"!

Humphrey was inspired by reading a picture book story by Dan Santat called ‘After the Fall: How Humpty Got Back Up Again'. It sparked my imagination and I wanted to bring back the character of Humpty Dumpty to today’s generation. I thought and thought and came up with the idea of Humphrey – his grandson who wants to continue in Grandpa Humpty’s footsteps and become an egg-splorer but won’t easily crack!

What was the process like from inspiration to publication?

From the initial idea to publication, it took about a year and a half. I was un-agented when I started submitting Humphrey to publishers. It took roughly 3 months before I got a yes and then a further 3 months before a contract was signed and fortunately by then, I was represented by my agent Joyce Sweeney.

Do you have a scene in the book that was your favorite to write or see illustrated?

I am particularly fond of the double-paged spread where Humphrey is relaxing in what he thinks is a bathtub. The illustrator Valenti Gubianas did a wonderful job showing the changing facial expression of Humphrey as the water begins to boil and bubble.

What do you hope readers take away from Humphrey?

I hope that readers get the sense of not having to follow everyone else or give into peer pressure. If you have a good goal then create your own path. Be strong. Be positive. Let your adventure begin.

How can parents, teachers, or counselors use your book to engage in deeper conversations with kids?

I believe Humphrey provides many themes that parents, teachers and counsellors can discuss at a deeper level. These include bravery when Humphrey stands up to his dozen not wanting to be just another ingredient. Humphrey shows creativity in choosing different ways to become stronger. He sets a goal and is determined to become an egg-splorer. I believe, these are great points for discussion which will encourage thinking skills in a challenging world.

Do you have any advice for authors who want to write about tough topics?

When I began writing Humphrey the Egg-splorer it did not start out to be about tackling a tough topic, it is something that evolved through the revision process. That said, writing about tough topics is tough, you need to research or if possible, add your lived experience to the story. And most of all, read, read, read.

Where can we find you to keep up with your work?

Fortunately, I am NadiaAwriter across all of my social platforms. Feel free to connect!

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