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  • Ratha Tep

Interview with Daniel Miyares, HOPE AT SEA

Hope doesn’t only want to listen to her father’s stories about his voyages at sea, she wants to be part of those stories. And so, unbeknownst to her parents, she stows away on her father's 19th-century merchant vessel. But look... The wind has picked up and the sky is darkening...


By Daniel Miyares

Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books (November 9, 2021)

Can you tell me the origin story behind Hope at Sea

DM: "Hope at Sea really began with a conversation I was having with my daughter one day after school. She was unpacking all the things that she was worried about and I had this overwhelming feeling that I could never protect her from all the things life is going to throw her way. Later on I came to the conclusion that maybe the best I could do is to help encourage a sense of resilience for when the storms come and a hope that there will be clear skies just beyond. This became the heart of the story for me."

As the mom of two girls, I really love that you have a strong girl character. Are there other picture books you admire for their strong girl characters? "A couple that I’ve really loved recently for their strong girl characters are The Old Truck by Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey and The Grandmaster’s Daughter by Dan-ah Kim. I’m always trying to find ways to encourage my daughter. She’s a teenager now. She’s so incredibly talented, smart, dedicated, and empathetic. I just hope she can see half of what I see in her each day."

I appreciate the father-daughter dynamic. What are some other picture books you love for how they explore the father-daughter relationship? "Here I would say My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr."

What was your favorite picture book as a child? "As a child I had a few favorites. The first book I ever learned to 'read' was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Jan and Stan Berenstain. I remember reciting it to my mom before I could actual read on my own. I loved Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff, the Little Bear books (A Kiss For Little Bear in particular) by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak, Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, and A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Do you have a favorite bookshop, and why do you love it? In Kansas City we had a bookshop called the Reading Reptile. It was truly a magical place to visit with the kids or have author events at. The shelves were always lined with the most delightful books. They facilitated classes and workshops. Just a gift of a store in the community. It closed up years ago.

I mention it here because the previous owners of the Reading Reptile have started a new magical book place for the Kansas City area and the entire world really. It is called The Rabbit Hole and you can read about it here."

What new picture books do you most look forward to reading in 2022? "I have just a few on my list right now, but I’m sure it will grow. I have A LOT of 2021 books to still get caught up on that I haven’t gotten to check out. David Soman’s The Impossible Mountain is one that just came out that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

For next year I’ve got Courage Hats by Kate Hoefler and Jessixa Bagley, Crocodile Hungry by Eija Sumner and John Martz, and Mina by Matthew Forsythe on my list to read."


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