Interview with Matthew Forsythe, MINA
Mina and her father live in a hollowed-out tree stump on the edge of a pond on the edge of a forest. Nothing ever bothers Mina, until one day, her father brings home a suspicious surprise from the woods. Should Mina trust her father—or listen to her own instincts?
By Matthew Forsythe
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 15, 2022)
Can you tell me the origin story behind Mina? MF: "Yes, I was working on an animated film called Robin Robin - about cats and mice and birds. When I finished working on the film, I was excited to write my own cat story. For me, Mina is about how sometimes children have to take care of their parents. The book also asks the question, who do we invite into our worlds? How do we decide who to let in and who to keep out?"
For those who love Mina, can you recommend one or two other titles you think they might also enjoy, and why?
"I was really inspired by the world of Japanese picture book artist Kazuo Iwamura. His work is huge in Japan and it’s surprising how hard to find it is over here in North America."
Mina delivers that rare picture book element: suspense. Are there other suspenseful picture books you love?
"Well, I’m flattered that you say that because I love suspense and my favourite genre of films are French thrillers. I love the early work of Ozon or Clouzot. In terms of all ages books, I think Roald Dahl always delivers the kind of humour and drama that I love."
If you have children, do you remember what you loved reading to your kids at age three? At age five?
"I don’t have kids. But if I did, I would probably try to read them Akiko Miyakoshi. There’s something so distilled and simple and quiet about her books that is rare to find in today’s noisy world."
What new picture books coming out in 2022 are you most looking forward to reading?
"I’m excited to see Dapo Adeola’s new book, Hey You!, which is a book about black joy. It’s finally being released in North America - after great success across the pond. Dapo is not only a close friend but he is one of those rare artists who is actually changing the way the industry works. Also: anything by Cátia Chien (The Longest Letsgoboy) or Kyo Maclear (The Big Bath House), both of whom, I have always followed closely."