PARIS: Within a program of events celebrating French publisher l’école des loisirs’ 50th birthday, the cherished children’s book author, Grégoire Solotareff, gave a talk on Monday about how to transform an idea for a book into reality. In the tradition of Maurice Sendak or Leo Lionni (both of whom are published in translation by l’école des loisirs), Solotareff’s 200+ books for children, which he has been writing and illustrating for 30 years, continue to dwell in a magical and quirky universe. For the past 20 years he has also been the editor of an imprint called Loulou & Cie for children ages 0-4 where he has overseen the production of 400 books. It was in his capacity as both author and editor that he gave the following talk, loosely translated and edited here:
In 1985 I started publishing my books. It was lots of work at the beginning. I wanted very quickly to be published by l’école des loisirs because of its reputation. I presented my books to [co-founder] Arthur Hubschmid, and since then there have been lots of books.
One shouldn’t create books just to make them. You need to be passionate about it. At first you are shy and afraid of rejection. You’re not always confident. But you do need to be convinced about your work, you need to like it and want to do it. This is the first quality you need when you present a book to a publisher and say “This is what I do and what do you think?”