My Writing and Reading Life Interview with Olivia Weisser and Christopher Willard, Creators of The In-Between Book | Sponsored by Sounds True
The Children’s Book Review
I write because…
Olivia Weisser: I like to tell stories and share ideas.
Christopher Willard: I love words. I love ideas. I love the magic that an idea in my mind can create a story in your mind.
I read because…
Olivia Weisser: I like to read stories and learn new ideas.
Christopher Willard: I love to learn about people and places through reading, and there is nothing better than a book that you can’t put down, or want to read again and again.
I wrote this book because …
Olivia Weisser: We wanted to invite children to explore the world in new and surprising ways – by finding the in-between spaces around them.
Christopher Willard: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “ma,” or spaces in between things. Once I learned about “ma,” it completely shifted my understanding of how I perceive the world around me, and even the world inside of me!
My special place to write is …
Olivia Weisser: I like to write ideas for children’s books on walks with Chris. I am also a history professor and in that role I write very different kinds of books. When writing history books, my special places to write are libraries with quiet rooms, high ceilings, and lots of natural light.
Christopher Willard: I love to write in coffee shops. I know that sounds crazy, but I love the quiet buzz of activity in the background, and the energy of all the other creative folks talking, working, and creating around me.
Necessary writing/creativity tool…
Olivia Weisser: An open mind!
Christopher Willard: Meditation and mindful noticing. After we came up with the manuscript, we went to the art museum for more inspiration about noticing spaces in between in famous artwork and places.
Currently reading …
Olivia Weisser: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (for fun), Henry and Mudge (with my son, who is learning to read), and Gender, Health, and Healing 1250-1550 edited by Sara Richey and Sharon Strocchia (for work).
Christopher Willard: I’m reading a little bit of Atlas Obscura every night before bed. I’m a big travel fan, also where I get ideas. With the pandemic happening now, that’s the best I can get.
Favorite bookshop …
Christopher Willard: El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, Argentina! It’s an old theater that has been converted into a huge bookstore, and there is a café on the stage! When I found my book there a few years ago in Spanish, I was ecstatic and took a selfie.
All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t write …
Olivia Weisser: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Christopher Willard: My favorite classic kid’s books are the Frog and Toad series, which wonderfully captures friendship in both childhood and adulthood. And, they always make me laugh.
My favorite children’s illustrator is …
Olivia Weisser: Marianne Dubac. I could look at her pictures all day!
Christopher Willard: Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi—such simple and gorgeous illustrations, and so perfectly captures the way the vastness of our imagination is inspired by the vastness of the ocean and other aspects of nature that inspire awe.
A literary character I would like to vacation with …
Olivia Weisser: Pete the Cat.
Christopher Willard: Grasshopper, from Grasshopper on the Road.
When I am not reading or writing I am…
Olivia Weisser: Outside with my family.
Christopher Willard: Thinking about reading or writing!
About the Book
The In-Between Book
Written by Christopher Willard and Olivia Weisser
Illustrated by Alison Oliver
Ages 4-8 | 34 Pages
Publisher: Sounds True | ISBN-13: 9781683647331
Publisher’s Synopsis: An interactive book for children to discover mindfulness and feel more connected to the world around us.
In The In-Between Book, authors Christopher Willard and Olivia Weisser invite children to mindfully interact with the book and with the world around them. Kids will trace the shapes between images on the page, feel the stillness between heartbeats, and focus on the space between breathing in and breathing out. As they slow down to connect with the spaces between things, they will learn powerful lessons about mindfulness, curiosity, and experiencing the world around them more fully.
With its conversational style and playful prompts, The In-Between Book is a creative and thoughtful approach to teaching mindfulness to children, parents, and caregivers. It’s a great read one-on-one or perfect for a classroom or storytime.
Buy the Book
About the Authors
Olivia Weisser is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University. Her first book, Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England, was published in 2015 by Yale University Press.
Christopher Willard, PSYD, is a clinical psychologist and consultant specializing in bringing mindfulness into education and psychotherapy. The author of Child’s Mind (Parallax, 2010) and other books on the topic, Dr. Willard lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard Medical School and Lesley University.
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Discover more books like The In-Between Book, written by Olivia Weisser and Christopher Willard, PSYD, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Mindfulness, and Picture Book; plus, be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.
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