The Children’s Book Review | August 20, 2019
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Everything is Connected?
Jason Gruhl: Curious, Fun, Honest, Respectful, Big
Can you share one highlight from the book?
The book takes kids on a journey from the most familiar and immediate things they are connected to out to more abstract connections, and one of my favorite pages in the book says, “You’re connected to happy, connected to sad, the past and the future, to thoughts you have had! To Pharoahs, Ben Franklin, T.Rex, Ancient Greece, to love and to poverty, hunger and peace…” It captures, for me, the intimacy we get to bring to any area of our life – whether it’s a memory or a person, or a concept that feels much bigger than us, we can engage with it in some way because we are connected.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
There’s something magical about seeing a child have this “A-ha” moment when they realize that their world is truly bigger than their neighborhood, school, backyard, etc. It’s something you can’t un-learn once you’ve realized it, and it’s a pretty important moment in someone’s life. This book has been that for a number of children and to see that is a huge honor.
Why do you think books like Everything is Connected are an important part of a child’s home library?
Having been in education for many years, I know that home life for some families is just surviving. We can give parents steps and tools, but the reality is that these big questions and conversations can get lost in the day-to-day of managing a home. This book helps create a conversation about some of these bigger issues that impact across a lifetime.
I also think in today’s world, we’re striving to find meaning anywhere we can. We can often feel anxious, isolated, and alone. But in both a spiritual and a scientific sense we are truly connected to all things and all people. And I find that deeply reassuring – that there’s a little bit of “us” in everything, and that we are truly never alone.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
I’m a kid at heart so naturally I’m attracted to anything sweet, but especially root beer barrels and Werther’s toffees. I drink English Breakfast Tea like an adult almost every day, but it’s always accompanied by a cookie.
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
For me, writing always requires scribbling, and random thoughts, and the words are intimately tied to the visuals, so I always begin the process with pen and paper. Then, when I think I have something close to a rough draft, I move it over to computer to edit and re-write. I think something literally different shows up when you hand-write a children’s book. It feels both sacred, like a poem, and messy, like a good coloring book.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Basically, my nightstand is MADE of books: adult spirituality, Buddhism, tons of picture books, and my guilty pleasure – cookbooks. But if you want my current reads:
- The Secret Life of Words, by Henry Hitchings
- Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
- The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse, by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
The two picture books are re-reads (favorites on my short list), and I read them regularly. I want stories that move me, or make me laugh, or help me see the world differently. These hit the mark.
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
I’m a vegetarian and an animal lover. I think that all beings deserve a voice in this world and to be free. My next book, Our Animal Neighbors, co-written with Matthieu Ricard and illustrated by Becca Hall, comes out next Fall through Bala Kids.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
It’s all made up – the rules, the limitations, our identities, etc. – and we each have a unique contribution to make. I hope that my work encourages kids to be who they truly are, to speak up and to loudly and unapologetically proclaim what there is for them to proclaim. We need their voices more than ever.
Written by Jason Gruhl
Illustrated by Ignasi Font
Publisher’s Synopsis: This is a magical story about the powerful idea that we are connected to absolutely everything in the universe.
Everything is connected.
And since you are part of everything,
you are connected to everything …
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Bala Kids | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1611806311
Buy the Book
About the Author
JASON GRUHL believes that all kids are smart, brave, kind, and creative, and he writes books to help them remember that. Jason holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and has helped countless adults, adolescents, children, and families. He is also an educational consultant and nonprofit leader with twenty years experience working with individuals and families challenged and enriched by Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities. In 2005, he founded The Joshua School, a first of its kind school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities in Colorado.
Connect with Jason by visiting jasongruhl.com.
This speed interview with Jason Gruhl, author of Everything is Connected, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Inspirational Books, Picture Book, and Spirituality. Be sure to follow along with out Speed Interview series, too.