Sponsored* by Two Lions
The Children’s Book Review | June 28, 1018
I’ve always been fascinated by stories of children raised by wild animals, like Mowgli, Tarzan and Princess Mononoke, and wanted to write my own.
I also wanted to write a story about the idea of home and feeling like a fish out of water. Moving to a new town or country, the first day at school, making new friends: we all go through these kinds of situations at some point in our lives. After having lived overseas for many years, I found myself questioning where home actually was. A Home for Leo is very much based on my own life experience.
But which animal could possibly be the protagonist in this story?
When I heard about the sea lion population crisis in California in 2013, I thought: that’s it! So I came up with Sea Leo—this was the original working title, a wordplay with “sea lion.” I must add that sea lions are one of my favorite animals and that I dreamed about having one as a pet when I was a kid. I was raised in Rio de Janeiro, by the ocean, and the idea of having a sea lion buddy playing in the waves with me was a lifelong dream. Actually, as a grown-up who surfs, I still wish that I had a sea lion buddy!
I’m glad that my editor agreed on using a relatively unusual narrative: the story begins almost textless, and gradually unfolds with more text. The idea was letting readers feel Leo’s initial struggles through the visuals, instead of “guiding” readers with text. Sometimes images DO say a lot more than words and leave readers with more freedom for personal interpretation. Maybe this is why picture books are called this way?
A funny fact about this story: the minute I made a donation to Pacific Marine Mammal Center and The Marine Mammal Center, I got a call from my agent, saying that Two Lions was interested in A Home for Leo. I simply couldn’t believe the coincidence!
All final artwork was created digitally with Photoshop. Initial sketches were made with pencil on paper.
I hope you’ll enjoy—and relate to—this story.
Written and Illustrated by Vin Vogel
Publisher’s Synopsis: Leo grew up in the sea. He has a family of sea lions he loves. He’s happy, but he has always known he was different. Then Leo’s suddenly reunited with his human parents, and he finds he loves them too. But he still feels like a fish out of water. Being from two worlds and having two families isn’t so easy. Leo has a lot to figure out…
Splashed with humor and grounded in heart, this brightly illustrated story explores ideas of family, home, and belonging in a way that’s as relatable as it is unique.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Two Lions | July 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1503902602
About the Author-Illustrator
Vin Vogel is the author-illustrator of The Thing About Yetis and Bedtime for Yeti and the illustrator of Bob and Joss Get Lost! and Bob and Joss Take a Hike! by Peter McCleery, Music Class Today by David Weinstone, and Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt, which won a Christopher Award. Vin grew up near the ocean and always wanted a sea lion as a pet. He also wanted to write a story about the idea of home and the feeling of being a fish out of water. When he heard about the sea lion population crisis in California, Vin knew this was the story he needed to write. After having lived for a time in New York City, Vin’s back in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he can be found with his two cats and his single-fin surfboards. Learn more about Vin at www.vinvogel.com. Instagram: @vinvogel
Enter to win a copy of A Home for Leo, by Vin Vogel!
Five (5) winners receive:
- A copy of A Home for Leo
Giveaway begins June 28, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends July 28, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
How To Enter
- Complete the entry form below.
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- Open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
- Winners will be selected at random on or about August 1, 2018.
- Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
- The Children’s Book Review is not responsible for prize fulfillment.
Prizes Courtesy of Two Lions
The article Vin Vogel Talks About His New Picture Book ‘A Home for Leo’ was written by Vin Vogel, author-illustrator of A Home for Leo, and sponsored* by Two Lions. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Family, Picture Book, Sea Lions, and Vin Vogel.