Davide Cali and writing picture books

Davide Cali, author
Davide Cali

Davide Cali is a children’s book writer and illustrator who was born in Northern Switzerland and grew up in Italy.

He has created more than forty illustrated books for publishers in Austria, France, Italy, Argentina and Portugal. His books have been translated for 25 countries.

Davide speaks French, Italian and English and he is currently on a blog tour before travelling to Australia to celebrate his new comic book/graphic novel, 10 Little Insects. (Kids Book Review has a sneak peek inside 10 Little Insects … check it out here. )

Today we are pleased to have Davide visiting Alphabet Soup‘s blog to discuss writing. We’re talking to him about his picture book, The Bear With the Sword.

The Bear with the Sword (cover)What brought you to write The Bear with the Sword?

At the beginning, the bear of the book was a man. Just a human warrior. The Italian publisher Zoolibri asked me to change it into an animal, to make it a little less tough.

In this book comes the theme of ‘the enemy’, but I wanted to talk about the fact that we always try to find someone else as guilty for our faults.

Did you meet the illustrator Gianluca Foli?

Yeah, a couple of times, but only when the book was already finished. You know, in this job often you don’t even know or meet the people you work with. I did four albums in France with Eric Heliot before we met and talked for the first time!

You write books for a range of ages. How do you know if a story would work best as a picture book or a novel?

Well, I read a lot of children’s books before I start my writing. As you probably know, I worked for a while in a public library which specialized in children books (during the civil service I did instead of military service). Later I spent a few months working for a magazine specialising in children’s book critics, so I really saw and read hundreds of books. These experiences helped me to fit something I got in my mind in a certain range of ages.

Could you give us your top tip for young writers who want to write picture books?

I guess the most important ones are: reading, writing.

I know it could sound a little obvious, but it’s not. Many people—even adults—who want to write, don’t read. I think reading is just like feeding yourself. And you know, writing is just like feeding others. So, how can you feed others if you don’t eat first?

And writing because: many people tell me “I really would like to write. What should I do?”

My answer is always: “Just do it!”

You have just to start it. Sometimes you don’t need to have a complete and perfect story already formed in mind to write it down. Stories come out just while you’re writing, and they often change while they’re coming out.

Check out the complete blog tour schedule (and reviews of Davide Cali’s books) on the Wilkins Farago blog.

© May 2012 “Interview with Davide Cali”  (Alphabet Soup magazine). Text by Rebecca Newman & Davide Cali.

2 thoughts on “Davide Cali and writing picture books”

  1. Davide’s last answer really struck a chord with me. Just do it. It illustrates simply and beautifully that as with life, you don’t have to have the final answer or big picture in mind to keep on striving forward to achieve it…to just keep striving forward is the important thing. Thanks AS and Davide for this interview. Dimity

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