Once Upon an Alphabet: Oliver Jeffers's 2015 BGHB PB Honor Speech

Once Upon an AlphabetIt was with surprise and gratitude that I heard about receiving a Boston Globe–Horn Book honor award. This book was a risk, in that it’s an alphabet book which is a bit over the heads of the people who are most likely to be reading an alphabet book. Instead it’s a book that’s just about the joy of using language and wordplay, with some of the randomness of the workings of my brain thrown in. (It’s also a book for those too embarrassed and too far gone to admit they never learned their ABCs…I know who you are!)

It was a risk to publish a 112-page picture book that was mostly black and white, effectively a collection of short stories that are convoluted and weird…but a risk that was worth it. It is a book I am deeply proud of. Thank you to the judges and to all of the people who were prepared to go down this strange road with me. Without you, we may never have had an Owl and Octopus Problem Solving Agency, a parsnip with identity issues, or the invention of a jelly door—and I for one believe the world is a better place with them in it. Somewhat…

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2015 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB15.
Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers is the winner of a 2015 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor award for Once Upon an Alphabet (Philomel).

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