One Day, the End: Illustrator Fred Koehler’s 2016 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

One Day, The EndOne Day, the End is an out-of-the-box collaboration with the fantastic team at Boyds Mills Press and the brilliant Rebecca Kai Dotlich. As the illustrator, I was able to base the book’s narrator, both in personality and physical design, on my daughter. She and the character from the book are both smart, clever, independent, and have lots of heart.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to use this moment to make my remarks directly to the girl from the book.

Hey there, kid. Look how far we’ve come! I can’t promise we’ll get this sort of privilege again, but you are the reason I’m standing up here. Thank you.

One Day, I hope you get to have many more adventures. Travel light. Pack smart. Don’t forget your toothbrush or to say your prayers.

As you go adventuring through life, it’s okay if you make messes along the way. It’s all right if you make mistakes. But you’ll get along a lot better if you remember to say sorry and clean up after yourself.

I hope you’ll study hard and learn all you can. And whether you want to be a veterinarian or a detective or even a writer One Day, give it everything you’ve got. Learn more and work harder than the people around you. Hard work, not talent, will make you successful.

One Day, you’re going to learn that this world is neither safe nor fair. But that doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of it. Trust in God. Keep your eyes and ears open, and stick close to people who love you enough to tell you when you wander off the right path.

You’re going to meet other people who are lost or have fallen down on their adventures. Help them up. Point them in the right direction.

And finally, One Day, you’re going to be all grown up and you’re not going to want this old man’s advice anymore. But I hope you’ll always remember This Day, how proud I am of you, and how honored I am to be a part of your story.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read One Day, the End author Rebecca Kai Dotlich's speech here. For more on the 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB16.
Fred Koehler
Fred Koehler
Fred Koehler is the winner of a 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Illustrator Honor Award for One Day, The End (Boyds Mills).

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