Publishers’ Preview: Diverse Voices Redux: Five Questions for April Harrison

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diverse Voices Redux, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored byRandom House

Fine artist April Harrison illustrates her first picture book, What Is Given from the Heart, written by the much-missed Patricia C. McKissack.

Photo: Josh Norris,

1. Your first picture book! How was the experience most different from creating fine art?

The biggest difference was that, in addition to listening to my own voice (as I do in my fine art), I also needed to listen to the voices of others and understand the unique form of teamwork involved.

2. Did you get to meet Pat McKissack? She was a wonderful person.

No, unfortunately I did not have that good fortune, but I feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to illustrate her last picture book.

3. The church in the book exemplifies generosity. What did church mean to you as a child?

Church always began the night before. Mama would straighten our hair, lay out our clothes, and cook the Sunday meal. Sunday was Family Time, our time to learn about God, sing in the choir, and usher. After church, our family (including my grandparents, and sometimes the preacher) would meet and have Sunday dinner.

4. A librarian question: how do you organize your paper and art supplies?

Organization! What’s that? I like to think of my art studio as a smorgasbord of clutter just waiting for creative discovery.

5. What has been your favorite unexpected gift?

The hearts that are being touched and the love shown to me by the children and adults who have read What Is Given from the Heart. I’m so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this amazing blessing.

Sponsored byRandom House

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