The Bear and The Star

Some writers enjoy working in the same genre, even the same kind of story or structure. I admire these people and how they can remain so focused and disciplined. For me, my heart has taken me in many different directions. I’ve written books on the natural world from sea turtles to the formation of an island to the life cycle of a sunflower. I’ve enjoyed creating emergent books for the youngest reader, board books, and informational books on topics as varied as compost to The World War II Memorial. I’ve written silly stories and serious stories, but I’ve never written a holiday book like The Bear and The Star.

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I’m not sure that I would have ever explored that idea had it not been for an editor asking me to be open to a story about the Christmas holiday. I read and reread some of the classic picture books that families return to each year. I made lists of all the holiday-themed treasures a family might have in their home. I spent 3-4 months mulling over a variety of ideas and none really seemed to be it.

And then one day, a line popped into my mind – the final line of this book. From that line eventually came the entire story. It offered a theme that was deeply meaningful for me, but I also felt it would hold universal appeal. The more I wrote and revised, the happier I became. This was a story and its time to be told was now.

I’m thrilled that Bethanne Andersen accepted the manuscript. Her art adds another layer of community and celebration beyond what I had imagined. And her bear. Check out its fur and tell me what you see. If you have an opportunity to read the book, let me know if it came at just the right time for you.

Lola Schaefer