Author Hanne Luyten already has two bestsellers to her name: ‘#nietaankindengezinverklappen’ and ‘Het huis met de gele deur’. Illustrator Didier Quoistiaux has worked as a painter and graphic artist for years. The Belgian brand Yumi Yay asked them to collaborate on this project and create children’s books. Hanne put on her story cap and Didier sharpened his pencil... And together they created something wonderful!
1. What did you think when Yumi Yay asked you to make these books together?
Didier: I was a little surprised. I really had to step outside my comfort zone. I had never made book illustrations, but in the end it was an informative and fun experience. I know how important children’s books are, also because I have children myself, Lucile and Amaury.
Hanne: I was also very surprised. This was such a fun project! Didier and I got the opportunity to create our own world. I wrote the rhymes and stories, and Didier drew the Yumi Yay universe. All the Yumi Yay animals were given bright colours and clear facial expressions.
2. What makes the Yumi Yay books unique, according to you?
Hanne: Well, the Yumi Yay stories were specifically written for a very young target audience: children in the age group 0 to 4 years. You can actually consider these books as read-aloud books, so the visual aspect was very important for us... Colours, shapes, recognisable elements... All that is very important for very young children, so I think the secret of the Yumi Yay read-aloud books is the combination of my texts written in rhyme and Didier’s beautiful illustrations.
Didier: Yes, I drew everything by hand and then my drawings were digitised. This creates a very special atmosphere, without losing focus on the animals.
Hanne: Indeed, the end result was spectacular. I am really happy with the way in which Didier brought the stories with Finn, Tika, Otti and Billy to life!
3. What are your favourite stories, and why?
Didier: I find Tika’s story very funny, because I like to make jokes myself, especially with my children (and vice versa, by the way). The story of that character probably most resembles me, although I’m also pretty good at racing, like Finn!
Hanne: I loved all four stories! But if I have to choose one... I’m going for the book about Otti, the elephant. He really, really wants to be brave – but he is afraid of everything. In this story, I wanted to tell children that it is okay to be afraid once in a while. I hope that Otti was able to reassure children who are insecure! I hope that lots of people are going to read the Yumi Yay books to their children, and that our stories are going to be part of a ritual that both parents and children love and cherish.
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