What a bright, colourful, affirming book full of loving life, and loving yourself! The rhyme written by Maggie Hutchings sings the perfect note for addressing acceptance of differences and being proud of your identity. Voicing it loud, ‘This is really ME!‘, whether you’re a butterfly or a bee, a princess or a king, readers will join in the chorus of understanding and embracing their own and others’ true hearts and sharing that with the universe. Spectacularly brought to life with the exuberant, diverse, textured, patterned, loud and proud illustrations by Hayley Wells, Be True to You! is a validating and encouraging picture book that challenges stereotypes and empowers young ones to express who they really are.

Thanks for sharing your gorgeous story with us, Maggie! 🙂

About the Author

Maggie Hutchings is a counsellor, family-dispute mediator, writer and artist who spends her weekends covered in paint and scribbling lists that are never completed. She is a famously mad aunt, nanna and mother who talks to herself out loud and falls over a lot in the garden at her house in northern New South Wales.

Maggie writes stories with heart and soul for children and adults that encourage kindness, hope and resilience.

Maggie Hutchings can be found on Instagram.

About the Illustrator

Image: Hayley Wells

Hayley Wells is an Essex-based illustrator with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art. Their first illustrated picture book, The Spectacular Suit, was published by Scribble in 2021 and their author-illustrator debut, The More Monster, was published by Pavilion in 2022.

When they’re not illustrating, Hayley can be found growing vegetables at their allotment or falling over on roller skates.

Hayley Wells can be found at their website: Hayley Wells Illustration and on Instagram.

Be True to You! can be purchased via the Affirm Press website.

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

Be True to You! is written by Maggie Hutchings, and illustrated by Hayley Wells. Affirm Press are our publishers in Australia.

WHAT is it about?

Our book is about being fully yourself, and at the same time, accepting others who are expressing their true selves.

What is your favourite part of this book?

I love the shift from being joyful about your own journey to remembering to encourage others to do the same. I especially like the idea of singing a little louder if you meet with resistance!

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

I tried writing this book a few years ago in prose but it didn’t feel quite right. But in 2022 I got back into writing poetry and suddenly this story came back to mind. In the end, I wrote it very quickly but it took a few years to get the format right!

When is its release / launch date?

The book was released on May 28th, 2024.

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

I was a counsellor for twenty years and often dealt with kids and young people struggling with aspects of their identity. It’s so important that we accept and feel safe to express who we are. But equally important that we act with kindness and embrace the points of difference in others too.

WHY is this book meaningful to you? Why would its message resonate with readers?

As I wrote this book I did think about those kids and their struggles. It inspired the idea of each of us singing a unique song from the heart and what joy it was to hear and affirm those songs throughout my career.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I love the way Hayley interpreted the text. The book is really a joyful song, and both the cover and illustrations show this upbeat mood in a wonderful bright palette.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

You can find our book in all major stores, indie book shops and online. You’ll find some great people supporting our book on their Instagram pages once it’s released too.

Thanks so much, Maggie, for sharing your truly affirming and joyous picture book! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #betruetoyou #gender #selfacceptance #identity #picturebooks #justkidslit

Thanks to Affirm Press for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: