When you were a child, what did you dream that you would grow up to become? Was it an astronaut or an artist? Perhaps you were an outside the box sort of dreamer, like my husband, whose first aspiration was to become a pumpkin. When I was a child, the two things that I cherished most were my loving mother and the richly illustrated pages of my many treasured books. So each time I was asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my unequivocal answer was, “a great mother and a children’s book illustrator.”
Just before Thanksgiving of 2015, I discovered that my lifelong dream of motherhood would be realized in less than nine-months. With a baby boy growing bigger each day in my belly, I was reminded of another dream from so many years before, to become a children’s book illustrator. In my newfound condition, I felt inspired to create something wholly original, a unique gift to welcome my son into this world.
I set out to create a story that would fully engage young readers, encourage early language and reading development, and promote a strong positive moral lesson. And, of course, the illustrations needed to be colorful, imaginative and full of fun. This is how the concept for the Everchanging Story Book was originated – a decision-driven book series for young children.
The first book of the series, titled The Greatest Wish, involves a boy who dreams of becoming something other than himself, something truly incredible like a rocket ship or a rainbow, but ultimately realizes that being happy with himself is the most amazing thing of all.
I was determined to finish The Greatest Wish before my son was due to arrive on August 1st, and breathed a heavy sigh of relief when I completed the final illustration with a month to spare. In a serendipitous stroke of luck, my mother, a published author, had recently made a new acquaintance at a book conference she had attended in Washington state. Following her advice, I immediately contacted Naren Aryal, the CEO of Mascot Books, and sent him a preliminary copy of my completed book. Within a week, I was thrilled to learn that The Greatest Wish would be published before the year was out.
My son, Morgan, made his appearance on July 25th and is undoubtedly the greatest joy of my life. He enjoys looking at the many colorful illustrations of the books I read to him, and I sometimes wonder what he will dream of becoming when he’s older. Will he imagine himself as a writer or a veterinarian? Or perhaps he’ll aspire to become a happy pumpkin, just like his father.
Amanda Yoshida first dreamt of being a children's book illustrator when she was a mere toddler, growing up in the suburbs surrounding Portland, Oregon. As a child, she spent countless hours drawing and studying the artwork inside her stacks of colorfully illustrated books. She favored the rhyming words and silly drawings of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, and claimed one day she would be an artist. Eventually, the pens and pencils that were always in her hand became paint brushes in her exploration of creativity. At the age of fourteen, her original artwork was displayed and sold at her family's art gallery in Portland's Pearl District and lead to substantial private commissions. After graduating from the elite Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Los Angeles in 2009, she fell in love with the digital canvas and began working solely in this media.
Amanda returned to her beloved hometown of Portland in 2013 and began working as a freelance graphic designer and digital painter. While in the midst of growing her successful business and putting down roots with her husband, the dream of becoming a mother and published author was realized. Two months before the birth of her first child, she received word that her first children's book would be published. Amanda is now looking forward to reading her debut book, "The Greatest Wish", to her new son, after it's official release by Mascot Books in October 2016. She plans on writing and illustrating many more books in the future.