The idea for Mama’s Day with Little Gray began with a bedtime conversation I had with my oldest daughter. When she was quite young, she liked to end the day by talking about our plans for the day to come. Then she knew what to look forward to!
One night, she said, “When I grow up and you grow down . . . .” She went on to describe some activities that she thought would be fun for us to share.
Zing! That idea flew straight to my imagination. What if adults grew down? I thought. Wouldn’t it be fun to imagine a grown-up and a child trading places for a day? That idea became the beginning of a book.
One morning, while I was at a writers conference, I woke up and wrote down a conversation between a mother and her son. I liked the story so far, but I didn’t yet know what kind of animals the characters were.
I decided to take a break and go for a swim in the pool, which is one of my favorite things to do. As I felt the water flowing through my fingers, I suddenly knew: the mama and child in my story were elephants!
I had seen an elephant family swimming together once. They had great fun calling to one another and splashing into the water.
I especially remember seeing one mother dunking her baby and helping it get clean. It was special to see the connection between this mama and her child. Somehow, being in the pool reminded me of them.
I think the pictures of Little Gray and his mama splashing in the river are some of my favorites.