It’s Ok To Be Different

R.G. de Rouen Author Interview

Books for Benjamin follows a little purple worm who loves to read and goes on an exciting adventure to learn about libraries and books. What was the inspiration for the adventure Benjamin goes on?

The idea for Books For Benjamin came about while visiting the Library of Congress. I thought it would be great to gave a character that loves books so much that he or she has to go on a quest to find them. I thought the LOC as a housing for the world’s greatest depository of item (not only books) would be an ideal setting. On the visit, I learned about Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to the library and his famous quote,”I cannot live without books.” This inspired me to create Benjamin, a bookworm (only the name stems from Benjamin Franklin, another who cherished learning and reading). Benjamin and books go well together. I also like the alliteration in Books and Benjamin and used that in the title.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Uliana Barabash?

Working with Uliana was such a great experience that started under difficult circumstances.  She is from Ukraine and the war had just broken out as we started the project.  With all going around her I was amazed and the beautiful illustrations she produced.  My wife and I loved her colors from the start and how she captured the expressions I was looking for. I like to sketch and paint as well but have tremendous repect for how picture book illustrators who have studied the art like Uliana has can put together a scene.  First, she created a digital story map of the entire book and I felt priviledged to be included in any changes.  Next, she created each detailed skecth before painting the color digitally. One great surprise, was that Uliana took it upon heself to paint the worm in purple.  I don’t know why, but I always pictured him in true to life colors which my wife hated.  Once I saw the result, I was blown away.  Uliana has made my character become approachable for kids.  I cannot thank her enough!

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

I wanted to instill in kids that it’s ok to be different and that following one’s passions is a great thing, even when there may be some road blocks along the way.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

A picture book biography called, Mother To Elephants, about a lady who rescued orphan elephants. Sadly, she passed away around three years back, but her daughters and grandchildren are continuing her mission. I am hoping it can come out around Spring of 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

2022 Literary Titan Gold Award Winner
Benjamin would rather read about adventures in a giant peach than eat one!
Unlike his family members who are happily munching away on scraps, Benjamin is a different kind of worm. He loves to read. Yet, all he finds are old newspapers and magazines full of tomato splotches. Not one to give up on his dreams, Benjamin sets off on a quest to find “real” books.
Witty illustrations by Uliana Barabash are a great accompaniment to this delightful story written by R.G. de Rouen.
Join Benjamin on his book hunting adventure and watch your little ones search for Benjamin’s famous signature in their books!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 18, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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