You know you’ve found an amazing picture book when it makes you truly think and reflect on the world around you. Author Kobi Yamada’s first book in the series, What Do You Do With an Idea? spoke to the reader metaphorically, encouraging those ideas we might not think good enough to be set free into the world of possible. We were further impressed with the second title, What Do You Do With a Problem. It proved to be an inspirational read aloud, providing a bright outlook on how to approach problems, and the meaningful experiences that might unfold. So when we were contacted by Compendium to review the third and final book, What Do You Do With a Chance, we couldn’t wait to read it.
The book follows the same character, who this time is presented with a chance. We’ve all been there, internally debating if we should take a chance we are presented with, the dialogue going through our heads of the endless possibilities and outcomes that lie within this one decision. The reader is able to relate to the character’s thoughts of all eyes looking at him and the seeming pressure from those around us when we step outside of our comfort zone. And sometimes those pressures become too much, and opportunities get pushed aside. It’s only when we courageously dig down deep that the chance of something wonderful can truly exist. We can all relate to this theory of thought, and What Do You Do With a Chance? will inspire those young and old to always seize the opportunities given to us…they might just change our lives.
We had the chance to interview Kobi Yamada about himself and his books.
Three Questions About What Do You Do With a Chance?
What was your inspiration for your What Do You Do… series?
It all started with an idea. I think in many ways, I didn’t write What Do You Do With An Idea? as much as the story chose me. I’ve always felt deeply honored that the inspiration for the book woke me up one morning and wanted me to share it with the world.
Tell us about your collaboration with Mae Besom. The pictures fit so perfectly with your words. Did you have a lot of input on the illustrations?
When I was writing the book, in my mind, I always pictured Mae illustrating it. I had descriptions and notes for each page, but then when I reached out to her agent, I discovered that Mae lived in China and didn’t speak English. I was concerned because in order for the book to work, the illustrator needed to understand its deeper meaning. What I discovered through the interpreter was that Mae not only understood what I was trying to do, but was moved and inspired by it. She embraced the concept of bringing the book from black and white to color as the idea influences its surroundings and added so many wonderful visual elements. It was ridiculously fun to collaborate in such a magical way.
Why did you decide to stop the series at three books? I know there is a lot of love and admiration for your series, so we’d like to know your thoughts behind just making the three. (After reading it to my students, they suggested What Do You Do With a Question…even they want more!)
I didn’t set out to write a series. It just happened with the concept for the second book. And when I wrote that second book, I purposefully had the bones of the book match the structure of the first one. Naturally, this carried over to book number three. I felt it was time for me to create a picture book in a brand new way and so my next book is something completely different and I am really excited by the challenge of it.
3 Questions About Kobi Yamada
If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be and why?
Actually, I don’t really think of myself as a writer. I am grateful and honored to author books but my day job is running Compendium and I couldn’t be happier or feel more fortunate. I am surrounded by talented, caring, big-hearted people trying to make a positive difference in the world. Who could ask for more?
What is one book that has stuck with you since you’ve read it?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I was a young person when I first read it, and to an optimist like me, when I read his words such as, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” Well, they have a way of sticking with you.
What is one item in your fridge that tells us about you?
Kombucha. Healthy, bubbly, tasty, with a bit of kick…that’s good for your gut. I think that says a lot about why I like it.
A big thank you to Kobi Yamada for answering our questions and sharing his thoughts. Be sure to check out Compedium for a wide variety of inspiration books and gifts, including an adorable Idea plush!
*Can’t wait to read What Do You Do With a Chance? Enter on Instagram or twitter @storymamas to win a copy!
All opinions and reviews are our own.