In our Behind The Book series, author Shawn Sayner shares insight, information, and fun facts about her very own picture books. 

What is this book about?

Never Really Alone is a picture about the thoughts and emotions that drive some toward hate, and others toward love. It’s message is that being kind, to others and to ourselves, builds special connections and strong communities.

Who is this book for?

Never Really Alone was created for preschoolers through third graders, though it can continue to be used well into higher grades and even adulthood. It uses simple artwork and rhyme style for the comfort of younger readers; this balances the gravity of the content for all readers, to encourage understanding, processing, and discussion.

Why was this book written?

As our country faced unprecedented division, I often felt hope was being overshadowed by hate. I knew I was not alone in this and found solace with friends and family. As I looked to the future with my own child, I wondered how to prepare him for challenges like intolerance and discrimination. I realized how difficult it could be for children to recognize their feelings, let alone to be able to find perspective about them.

At the same time, I was devastated to learn that a friend’s young children were being bullied at school because of their ethnicity. Their story triggered my recollection of the many times adult friends confided in me about being bullied growing up, and the effect it had on them. Their experiences inspired me to create a tool that could be used for a wide range of people, to help hope overcome hate at more ages and stages.

Working on this project was quite cathartic for me. During a very trying time, it’s helped me feel empowered to make a difference in this world – one reader, one page, one conversation at a time.

How was this book illustrated?

Never Really Alone is illustrated using computer design, building images with layer upon layer of shapes. The illustrations focus solely on faces alone to help us notice both likeness and diversity as we move from character to character. A rainbow theme serves as the book’s backdrop, reinforcing how beautiful it can when many colors are brought together to make something special.

When was this book published?

Never Really Alone was released on paperback in 2017.

Where is this book found?

Local libraries and book stores can order Never Really Alone through their normal channels, so please ask them about it if you can’t find it where you look for books. Never Really Alone is also available for you to order online anytime.

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