The book I Will Always Love You has a very interesting story.
The words found their way into Melissa’s journal very unexpectedly one morning in Thailand, January 2017, after a series of monsoon rains. They were thought provoking and powerful in a very kind and comforting manner. Although the words alone spoke volumes, Melissa knew that there was an opportunity to add illustrations so that people of all ages could benefit. She felt that the message was one that would appeal to adults and children alike, however she felt that the addition of characters, colours and imagery would help inspire the imaginations of the readers. She was thrilled to connect with Mary, after a fairly lengthy search for an illustrator. As fate would have it, they connected almost by accident (but of course neither of them believe this for a minute!). In interviewing Mary, Melissa asked her why she was interested in illustrating this project. Mary’s answer sealed the collaboration. Melissa asked Mary why she wanted to take on the assignment. Mary responded that after reading the story she wanted to get a copy to her grandmother. She said that her grandfather had passed and that she felt that it would help comfort her grandmother with her grief. Melissa knew then and there that Mary ‘got it’.
The words truly are “For everyone big or small, for the child who lives within us all.”
Whether reading the story to one’s self or reading aloud to another, the comforting thoughts and possibilities begin to play around in the imagination. The “What it?” and “Why not?” ideas begin to take hold and a sense of peacefulness can often replace other less comforting emotions.
As you read through the story, notice how the children’s hearts change colours and how there faces and skin colour are neutral. Observe how the journey starts at home in the dawn and ends at home in the evening. The idea of travelling ‘home’ in itself is a comfort to many. There are other subtle hints of images and messages throughout the pages that will evoke different reactions from each unique reader. Ask yourself or another, what particular page resonated most with you? It’s amazing how different the answers are every time.
Thanks for taking the time to understand some of the background events that led to the finished project. If you have other insights, please share them.