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- author Jackie French

Monday 22 November 2021

Guest Post: Brooke Hill on You Two, You Two

I remember the exact moment that the words for You Two, You Two came to me. 

It was 4am and I was breastfeeding our second bub, Patrick. He was four months old, and I was in that half-delirious, sleep-deprived state in the wee hours of the morning. The words started playing in my mind, and I grabbed my phone and punched them into my Notes.

Ever since Patrick was born, I’d been looking for a certain type of book. I wanted a book that was a beautiful wish to the universe about the possibilities and enjoyment of the simple things in life – like Alison Lester’s Kissed By The Moon – but that was about two kids experiencing that life together. I wanted to nourish the bond that I hoped they would share. But I searched and I searched, and I couldn’t find that book. And then it came to me, in those pre-dawn hours.

I wanted to capture the simplicity of shared moments between siblings. As the story starts, when two kids are a little younger, those moments are small – clapping, peek-a-boo. As they get older and their world starts to expand, they have bigger experiences – feeding chooks, chasing ducks. And as they get older again, that deepens to shared stories, shared dreams. There is mischief and silliness and scraps and scrapes – nothing is perfect. But there is always wild, expansive imagination, and always love. 

Rhyme was important. I love hearing children fill in the end of their favourite sentences in books, and they seem to do that more with rhyme. I like ‘sticky’ words – the ones that you remember. 

This is my first children’s picture book. It’s the fulfillment of a life-long dream for me. When I was a little kid, I would sit at a typewriter all day and write, write, write.

Then I hit my teens and I started to wobble. I lost confidence. And I stopped writing.

It took many years before I built up the confidence again to write. There was something about having kids of my own that I just knew I had to do it – it was now or never. My purpose has always been about nourishing imaginations – and I knew I had to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. So I did it, and I’m so proud of how it’s all come together.

You Two, You Two
is illustrated by Elin Matilda, who has an extraordinary use of colour that captures attention and imagination. We still discover little hidden details in her work on the pages.

There are few relationships as important as those of siblings. Even though we know that our kids may not always be the best of friends, when they are little I think we all very much hope that they will be. And recently, during lockdown – where kids see only their siblings for days and weeks on end – that relationship has been put to the test. It’s my hope that by reading this book, kids get a sense of the possibilities and fun of that special sibling relationship. You Two, You Two is full of optimism and hope, and that’s how I think their world should be.

Brooke Hill is a children’s book author, speaker, imagination evangelist and director of content agency The Contented Copywriter.

You Two, You Two is Brooke Hill’s first children’s picture book. It celebrates the sweet, silly adventures between two siblings. Contact Brooke via her website.