I had the great honor of illustrating this important story written by debut author, J.J. Austrian. This was much more than just another project for me. It came at a poignant time in my life, and in our nation’s history.
We are all a little different. This has been a fact that I’ve been reminded of daily. For most of my life, I doubted that I could ever be married. This wasn’t because I thought that I was incapable of finding true love; it was because the law would have prevented me from doing so. In 2008, I met someone who changed my life. He has given me love, support, laughter, stability, counsel, and much needed hugs.
My husband’s name is Dan, and this book is dedicated to him. We were married in 2013. We were very fortunate at the time that we lived in Washington state, where marriage had just become legal for all of its citizens. I finished illustrating this book in February of 2015. Four months later, after decades of opposition, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was now legal throughout the entire country.
Throughout our lifetimes, each of us will be criticized for something that we cannot change (in other words: for being yourself). During those times, it’s paramount to remember what is most important in your life. For me, love is what is most important. Some people see the love that I have for Dan as being “different.” I beg to differ. In Worm Loves Worm, no matter the opinions and criticisms of others, Worm and Worm hold fast to what is most important to them: each other. You can try playing by the rules as much as you want, but sometimes rules have to change because people are more important than rules. People will love who they love. This is what makes us human. This book is a celebration of love.
I want to thank J.J. Austrian for writing this incredibly beautiful story, Alessandra Balzer for asking me to illustrate it, Martha Rago and Dana Fritts for their guidance and design eyes, and the rest of the Balzer + Bray team. I think we’ve made a really special book, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
Worm Loves Worm is now available for purchase from these booksellers: