I have always been interested in stories written for children and adults who feel like they are different in one way or another. I wrote my first children’s story at eight years old called “Twelve Feet of Snow.” When somebody told me it never snows twelve feet at a time, I didn’t back down. I got out my crayons and made the story into its very own book.
Although I am all grown up, at least technically, I still write the kinds of stories that I desperately needed when I was a strange little eight-year-old. And now I want to share these stories with you, especially if you might be LGBTQ+ or just feel like you’re an odd one out of the bunch, hoping to see your oddness reflected in the world around you.
Unfortunately, “Twelve Feet of Snow” has been lost, but I have managed to hold onto at least some of my sense of adventure, wonder, and determination, Now i have channeled that energy into a new story. The Octopus’s Holiday: A Different Kind of Christmas Story. This is the first of an eight-piece set about two one-of-a-kind octopus friends named Doris and Shelly. Next in the series is An Eight-Legged Walk through Octopus Town.
My books try to imagine completely new stories about being different and about discovering all the beauty and variety that life has to offer. I want my stories to reach as many people as possible, but I am not interested in following the general rules about what a children’s story should be. You can’t tell a new kind of story by following the same kind of format as everyone else.
These stories build magical worlds full of surprising detail, and they are designed to be read aloud. These are stories that don’t end like you’d expect and are as long or as short as they need to be—not what other people say they should be. These are stories that use the power of language to bring a smile to everyone’s heart, whether you are 3 or 300 years old, whether you have 8 arms or no arms.
Although I can’t paint or draw, I am committed to finding the best illustrators to bring my vision to life in unexpected ways.
To preserve the spirit of difference and possibility that got me writing so long ago, Paul Pycraft is a pseudonym. In my other life, I am an English professor named Michael P. Bibler.
photo by Ashley Mack