"The Field" -- A Picture Book by Baptiste Paul with Illustrator Jacqueline Alcantara

The Field by Baptiste Paul with illustration by Jacqueline Alcántara is a beautiful work of art, merging love for the game of soccer with a beautiful Caribbean island and the sheer joy of childhood. You will love this book! Paul’s engaging story includes Creole words that are immediately understood by their placement. (There’s a handy pronunciation guide at the end of the book.)  Alcántara skillfully brings the unique setting to life and makes us feel the high-energy action of the book’s characters as they shoo cows off their field to start their game and continue playing during an unexpected downpour. Parents and teachers will love the diversity of this book, but I suspect kids (and kids at heart) will just love this book because it speaks especially to them!

And there's a book trailer . . . . how fun!


A soccer story—for boy and girls alike—just in time for the World Cup!

“Vini! Come! The field calls!” cries a girl as she and her younger brother rouse their community—family, friends, and the local fruit vendor—for a pickup soccer (futbol) game. Boys and girls, young and old, players and spectators come running—bearing balls, shoes, goals, and a love of the sport. “Friends versus friends” teams are formed, the field is cleared of cows, and the game begins! But will a tropical rainstorm threaten their plans?


The world’s most popular and inclusive sport has found its spirited, poetic, and authentic voice in Baptiste Paul’s debut picture book—highlighting the joys of the game along with its universal themes: teamwork, leadership, diversity, and acceptance. Creole words (as spoken in St. Lucia, the author’s birthplace island in the Caribbean) add spice to the story and are a strong reminder of the sport’s world fame. Bright and brilliant illustrations by debut children’s book illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara—winner of the We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award—capture the grit and glory of the game and the beauty of the island setting where this particular field was inspired. Soccer fan or not, the call of The Field is irresistible.



The Field - a perfectly wonderful diverse picture book about soccer



















An Interview with Author Baptiste Paul

I’m so pleased that Wisconsin author Baptiste Paul has stopped by to talk about his debut picture book which releases today, March 6!!

Baptiste, congratulations on the release of The Field! I’m in love with this book and the beautiful illustrations as you can see from my review. My children are in college now, but I wish this book had been around when they were small. Soccer has been a big part of our lives!

I’m always curious about an author’s inspiration for their work. Beyond loving the game of soccer, what made you decide to craft this story?

Baptiste Paul - Picture book author - The Field and Adventure to SchoolA. My inspiration would definitely be my childhood. When I reflect on my childhood, there were lots of playful and joyful moments in the midst of the poverty I experienced. The idea for "The Field" as a children’s book, however, came on a day that I was playing outside in the rain with my kids.

This is your debut picture book, but I’m curious if this is the first picture book manuscript you have written or if you’ve written others before?

A. I’ve written a few manuscripts before. Some got rejected. Some are not good enough. Some will be worked on and hopefully turn into books.

Do you write longer length stories, too? (If you do, can you tell us a little bit about them?)

A. For now, my focus in on picture books. I have toiled with the idea but I’m hopeful someday I will write a YA novel.

Can we look forward to another book from you soon?Adventure to School - Diverse Picture Book showing many cultures

A. My other book "Adventure to School" co-written with my wife Miranda Paul is set to be released on May 1, 2018 (currently available for preorder). Also, we co-wrote another book, I Am a Farmer (tentative title) which will be released in 2019.

If there’s anything that you could go back and tell your ‘unpublished’ self, what would that be?

A. When you are unpublished, your focus is on getting published but there needs to be a plan in place for marketing and branding yourself.

Can you tell us about the different jobs you’ve had other than writing? I always like to ask authors this, mainly because authors always seem to have had so many different careers and often an interesting job history.

A. I have done many different jobs. I have mowed lawns, carried banana boxes on my head, painted roofs, worked in a factory shipping products all over the world, worked in a quarry, operated heavy equipment and business management.

What sort of books do you like to read as an adult and what were some of your favorites as a child?

A. I love a good book. Subject does not matter. I have read war books, mystery books and science books etc. Some of my recent favorites are "Bomb" by Steve Sheinkin, "Jar City" by Arnaldur Indriðason and "Auma’s Long Run" by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo. My favorite books as a child were the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene and The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W Dixon. I still get the chills reading some of the classics like, The Three Little Pigs, Beauty and Beast and Jack and The Beanstalk.

Before we move on to the Fast Five list, is there anything else you want to tell readers about yourself or your book?

A. My debut book "The Field" is a celebration of life.

Fast Five:

Fav Pizza Topping – Tuna

Book You’re Reading Now – "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Coffee, Tea, or Both – Both

Fav Activity as a Child – Dig in the dirt looking for bugs.

Best Place You’ve Vacationed – Grand Canyon

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.baptistepaul.net
Facebook: Baptiste Paul
Twitter: @baptistepaul

Thank you so much, Baptiste! Congrats on your debut book launch! If you're in the Green Bay this weekend, stop by the Barnes and Noble (2498 S. Oneida Street) on Saturday (the 10th) from 12 pm to 5 pm and celebrate the book release. You can get your very own copy signed by the author!!

An Interview with Illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara

Jacqueline, congratulations on the release of “The Field”! Your illustrations are fun and energetic and joyful. They make me smile!

Is this the first picture book you’ve illustrated? Can you tell us a little bit about the process of picture book illustration? (I’m curious about what happens after you Interview with Jacqueline Alcantara - Illustrator of diverse picture books receive the manuscript and begin the project.)

Thanks! Yes, this is my first published picture book! It was such a fun story to illustrate because it is so full of energy, joy and excitement!

 After I received this manuscript, I immediately started writing and sketching ideas that came to me during my first few read-throughs. I think those initial visions are so visceral, and it’s important to get them out ASAP. Then I started my research, which incorporated gathering stories from my dad, who played pick-up soccer games in Honduras as a child, a quick conversation with Baptiste (author), and, of course, lots of internet research to get a feel for the vibe and people of St. Lucia. Even though we wanted the book to universally represent soccer lovers and players around the world, I wanted it to feel authentically Caribbean in flavor. From there I started sketching characters and compositions, trying to make the narrative of the illustrations tell their best story. I found my color palette and played and played until they all felt they felt done! (Really, I just stopped because of the deadline, or else I’d just keep tweaking things forever)

Do you focus mainly on children’s book illustration or do you have a love for other types of artwork?  

I focus mainly on children’s work, but I do illustration work for a variety of markets. I love the random projects that come my way -  from architecture to video to fashion; each project allows me to research and learn something entirely new, teach myself new techniques and just have a lot of fun experimenting! I love dabbling in different crafty or artistic things, jewelry-making, pottery, book making, screen printing, motion graphics, etc. I’ve tried them all and do but love drawing and painting the best :) Pottery would be my #2 if time allowed!

What is your favorite medium to work with?

I think I would say my favorite is collage, which is funny because I don’t work much with collage at the moment. But I love cutting and gluing tiny bits of paper. (I won “best at cutting” scissors in kindergarten- impressive I know!) I use a lot of different mediums throughout my process. I love to sketch with conte crayon or charcoal. Then I move to mechanical pencil to get cleaner lines. I started using prismacolor markers several years ago and am in love with those at the moment. And then of course Photoshop which I would never want to live without! Working mixed-media is tricky but I think the key for me is really finding what each medium does best for you - and not forcing one to feel like another. 

Can we look forward to another book from you soon?

Yes! I'm very excited to be working on a book with Candlewick next. Titled "Freedom Soup", (written by Tami Charles). It’s the story of a grandmother teaching her granddaughter to make a traditional Haitian soup that is served every New Year’s Day, and which represents the Haitian revolution - which was the first successful slave rebellion. It's a powerful story with a delicious ending. 

Can you tell us about the different jobs you’ve had other than illustration? (I find that creative people often have the most interesting job histories!)

Oh so many random jobs! I’ve worked in toy stores, bookstores, on ski mountains, in schools, for a dance company, hospitality, set decoration, professional framing, art galleries, attempted entrepreneurship, teaching…I’m sure I missed a few!

What sort of books do you like to read as an adult and what were some of your favorites as a child?

I love to read either memoirs or the fantasy/mythology genre. I love Neil Gaiman and feel as though his books are the adult versions of my most favorite author growing up, Roald Dahl. My most treasured picture book was "Goodnight Moon" - my mom had to read it to me every night and morning!

Is there anything else you want to tell readers about yourself or your illustrations?

It took me a long time to believe in myself and I’m just really excited and grateful to wake up each morning and have the opportunities to create books! What a dream come true :) 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

There are links to all social media on my website!

Website: www.jacquelinealcantara.com

Twitter: @jchuggie

Instagram: @jchuggie

Thanks so much for visiting us! It was a pleasure to get to know you better!!  


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