Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You

Oct 29, 2020

UPDATE 8/13/2022: I dropped off a a copy of Dear Wild Child for the library at the Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, CA. If you are or know a teacher whose students lost homes due to wildfire, please get in touch.

UPDATE 8/11/2022: Hey, look!

UPDATE 8/9/2022: It has been a long journey. Dear Wild Child has finally arrived. You'll find it at your favorite local bookstore or online.

UPDATE 7/27/2022: Thanks to Kirkus Review: Intricate and emotional.

UPDATE 7/19/2022: A wonderful review from Publisher's Weekly.

UPDATE 5/22/2022: Here's a sneak preview of the full Dear Wild Child book for you, dear patrons. For those of you who knew our Slow Coast home personally, it will read as true and familiar.

UPDATE 5/17/2022: A pre-release digital version of Dear Wild Child is available to select publications, please get in touch with Calin Van Paris, Manager, Marketing + Publicity at Cameron + Company ([email protected]) if you'd like to review the book.

ABC News: Father writes touching letter letting daughter know childhood home burned down in CZU Complex Fire
"You are strong, thanks to this home. You carry the memories of our canyon. You are made of Mill Creek water, the fruit from our trees, Swanton berries, and Pacific salmon. You are my wild child."
Reading this letter with Grayce on NPR was very difficult.

UPDATE 2/20/2022: Dear Wild Child is scheduled to be released on August 9th and is available online everywhere, your local bookseller and Amazon for pre-order now

A story inspired by a letter from a father to his daughter about wildfire, loss, and learning that we carry our homes inside us wherever we go.
In the shade of ancient redwood trees, by a creek, not far from the ocean, a father builds a house for his newborn daughter, where she grows up wild and strong in their coastal canyon home. When a wildfire takes back their beloved house, a father writes his now-grown daughter a letter telling her it’s gone. Inspired by the real letter the author wrote his daughter, this poignant story—written together by father and daughter—joyfully declares that a home is more than just wood and stone; it is made of love and can never be taken away. You carry home with you wherever you go.

UPDATE 1/13/2022: Happy New Year. Dear Wild Child proofs look very good. Grayce and I look forward to sharing the book in real life later this year!

UPDATE 12/2/2021: I've kept you up to date on this project as it has developed, going back to the original letter to Grayce. Here's the latest and a preview of the backwater spread. Soon I will share info about getting your hands on the  book and scheduled readings and events!

Hi J and Grayce,
I wanted you to see how lovely your photo looks in your book to be. We especially love that the spring-tip green color we highlight in the book is in the background. Thank you for matching the book’s palette!
The book released to the printer yesterday!
We will be proofing the book over the next few weeks, and then once it’s approved to print, we will have an advance copy to share with you in the new year! Something to look forward to.
In the meantime, have a lovely winter and holiday, and a happy new year to you both.
All the best

UPDATE 11/19/2021: Tonight we received the latest galleys from Cameron & Company for our book Dear Wild Child and it is looking really good. Grayce will be home for Thanksgiving, so we'll be able to review and finalize them together. I can't wait to share the book with you and help increase support for the organization After The Fire. I have included the current cover images as well as the final spread. Thank you for supporting my work.

UPDATE 10/6/2021: Back in Syracuse, NY and reviewing galleys with Grayce. We are so excited about Drew's illustrations and can't wait to share the whole book with you. Meanwhile, here's another sneak peak at the evolution of the book jacket art (not final or fully designed yet).

UPDATE 4/29/21: Sneak preview of our process! I am visiting Grayce in Syracuse, NY and we're reviewing some of the draft sketches for our book Dear Wild Child that Drew recently sent along. We really love them, are excited about this book, and are providing some feedback and direction to him as he turns our words and emotions into imagery and art. The book's cover will be a blend of the three concepts presented, depicting the idea that we carry our homes inside of us, even when they are gone. I have added Drew's sketches below as an attachment (not for sharing, please). Fonts are all placeholders, for those of you who care about such details ; )

Just keeping you, my patrons, in the loop as this fascinating (and heartbreaking) journey continues...

UPDATE 3/29/21: It's official, here's the announcement in Publisher's Weekly.

Amy Novesky at Cameron Kids has acquired world rights to Dear Wild Child by Wallace J. Nichols and Grayce Nichols, illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer. This picture book is inspired by the real letter a father wrote his daughter to tell her that they had lost their home to a California wildfire. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; the authors represented themselves, and Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary represented the illustrator.

UPDATE 3/11/21: We finalized the text of Dear Wild Child and it's now in Drew's hands for illustrations. The book, written with my daughter Grayce, is about losing "everything" in a wildfire and recognizing what we are truly made of.

You are made of Douglas fir and stone, bright stars and the wind’s song.
You are made of plums from our trees, Mill Creek water, and Pacific salmon.
You are made of sea salt, piano keys, and mountain lion screams.

UPDATE 2/21/21: Grayce and I submitted our revisions to our editors and will go through them together via Zoom on Monday. Our publisher has chosen Los Angeles-based artist Drew Beckmeyer to illustrate the book and we look forward to working with him! We've been discussing creating a cool DWC patch or sticker to go with the book. Can't wait to send you all a copy of Dear Wild Child.

Here's a bit of exciting first-to-know patron-only news for you.

In the fall of 2022 Cameron + Company will publish Dear Wild Child. 

I'll send signed first edition hardback copies to all of my active $100+/month patrons.

We publish "books that need to be books."

What does this mean? To us there is a place in today’s digital media-driven culture for the printed word and the print design that goes with it. We seek out those books that need to be held, and appreciated for their tangible value. The books that call to us to be just that, books.

DEAR WILD CHILD is based on a real letter from a father to a daughter celebrating a beloved, hand-built home that burned down in a wildfire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s about how our homes shape us, and while we may leave them, they never leave us; we carry home inside of us wherever we go. The book will include an author’s note about the home, the daughter, and the letter that inspired this story.

Proceeds from book sales benefit wildfire recovery and redwood forest protection efforts.

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