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Behind the Book: Stop That Poem

last updated 27 July 2021

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Long have we awaited the publishing of Eric Ode’s Stop that Poem (Kane Miller) illustrated by Bright Artist Jieting Chen. With every turn of a page, invidual words pile to create a poem and tell the story of this poetic adventure. Chen’s illustrations not only capture the significance of young readers appreciating poetry, but also embody the truth that no matter who you are, your story is worth telling. We had the chance to hear from Jieting about the making of Stop that Poem, and the journey behind the scenes is just as wonderful as what’s inside the cover. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit more about the story and message of Stop That Poem.

Stop That Poem is about a nonstop poetry adventure where the kids are chasing, building and exploring the nature of poems. Poetry is such a powerful language that helps us know each other and build community. Poetry allows kids to share their fear, anxieties, and passions with us and each other, and teaches them to appreciate their uniqueness.

What creative details did you incorporate throughout this book? What are some examples within the spreads?

I wanted the readers feel the characters were relatable in hopes they might see themselves reflected. So I took inspiration from different cultures and portrayed emotions to each character. By looking at the different characters, you’ll see different stories and personality traits.


Click play to watch Jieting's video sharing her thoughts on Stop that Poem

When illustrating the art for Stop That Poem, from where did you draw inspiration?

This is one of the biggest questions I’ve been asked. For this book, mostly I was inspired by the words, the rhythm, and the message Eric Ode to delivered. But when it comes down to day-to-day inspiration, it can be a color, a shape, an image, a sound, a feeling, and even an idea.


Cover of Stop that Poem

How do you think this title highlights poetry and its significance for readers of all ages?

Great poems give me a greater, more deeply felt understanding of the world, a person, an object, or of a relationship. The title Stop That Poem is playful, and I feel children will be intrigued by it. The book opens venues for speaking and listening and breaks the rules of grammar, so children can have a better experience.

If you could describe your experience creating the art for this book in one word, what would it be? Explain.

The word would be “flow”. For me, the essence of poem is flow. Physically, the characters take a journey through the woods, hills, and city, But emotionally, their mind flies up and down as the words take them on an adventure. My intention is not only to direct reader’s eye within the spread, but also throughout the whole book.

What piece are you most proud of from this project? We would love to see beginning stages to final artwork.

It is really hard to pick one favorite as I love them all. But I had the most fun developing the city scene. I feel like I went back to my childhood playing with wooden bricks. Seeing the whole city comes alive in front of my eyes is an amazing experience. I can feel the characters living in this place, and what their daily lives are like. To me, this is the one of the most satisfying part of illustrating.

City Progress

Progress spreads of the city scene

Thanks so much for reading July’s Behind the Book blog! Check out our site each month to learn more about all things Bright reads and artists. Miss last month’s Behind the Book? Click here to read all about What Are Your Words, illustrated by Andy Passchier!

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