On the Other Side of the River, illustrated by Aliki, was recently reissued in Japan by Tuttle. Originally published in the US by Franklin Watts in 1972. It was also published at that time in UK, France, Sweden, Korea, Germany and Denmark. It has been out of print for years. Aliki and I were delighted when the new edition arrived in 2016.
Q&A for The Other Side of the River
What was the inspiration for this book?
I had been rereading an old collection of folktales that I grew up with and fell asleep reading. When I woke up I wrote down the story of The Other Side of the River from start to finish. That has never happened to me again. It took time to find a home, but a year after a young editor rejected it she called to ask if it was still available. She had been out-voted in her previous job, but now she was the senior editor and wanted it for her list.
Did you work with Aliki on the book?
No, the funny thing is that Aliki and I have never met in person. Publishers tend to keep their writers and illustrators apart. I wrote her a thank you note that she never received. More than forty years later, after an editor in Japan contacted me about reissuing the book, I wrote to Aliki. I did not have a copy of the book because my home was destroyed in a fire. Aliki not only had a copy to send to the publisher, she generously sent me a copy from her own collection and gave me a gift of some of the original art for the book—all of which I treasure.