By Anna Lazowski
The first line of the book is
Abigail had a dark cloud.
which is exactly how I wrote it in the first draft. The first four lines popped into my head and I went from there, getting the first draft down in about half an hour.
This particular first line sets the tone for the rest of the book, and repeats over the course of the pages, to show how the cloud is always present in Abigail's life. In this way, the text works to reinforce what it's like to live with depression.
Explaining and illustrating abstract emotions to kids can be tricky, so the first line had to be simple. We know who the character is and what has suddenly appeared in her life. Over the course of the book, as that first line repeats, we see the impact it has on her, and how she finds ways to live with her cloud.
I didn't experiment with different first lines, and I don't recall anyone suggesting I change it. I wrote the text in images or experiences to try to capture what depression looks and feels like. I did a lot of reordering of the spreads, which helped me find and write new text to fill holes.