|Jessica Swaim, Author
Helen O'Dea, Illustrator
Ages 4-8 (2000)
|At school when Nate cannot write his name, at night,
in his dreams, he connects the dots in the starry sky.
At school when Nate finishes last in gym, at night, in his dreams, he soars on Pegasus across the Milky Way.
At recess when he strikes out, that night in his dreams, Orion pitched him the moon.
After school at swimming lessons, Nate feared sinking to the bottom of the pool while at night, in his dreams, he leaped with the dolphins in the midnight sea.
Nate gained confidence through his dreams and soared during the day!
For any child that feels they are not good enough, fast enough, smart enough, part of the "norm," laughed at or made to feel less special, NATE BY NIGHT is a treasure.
|When she was a child, Jessica Swaim had a recurrent dream that she could fly. She would float rooftop-high while a small crowd gathered, pointing up at her in wonder. Oh, the freedom of it! Oh, the joy! Writing "Nate By Night" gave her a way to revisit her favorite dream.
Dream experts say that flying dreams are common among children and may symbolize self-esteem or the soaring of the spirit. Jessica writes, "I wrote "Nate By Night" purely for entertainment. I hope that if a message emerges for kids and their parents, it is this: Fly high! Reach for the stars! Dare to make your dreams come true!"
Although Ms. Swaim does not personally own a weiner dog, she finds them funny and full of personality. She wanted to name Nate's dog after something dachshund-shaped, so when the name Dill Pickle popped into her head, it sounded so silly that she decided to use it.
Readers may notice the words of "Nate By Night" do not say that Dill Pickle accompanied Nate on his nighttime flights. But of course a dog would always want to be with his boy, so Ms. Swaim was thrilled to see that Helen O'Dea gave Dill Pickle a starring role in the illustrations.
Ms. Swaim has written numerous stories and articles for children's magazines such as Jack and Jill, The Friend, and Jr. Medical Detective. "Nate By Night" is her first picture book.
She is a part-time children's librarian in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.