When I was originally thinking of making a picture book just for my kids, I was imaging them as the main characters. The book is written in first person (with “we” and “us” used a bunch) from the point of view of children having a board game day, so in my mind the pictures would be them playing board games and having fun. But when I decided to hire an illustrator and make the book for more than just my family, I realized that other people wouldn’t be able to relate to the main characters since identical twins are pretty rare.

I still wanted my kids to be able to say the main characters were them, so I decided to go with animals. I figured if the main two animals were the same animal, they could be seen as siblings or twins. There are a few animals I was thinking of that are cute and my kids like – dogs, cats, lions – but I ultimately went with pandas because I don’t see them as often in children’s books. I was also considering pigs since they’re year of the pig, but I personally think pandas are cuter.

My twins hugged each other when they saw this sketch (by Rachel Kremer)

For the other three characters, I gave Rachel a list of animals my kids like pointing out in books, and she used that to come up with some concept art. She also came up with some additional animals, like the octopus which I loved so much that we had to use it! It was so hard to choose just three since all the concept art looked so great! But I decided on keeping the cat (which I think is my kids’ current favorite animal), the octopus (which is cool to have playing board games with its tentacles), and the bird (which wasn’t on my original list, but I thought it’d be fun to have a flying animal since we had land and sea animals).

The octopus character can hold so many game components! (by Rachel Kremer)

If Board Game Day does well, maybe I’ll be able to write more books and we can have a chance to use the other characters too, but for now I’m happy with the five characters in Board Game Day!

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