Three Questions With Salina Yoon

Welcome to a new series here on the blog: "Three Questions With" In each installment we ask a different PJ Library author or illustrator questions about their work, their process, and interests. This month we're chatting with Salina Yoon, author and illustrator of Found.

How do you come up with your characters?
Most of my book characters were inspired by real people in my life, especially my children. Bear from Found was inspired by my son who was extremely attached to his homemade teddy bear made by my mother when he was a toddler. He slept with it and took it everywhere he went. Even when it was falling apart and patched up, his love for his teddy remained. I honor this relationship between a child and his stuffed animal with Found.
How did you come up with the idea for Found
The story idea came from noticing "LOST" flyers on community bulletin boards. They were often filled with flyers about lost pets. But one day, I came across a flyer that said "FOUND." It showed a pet that was found by a family who was looking for its rightful owner. This got me thinking about what would happen if a child found a lost little puppy. I decided to develop this premise with a Bear finding a lost stuffed animal. Would he keep it for himself or try to find its rightful owner? What would he do if the owner came to claim it? I believe that children have a moral compass of their own, and while sometimes it may be hard to do the right thing, they will still try their best . . . just like Bear. But if children are conflicted, then they can learn from Bear.
What’s your advice for aspiring authors and illustrators?
My best advice would be to read and study as many books in the genre you want to write or illustrate for as possible! For aspiring picture book authors and illustrators, go to your local library and check out as many picture books as you can, and READ, READ, READ. Set aside the ones you love, and re-read them. Think about what makes you love and re-read them. Reading, then analyzing books is an effective way in learning how to write stories of your own.