In a world full of excesses for many and not enough for others, it is reassuring to find the children’s book Just Enough by Allie Hill.
Recently, I was introduced to Allie Hill – mother, graphic designer, illustrator and the author of the new children’s book Just Enough. With that many strings to her bow I was fascinated to find she was just another mum trying to juggle a career and family life.
And that was how her new life as a writer and illustrator was born: from the realisation that sometimes a full time career and bringing up children can be too tall an order – and much like the story in the book – she found that she was making something new from something old and comfortable.
As a mother in full time work, Allie said she found herself “doing a million things, but never really doing things well. Your children are missing out, your work is missing out, everything is not quite enough”, says Allie. However, this all changed when the family expatriated to Thailand. “I don’t speak Thai, and no one wanted an illiterate designer”, laughs Allie. It was time to find new outlets for her creativity. Allie confesses, all she knew was graphic design and the development of writing and drawing was from bumbling along. “Mums relate to bumbling along, families come first”, she says.
Back in Malaysia Allie was approached by MPH to write a children’s book. And from there Allie’s ‘bumbling along’ culminated into a beautifully told and illustrated story of a little girl named Amelia; Amelia’s relationship with her Grandmother and the love of her blanket (Blankey), a gift from her Grandmother. It is Amelia’s journey of the loss of Blankey, but more importantly, her discovery of something new through the magic of her Granny’s sewing machine and belief that there is often ‘just enough’ to make something wonderful.
From the beginning of what Allie says “was desperately throwing some things together” to taking inspiration from Julia Donaldson’s splendid use of rhyme and tempo, Allie began a journey of telling a story that would provide values she would like to see her daughter grow with, and ended with a book which is both vibrant in its illustrations as well as its narrative.
Allie credits the help of family, friends and her editor in the writing of the book. She believes the book isn’t just hers alone but says it’s also about “honouring a creative process and the people who have turned up to help.”
Just Enough by Allie Hill is available from Borders and MPH.