Holly Sterling is the illustrator behind Kar-Ben's latest Tu B'Shevat board book, Happy Birthday, Trees!. We had a conversation with her about the inspiration and the process she took to create the illustrations found in this cute story.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Sara Ogilvie, Polly Dunbar, Helen Oxenbury

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I have always loved drawing and creating characters.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Keep practicing your art and use the world around you as your inspiration. Be passionate and work hard to find your voice through your artwork.

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest or upcoming Kar-Ben book?
The inspiration for the illustrations came from the children that I teach every week. I found that their personalities and fun quirks came through in the characters I created for this book.

What are you most excited about promoting in your new book?
I think it’s exciting to be able to educate people about this Jewish celebration, Tu B’Shevat. It’s an easy book to start discussing how we can work together to build a positive future. What I really love about this book is that it not only shows working with people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, but also these children sharing the importance of caring for and nurturing our planet.

What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing or illustrating your book?
I learned more about Tu B’Shevat through the creation of the illustrations.

How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?
Every single child should see themselves and their beliefs represented in the books they read. I hope that this is a book that Jewish children, and more, can treasure and keep going back to time and time again.