"Then began an experience that turned my life around-working on a book with a black kid as hero. None of the manuscripts I'd been illustrating featured any black kids-except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along. Years before I had cut from a magazine a strip of photos of a little black boy. I often put them on my studio walls before I'd begun to illustrate children's books. I just loved looking at him. This was the child who would be the hero of my book."