Kyo Maclear is the author of Spork, the feature book in our June 2017 Picture Book Box. New in paperback, Spork won numerous awards when it was published in 2010. A glimpse into the life of a spork – not a fork, not a spoon. Never chosen to be at the table, just where does he fit in? Spork is a clever story about tolerance and individuality. Kyo lives in Toronto, Ontario and is the mother of two sons and two cats.
MARMALADE BOOKS (MB): When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Kyo Maclear (KM): I had my first inkling at age eighteen. I was studying fine art at university and a beloved prof (video artist Colin Campbell) encouraged me to start writing art essays for publication in magazines. I loved writing alongside images. I felt a responsibility to chose words that would honor and amplify the work. It was fun. And a puzzle. It made my brain happy.
MB: I love the idea of relating a spork to your own experience growing up in a mixed race family. Have you always thought of yourself as a spork or did the idea come to you while you were writing the book?
KM: Well my mum is Japanese and my dad is white-British so I definitely saw myself as a cultural hybrid growing up. Occasionally it was painful (with moments of feeling like a misfit) but mostly I liked being in that spork space between languages, cultures, and countries. I think it made me see the world in less binary ways. So those feelings definitely motivated and motored the writing of the book. At the same time, I wanted to create a story for my kids, who are very mixed, and for anyone who has ever felt they don't quite fit in.
MB: What would you like parents to share with their kids when they read the book to them?
KM: Hmmm. I don't know. Be open to the unknown? Embrace multicutlery? Avoid slots? Welcome your own uncategorizable spirit?
MB: What do your sons think about having a Mom who's a writer?
KM: They've never known anything else so it's just run-of-the-mill to them. Occasionally they'll weigh in with an opinion. They have great narrative instincts. P.s. I just conferred with my younger son who tells me: "I think it's cool to see how the books get made, seeing the sketches and the proofs and then the final book. It's like magic."
My thanks to Kyo for this interview. I enjoyed getting to know her a little better and understanding what it's like to be a spork in Canada.
* Check out this great video of Kyo, her kids and Spork!
* If you wish to purchase the June Picture Book Box which includes Spork, we have a few left on our Shop Now Past Boxes page.