Wednesday, May 6, 2020

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: When Day Is Done by Natalee Creech

When Day Is Done is a soothing bedtime book, perfect for calming down after a busy day.
When Day Is Done began with a line that just popped into my head one day when I sat down to write. The words, “We sleep when day is done” floated into my mind seemingly out of nowhere, so I decided to play with them. Over the next weeks and months, I finished the poem, smoothing out the sounds until each phrase fit the quiet mood I was aiming for. 
Looking back, the seeds of this story (and the desire to write) were probably sown in my childhood with the books my parents read to us each night before we went to bed, so it seems appropriate that my first picture book is also a bedtime book. 
Every evening either my mother or father would faithfully sit down and read whatever books we wanted to hear before tucking us in for the night. At the time we lived in a small town with a population of about 1000. A tiny library kept us well-supplied. (It’s only now that I realize how lucky we were that a community of that size had a library. We could even borrow records!) 

There were four of us children and we each wanted to hear our personal favorites, so that meant a lot of reading. I can remember times my parents drifted off mid-sentence, they were so tired. Fortunately for us, they continued to read to us long after we could read independently, because it wasn’t about the actual reading so much as it was sharing that special time together. I can picture us tucked under Dad’s arm or sprawled across the back of the couch craning to get the best view of the illustrations. There was probably a great deal of fighting and jockeying for position too, but memory is selective! Looking back, I see what a gift my parents gave me: with the stories of my childhood they sowed the seeds of a love of words and language. 

When I wrote When Day Is Done I aimed for a soothing bedtime book that would help children settle before going to sleep – a book that would remind them that all the fun things they wanted to do would still be there the next day. I pictured children snuggling up with parents to hear these words and I imagined them surrounded by love. I hope this book becomes part of a comforting bedtime routine for children. 
What I love about reading is that each time we read a book we may notice or feel something different. The meaning we take away may change because of how we ourselves have changed, because of new life experiences, or our feelings at that particular moment. When I wrote the following stanza, I was thinking about a common experience of my own family; living overseas and saying goodbye/goodnight to friends and family far away.
These days (during the coronavirus pandemic) the words take on new significance. 

Authors may have a particular message in mind when writing, but the readers always bring their own meaning to the words, and this is part of the magic!
For children, familiar words that are part of a routine can be comforting, especially in a world that is uncertain and changing. And sometimes, even in the midst of the familiar, we are surprised with something new. Aren’t stories amazing?
You can purchase a copy of When Day is Done Here.

Natalee Creech is the author of When Day Is Done (Beaming Books, 2019) and Nothing (WorthyKids, Hachette Book Group, 2019) She is equally at home in Canada, (where she grew up) in the U.S., (where she studied education) and in South Korea (where she taught for many years). Regardless of where she lives, she is probably sneaking more children's books into the house, much to the delight of her children and the dismay of her husband. Oreo, the family cat, remains indifferent.

Twitter: @nataleecreech
Facebook: nataleecreechauthor


  1. Love your description of how your family enjoyed reading together. Your book is now a part of reading rituals in families all over the world!

    1. So happy to see you here, Laura! Can't wait to feature YOUR Story Behind the Story!

  2. I loved reading about your reading ritual growing up. We read with our boys before bed each night, and you can never have too many bedtime books.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! Thanks for your support of this book and the blog!

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