Welcome to my secret page for Where Are You Now?
I am an American children's book author/illustrator currently living in Canada. I have two books with Owlkids, and am currently working on my third picture book for Random House (NYC), The Last Loose Tooth.
My kids started to ask me more about my mother, and dying, around the ten-year anniversary of her death. My mother had suffered from alcoholism for nearly three decades (recovering shortly before her sudden death), so discussions of “loss” felt complex for me. In many ways, I’d been practicing losing her my entire adult life.
As I reflected on the story I wanted to share with my kids, I was surprised by one thought that persisted—that even ten years later, my mother felt very much a part of our lives. And not in a religious or spiritual way, I simply thought about her every day, and remarkably almost always in a good light. Because the thing few people knew about my mother was that she was an incredible mom—and person—when I was a kid. We had been incredibly close when I was little, and our interests remain almost eerily similar. When she died, I interviewed my family to write her obituary and realized it was if I was writing my own.
In many ways, parenthood for me has been about recreating and celebrating the best (and kookiest) memories of my childhood, while also making better decisions to heal the worst ones.
In Where Are You Now?, I decided to create an upbeat (or perhaps uplifting) picture book about death which celebrated the beauty (and positivity, progress, and even rebirth) left in the wake of mourning a loved one.
I also live in the shadow of my mother and grandmother’s early deaths—and after a recent similar cancer scare—I also quietly consider this book a generational memento mori for my children too.
Here is a description from the book jacket for Where Are You Now?:
"Told in simple but powerful prose, and illustrated by the author in a wash of brilliant watercolor, Tyler Clark Burke’s Where Are You Now is a beautiful book about change, death, and transformation. From the disappearance of a shooting star, to the more profound loss of a loved one, Where Are You Now provides a bright and joyful framework to help shape difficult conversations about death with our children."
Thank you for stopping by—
Here’s a link to my picto-biography (which talks more about the various projects I’ve worked on over the years).
Here’s a link to a radio story/podcast from I shared with DNTO about my parents’ (very) surprising reunion at my mother’s deathbed (it’s called Reconcilable Differences).
Here are the pages from WHERE ARE YOU NOW?