While Laurel Mills and Michelle Hyde collaborated on their first children’s book – the whimsical bedtime lullaby Night Night Birmingham – they fretted a little about how it would be received by members of its target audience.
Such as Hyde’s two-year-old daughter.
“What if Maddie didn’t like it?” she said. “I hesitated to show it to her at first. She’s shut down some really good books.”
Mills had similar concerns about her four-year-old cousin. “He’s very straightforward with me.”
They needn’t have worried. Reviews from children have been overwhelmingly favorable, and they haven’t been bad from parents, either.
“It’s great,” said Hyde, whose vivid illustrations complement Mills’ concise rhyming text. “People are excited about it. There’s been a lot of support. Birmingham is really nice.”
Take a listen to Laurel and Michelle reading from the book:
The support may reflect Mills’ and Hyde’s love for the Magic City. Mills is a third generation Birmingham resident who returned to her hometown after spending time in Chicago and Washington, D.C., while Hyde relocated here from Pennsylvania. They first worked together at the now-defunct Lipstick magazine and developed the idea for Night Night Birmingham after Hyde received a children’s book about the landmarks of Philadelphia as a baby shower gift.
“There was nothing like it in the Birmingham market,” Mills said. “So we chose to highlight places that are iconic to Birmingham, places kids would either recognize because they’ve been there or want to go to after seeing Michelle’s drawings.”
Published in August, the book is available throughout metro Birmingham. A full list of locations is available on their website, www.mynightnight.com. Mills and Hyde recommend it as a holiday gift.
“For people visiting Birmingham, it can give you everything you did in book form. You can relive memories of your trip through the book,” Mills said. “Grandparents are telling us they like it for their grandchildren who live far away. Through the book, the kids can remember what they did at grandma and grandpa’s. And it’s great to help children who live here learn about their hometown. Kids want to be proud of where they’re from.”
“I hope it comes through a lot in the book how much we both love this city,” Hyde said. “The South doesn’t always have the brightest of lights shining on it, and we’re proud of the way we can show off Birmingham through the book.”