What happens when you bring together a New York Times best-selling author and a New York Times best-selling illustrator? Finding Muchness author, Kobi Yamada, and illustrator, Charles Santoso, teamed up to create a captivating all-ages picture book about how to add more life to life. The book follows the whimsical adventures of a curious little duckling. Along the way, readers take a journey to rediscover their own muchness—the joy, curiosity, and bravery we are all born with, but often lose sight of as we get older. The affirming words are encouragement to choose courage, care deeply, and take bold steps toward the desires of your heart.
We chatted with Kobi and Charles about their creative collaboration. Here’s what they had to say:
Kobi, Finding Muchness is such a unique picture book in that it offers gems of wisdom to readers in every season of life. Can you tell us more about the message?
Kobi: Finding Muchness is a book about gratitude, abundance, possibilities, and full-heartedly living our best life. When setting out to write Finding Muchness, I wanted to make it for people of all ages. At times, life can feel tough and overwhelming, or just plain ordinary, and this book is about encouraging and reminding readers that they have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to.
And, what do you hope readers will experience as they read?
Kobi: It is my hope that readers will be touched, moved, and inspired by Finding Muchness. We all know what it’s like to be excited, to chase a dream, to hope for the best, but sometimes life gets so hectic, or busy, or stressful, that we can forget these things. This little guide is about remembering them again. Reconnecting to the joy of being alive, recognizing how much we matter.
The innocence of the book’s little duckling adds a special kind of magic to the life lessons shared throughout. Can you tell us more about the main character?
Kobi: It was such fun to brainstorm with Charles about who our character was going to be and why. We both felt that the little duckling was a great way to represent feeling small in a huge world. But, at the same time, to show that regardless of your size, you still hope and dream of doing great things. I love how Charles is able to create such detail and texture with simply his pencil.
Do you have a favorite spread?
Kobi: One of my favorite spreads is toward the back of the book when our duckling is adding fireflies to the starry night sky. It is incredible how Charles captured the depth and beauty of the Milky Way in such a dreamy and aspirational way.
Charles: If I really had to choose, my favorite spread would be of the duck resting and sniffing the flower.
Charles, your illustrations are filled with such detail and wonder. What mediums did you use and is there anything you hope people will notice?
Charles: I used pencil on paper. I then brought the drawing to the computer to do the enhancement and color addition with Adobe Photoshop. Every detail, expression, pose, and line direction in the illustrations were done slowly and carefully. I hope people stop a little bit more than usual on every page to enjoy the illustration while savoring Kobi’s inspiring words.
And how does the book’s message speak to you personally?
Charles: What I love about Finding Muchness is how universal but personal the message is. I felt that I was the duck and it was amazing to get encouraged by each word on the spread when I illustrated the book.
Yes, the message of this book really is universal, ready to meet you wherever you are on your journey.
Kobi: It is my hope that this little book will be given and shared. It would make a great gift for graduation, retirement, a birthday, a new job, new business, or as a pick-me-up during tough times. It is also an inspiring children’s picture book and can be a great discussion guide to encourage a growth mindset, leaning in, building confidence, knowing you matter, and making a difference. I like to think of it as a gift to inspire positivity, promise, and possibilities.
Discover the magic of Finding Muchness in your life today.