A Look at the Inspiration Behind Maybe

Sep 27, 2019
Compendium

New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada has written a captivating new children’s book about the incredible potential in all of us. Maybe follows the adventures of a curious young girl and her piglet companion. Their journey leads them through an exquisite wonderland as they explore a question that nudges each of us at one point or another: what is my purpose?

Illustrated by Gabriella Barouch, Maybe is filled with stunning visual reminders that there are miracles everywhere you look—and that your presence is miraculous.

We chatted with Kobi about his inspiration behind the book. Here’s what he shared:

What inspired you to write Maybe?
I think at some point in our lives we wonder about our purpose and significance. I know I do. So I wanted to create a book that would inspire and help readers to ponder the endless potential we all have, because it is vast and, in many cases, untapped.

Gabriella has been asked to illustrate many children’s books before, but this is the first request she has accepted. What made your collaboration special? 
Gabriella previously turned down 50 opportunities to illustrate other books. Her style of illustration is very detailed and time-consuming, and she just hadn’t found a book that she was willing to make such a huge sacrifice of time for. That is until our book! She spent over a year and a half illustrating Maybe and you can really see all that time and effort she put into the details on each page.


The book is filled with beautiful reminders of our ability to make a difference and that youth is no barrier to impact. Why is this message important to you?
I think it is really important that kids, and people of all ages, realize that each of us is completely unique. And that we are each uniquely capable of creating positive change. All of us, from time to time, have self-doubts and wonder if we matter. My goal for this book is to remind readers just how amazing they really are, and that the influence they can have will exceed their wildest expectations.

There’s a gripping spread where the young girl is cuddling a polar bear—and we’re reminded that maybe we are here to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Can you share more about this idea?
That particular spread means a lot to me personally, because it represents how we need to speak up not only for ourselves and our own well-being, but also for all the other irreplaceable creatures that are counting on us to get involved, to lean in, and to fight for the survival and sustainability of our planet.


In the dedication you share your belief that the quality of our lives mirrors the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. How did that idea influence this book? 
I think questions are one of the greatest tools we have for change. Our self-talk is often in the form of questions, and our brains are literally hardwired to search for answers to questions posed. Once we recognize this, we can use questions to lift us up instead of tear us down. For instance, instead of asking, “Why do I always fail?” you can ask, “What will it take to succeed?” We have to be careful how we talk to ourselves because we are listening. And so I felt that asking questions in Maybe was an exciting way to explore potential and possibilities.

What big questions have you found yourself asking recently?
Hmmm. I’ve asked myself lately, if I only had a year to live, what haven’t I done that I really want to do? And the thing is, I believe the answers matter less than the questions. In many ways, if we ask the right questions, we can live into the answers.

Explore the exciting questions of Maybe here.