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Reader Q&A with Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna


The Missing Piece is the gorgeous new picture book from Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna about a young girl called Sunny and her search for a missing jigsaw piece with her Gran. As they search for the missing piece they meet and make lots of friends along the way and come to realise that nothing was really 'missing' and that they had everything they ever wanted right there all along.

Our readers really enjoyed the story and we particularly liked this review from Heidi and "F" aged 3.

"A beautifully illustrated picture book about going out and meeting new people and making new friends. 
A young girl loves jigsaw puzzles, especially with her Grandma, who gives her a 1000 piece-but unfortunately there's a missing piece, so she goes on a trip around the neighbourhood asking everyone who borrowed the jigsaw if they have the piece... they don't but as she goes she picks up lots of new friends.

A really lovely story with a twist at the end!"

so we offered them the chance to ask the authors Jordan and Beth 10 questions. Read on to find out more.

Reader Q&A with Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna

Is Sunny's journey, making friends, finding her own missing pieces based on personal experience?

Jordan - Sunny’s journey is 100% based on personal experience. I found myself, as an adult, obsessing over completion. Constantly finishing projects and moving on without acknowledging what I’d done. I wanted to remind myself I don’t believe that that’s where real beauty is found. 

Sunny feels nervous about going out into the neighbourhood, what piece of advice would you give a young person about making friends?

Jordan - The beginning bit of making friends can be difficult. A little awkward perhaps. But it’s always worth trying. I find honesty helps. If you find making friends hard then tell someone that. I bet they do too. 

Beth - Be yourself! Everyone else is in exactly the same boat as you and sometimes can feel nervous, that’s ok. You have nothing to loose by putting yourself out there. 

You have both dedicated the book to your Grandmothers, were they your inspiration?

Jordan - Yes. My Guyanese grandmother often read me poetry when I was little. It’s a lot of the reason I am a writer today. I wanted to pay homage to the light she carried. 

This book is very inclusive, which we think is really important to show in picture books from a young age. Do you have any more picture books like this in the pipeline?

Jordan - We’ve got more picture books in the pipeline for sure. The inclusivity is a natural part of my/our lived experience. It’s not planned necessarily. The neighbours of Sunny’s gran were a reflection of my own neighbours growing up in London. I wanted to see those faces in the countryside. 

You are known for being one half of Rizzle Kicks, why the move to children's books

Jordan - I love telling stories. And I’m not fixed on how I tell them. I read a children’s book to my friend’s daughter one day and it caught me. I’d had an idea in my head for a while. So I asked the internet if anybody could put me in touch with an agent. Rest is history. 

Where do you even begin creating such beautiful illustrations? The colours are dazzling!

Beth - Thank you! I started by pulling out my favourite words from each page and sketching in the colours that make me feel, smell or taste what Jordan’s described. At this stage I’m not precious about the end result. It’s a really fun way to collect all of those feelings and for happy accidents to occur! 

The illustration style and the story's message are perfectly matched. How did you come together to collaborate on this? 

Jordan - A lot of it was done over zoom. And then back and forth whenever possible. From what I can gauge, I am more “hands on” than other kid’s book authors? It was really important to me that Beth and I got along and that Beth felt her own story in the book too. I love collaboration and get a kick out of seeing dreams merge. 

Our young reader 'F' aged 3 also has some questions for you:

I get really annoyed when I lose a puzzle piece, what makes you annoyed?

Beth - I get annoyed when I lose stuff too! I always seem to lose pairs of socks!

Jordan - I often get annoyed at myself for forgetting things!! But I’m trying to get better at not doing that. 

My favourite page is the one with the houses that look like teeth. Which is your favourite page?

Jordan - That’s a great page!! My favourite page is the one with the whole gang running with their shadows behind them. 

Do you think Sunny would be my friend?

Jordan - Sunny would most certainly be your friend. You’d be part of the whole gang! There’ll be another search I’m sure. Life is full of adventure! 

Reader Q&A with Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna
Book pages Placeholder Book

The Missing Piece

A heart-warming, fresh and original story about family and friendship from brand-new picture book author, writer and performer Jordan Stephens. Sunny loves jigsaw puzzles - the bigger the better. When she completes one, she gets a warm, happy honeybee buzz. One day, her Gran gives her a ONE-THOUSAND-PIECE puzzle. Piece after piece, all by herself, she puts together the picture, until ... DISASTER! The final piece is missing. Sunny may be small, but she is very determined - so she sets off to find it. As the day whizzes by in a whirl of new places and friends, Sunny discovers that looking for something is every bit as fun as finding it, and that perhaps the missing piece was there all along ...


31st October 2022

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