One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given is the opportunity to write and illustrate children’s books. My first picture book, Twirl, was my longtime dream come true project. It was a message I had in my heart for such a long time and an absolute delight to write a story and paint pictures that help little girls remember that they are perfectly and wonderfully made.

Before I even turned in the first manuscript for Twirl, I wrote a very rough draft for a similar book, especially with boys in mind. The story came quickly but sat untouched on my computer as a rough file, just living as a quiet little dream.

After the great reception of Twirl and lots of questions like where’s the boy version?! I was so excited when my publisher said yes to me writing and illustrating that little dream of a book for boys. With lots of collaboration with Ryan (he came up with the title!), my three teenage sons, my five-year-old nephew, and my incredible editor, I’m so happy to tell you that it’s done! It’s coming soon! And I can’t wait to show you a peek.

Introducing, Build, a happy story with adorable characters, charming illustrations, and a message that all little (and big!) boys need to hear: God created you to make and do amazing things!


There is much to share about this sweet book – the story behind the story, the process of illustrating, and watching it all come together. But for today, let’s talk about the cover!

the cover

I’m one of those who definitely chooses a book by its cover (you too?!) and it feels especially important for a children’s picture book.

The designer from my publishing company came up with a few initial cover comps. Would you like to see them?

One thing we wanted with Build was for it to look good next to Twirl. I love that they are sibling books and we wondered if we liked the idea of them being super similar in design or just compatible? It was fun to see variations of two different options.

Here’s a side-by-side just so you can see:

After looking them over, comparing the different versions, and showing my family and some friends, we all decided we were leaning toward the cover that felt more similar to Twirl. One thing, though, that I wanted to see was how it would look with trees that were a little more northwest-y. So the designer gave me two samples:

Both were cute, but I actually liked the fluffy branches better. So we went back to the other branches and made a bunch of tiny little changes (my publisher is SO gracious to me to let me request so many tweaks!) and after a few more versions we made it to the final, final, final cover!

Isn’t it cute?!

I love that the fort is a little asymmetrical on the page. I love that Mama Bird is perching on the backpack. I love the tiny ant walking up the log. I love the navy stripes that are repeated (but a little different) on the two main characters in the books.

I’ll have much more to share about Build in the upcoming weeks as well as special gifts and surprises that you won’t want to miss.

Thank you so much for your excitement about this project. I truly can not wait for you to hold this book in your hands, read it to the little boys (and girls!) in your life, and share it with friends.

Build officially releases on March 26, 2024, but you can PREORDER A COPY TODAY!

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Hi! I am excited about these free printable activity pages and thought you would be too! Here is the link: https://emilylex.com/build-cover-reveal/