MacKids Spotlight: Aram Kim

MacKids Spotlight: Aram Kim


You’ve met the creators of the stunning picture book and 2021 Caldecott Medal Winner We Are Water Protectors, but now meet the designer who helped put it all together, Aram Kim! Below, Aram shares more about her role in the creation of this book and the process of how it was made!

It takes a village to make a book. What I truly love about book making process is the collaboration among creators, agents, and so many departments in the publishing house, outside of the publishing house, and many, many readers. Thinking about the long journey of making and raising a book always thrills me.


As a designer, I get to work closely with illustrators and see how they work from the very beginning, making rough sketches, and to the revisions, and to another, and another revision, and to the final art.

I love every step of this long process. Though seeing first round of rough sketches is always an amazement to me, witnessing Michaela’s early sketches was especially astonishing. I had no idea how this somewhat abstract (though with very specific topic) words would be visualized. Then I saw how Michaela beautifully translated the words into her own visual language, and knew that this book would be a treasure.


I am especially grateful that Michaela’s stunning art made this powerful story with the environmental plea so accessible by capturing every viewer’s eyes. I am eternally grateful for how much I learned while working on this book.

Another moment I would like to share was when I received the final art from Michaela by email. We were a bit behind the schedule, and a bit anxious. But when I hurried and opened the files, I was speechless. Not figuratively, but literally. After a few minutes of sitting still, I forwarded the email with the art to [We Are Water Protector’s editor] Mekisha, and walked right over to her office so that we could cry together. And that’s why I love this job so much. The constant awe. The continuous learning. The shared joy and gratitude. We Are Water Protectors was all of that.




We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade
Ages 3-6

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruptiona bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Praise for We Are Water Protectors:

★ “In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice. An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.”—Kirkus, starred review

★ “Goade’s watercolor illustrations fill the spreads with streaming ribbons of water, cosmic backdrops, and lush natural landscapes…. Lindstrom’s spare, poetic text flows with the “river’s rhythm.” Written in response to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, famously protested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe—and others—these pages carry grief, but it is overshadowed by hope in what is an unapologetic call to action.”—Booklist, starred review

★ “Observation is not enough, the book communicates: action is necessary… A passionate call for environmental stewardship.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review