Starting Points: Dan Bar-el discussing A Fish Named Glub

An ongoing series wherein CWILL BC writers and illustrators connect a picture or an item to one of their books.

inspiration for Glub

I confess that the photo above isn’t an actual one but rather a cheaply made composite, a re-enactment, as it were, of something I saw which inspired this story.

During a school tour to Brampton, Ontario four or five years ago, I stayed in a less than great hotel and dined (once) at an adjoining restaurant of equal merit. Inside the place was a huge fish tank; seriously, I’m talking about the size of a bachelor apartment in NYC. And inside this monstrous aquarium were just water and one small unremarkable fish. Nothing else. Just water … and the fish. I felt so bad for him/her. I mean I had a real desire to “liberate” the fish … but I was in Brampton and it’s night and it’s February. So no, sadly, that didn’t happen. For many weeks though afterwards I kept thinking about this poor fish and this very empty existence is must have lead. How does any creature, person or fish, form an identity if there is nothing in their surroundings to work with? I thought of humans coming into the world with a list of important questions. Who am I? Where do I come from? What do I need? What do I do? What is my purpose? That last question made me think of artists and how grateful I am for what artists of any stripe teach me.

A Fish Named Glub is the story of a fish in similar circumstances, found abandoned and rescued by Foster, the owner of a greasy spoon. Set during the Depression, Foster, like his hard working regulars, is down and out but has unrequited dreams. For one, he would rather be a sailor than a cook, and two, he has a crush on Jenny, the single mom who comes in with her daughter. As Glub understands more and more about himself, answering all the big questions, he discovers he has the power to change people’s lives. Glub becomes the catalyst for Foster’s happiness.

A Fish Named Glub

A Fish Named Glub, written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, will be published by Kids Can Press in April 2014.

About Dan Bar-el

I am a children's writer. I write picture books, middle grade novels and graphic novels. Also angry tweets, once in a while.
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11 Responses to Starting Points: Dan Bar-el discussing A Fish Named Glub

  1. Norma says:

    I love the story already, Dan, and can’t wait to see the whole book with what look like marvellous illustrations.

  2. This sounds wonderful. What an imagination!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to join Glub in that desert made of water.
    Silvana G.
    (looking forward to read the book)

  4. Dan Bar-el says:

    Why, Silvana? Are you looking for a break from a hectic life these days? :) I hope your Jewish Book Festival presentation goes wonderfully today!

    • Anonymous says:

      I just feel to support Glub. He needs a friend.
      The workshop was great and I was honored by a surprise visit: Joan Stuchner and Silvana Bevilacqua joined the audience. I wish Glub could come too :-)

  5. Darlene says:

    I love the idea of this book!

  6. Heather Kellerhals-Stewart says:

    Even love the name GLUB – well done Dan

  7. Dan Bar-el says:

    Thanks Heather. Originally, it was always my intention to call the story Glub, and then, fairly recently, another picture book came out with that title, grumble, grumble …

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