Airstream is excited to announce the release of Billy Steers’ new children’s book, the first officially licensed Airstream-themed children’s book, “Let’s Just Go!” Beautifully written and illustrated by Steers, “Let’s Just Go” is the story of an Airstream travel trailer named Snug. She’s comfortable – and stationary – at her campsite in the Stay-a-While Campground. But when a fiesty truck named TeeVee encourages Snug to get out and explore the greater world beyond her home, Snug realizes how much fun travel can be.
“Snug has never left her fixed camping site, which is fine with her,” said Steers of his new character. “She’s content to stay at home and has only heard scary and discomforting stories from life on the road. In her journey to discovering the joys of travel I tried to include all the fun adventures that we’ve had traveling and camping over the years and of the wonderful people we’ve met along the way.”
Steers has a successful career as a children’s book author. He’s authored and illustrated 21 (and counting) children’s books, many of which are part of his ongoing “Tractor Mac” series. Like Snug the Airstream, Tractor Mac’s world is full of colorful characters and important lessons.
“I have always felt that a children’s book should have a take away, a subtle moral to the story, if you will,” said Steers. “I find that the characters I draw are a brilliant way to convey these kind of messages – whether it’s a hard-working horse, a helpful tractor, or an enthusiastic tow vehicle pulling a reluctant travel trailer. Their actions and expressions can convey so much more than just a written lecture.”
Steers began drawing at a young age. He created pictorial diaries of his daily experiences – a habit that continues to this day. As a kid he was a self-described “doodler,” and in college, Billy was a cartoonist for the student paper.
“I was the kind of kid in fifth grade that would do a sub par book report on Christopher Columbus but have my grade curved up because of the drawings that accompanied the work and the illustrated cover for the project,” he laughed of his early drawing experiences. “I was as focused on the details of the rigging, spars, and sail types then as I am about engine components and animal anatomy in the drawings I do today. My parents and my teachers kept me well supplied with art supplies and I found that when you have pen and paper it’s hard to be bored.”
While some people write in a journal to record the passing of their days, Steers does the same thing in sketches. Since college, he has amassed 37 unlined, hardcover books of sketched journal entries.
“One reason I do it is because I can’t remember what happened last week, let alone two months ago,” he said with a smile. “They cover life events that affect me and my family. There are so many funny things and beautiful happenings that occur in life and I try to capture some of that. There are sad things, too. The passing of friends, the loss of a pet, and tragic events also get noted.”
But art was not his first career calling. After graduating from college, Billy entered the United States Air Force, commissioning as an officer and serving as a pilot. He flew missions in Panama and during the first Gulf War, as well as dozens of humanitarian and air support missions around the world. Today, he flies as a commercial pilot, drawing and painting as much as he can between flights.
After he left active duty in the Air Force, Billy apprenticed with a well-known children’s book author who taught him the ins and outs of writing and illustrating children’s books. During that time he contributed to over forty titles in a variety of formats as a contract artist.
In 1999, Billy’s first children’s book completely written and illustrated by himself hit bookstore shelves. Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm was the first of what would become a lasting series of stories about life on a small farm, and the little tractor who lives and works there. In each Tractor Mac book, Mac learns valuable life lessons from a rotating cast of animals and farm machinery. The books were born out of Billy’s love of antique machinery and farm life.
For now, though, Steers is focused on his newest character – Snug the Airstream.