Night & Day Studios' Nat Sims on Peekaboo Barn's Publication

To celebration the release of the Peekaboo Barn board book, Night & Day Studios’ founder, Nat Sims, took a moment to reflect on the road that led to its publication.  We’re proud of the book, and of Nat and Nathan’s work. You can find the Peekaboo Barn book here.


When I was a kid, my dad let me try his manual typewriter. The afterwords of various Piers Anthony novels had convinced me I should become a writer, and the hard-to-press keys made my efforts seem very serious. Hours later I would have a single page of writing to wave in my friends' faces, and my mom in particular loved the idea that I would someday write a novel.

As I met a number of people I considered real writers my aspirations changed: I could become a publisher instead, or a game designer. Years later, some friends and I created Behemoth3, a short-lived publishing company that made monster books for Dungeons & Dragons. We made real, physical books that came with a searchable, hyperlinked PDF download at the same time—in 2004. Sadly, our great illustrator Sang Lee passed away, and we never published the one I wrote. (For you D&D nerds, it was about the remorhaz.)

When we shuttered B3, I returned to my day job, creating educational media for museum exhibitions. We made interactive kiosks, long-playing projected videos, sound pools, banners, backdrops, and text panels. I loved designing the gigantic graphics for exhibits but we relied on fabricators to get them made, and museums to promote our work. In 2008 we started making handheld tours, and once we had an app running on an iPhone, several of my dreams became possible at once. 

We could create stories and games and control everything about how they look and feel. Our first great success was Peekaboo Barn, an effort of dozens of people over the years and a bestseller that launched our business and over a hundred more apps. The only thing was, our apps weren't physical things you could hold in your hand. Yes, you could touch them, but they were ephemeral and battery-powered. I still wanted to make something "real," whatever that means.

And now my strange journey with books and writing has come full circle. We found a great book publisher—Candlewick Press—and worked with them to make the Peekaboo Barn board book. A strange rule of books is that there's an author, and as the original dreamer behind Peekaboo Barn, that title has fallen on me. It feels weird to have "written" a book that is mostly the word moo and similar animal sounds, but I won't deny that it's a thrill to have a book coming out. I hope you like it, and I hope I can share another story with you soon.