Tuesday Debut – Presenting Ann Magee!

Hurray!

After a little hiatus in which we didn’t have any Tuesday Debut-ers, we’re back today with a beautiful, inspiring book by the lovely and talented Ann Magee! Her book actually comes out next week, so you’re getting a sneak preview and you can pre-order your copy from one of the links below 😊

BRANCHES OF HOPE: THE 9/11 SURVIVOR TREE
by Ann Magee
illustrated by Nicole Wong
Charlesbridge Publishing
May 18, 2021
Text is nonfiction, illustrations are of fictional family, ages 4-8.

Intertwined stories—one in words and one in pictures—show how the Survivor Tree’s strength echoed the hope of a nation after harrowing events in New York City in 2001.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Ann! We are so thrilled to have you here with us today to tell us about your journey to publication with this very special book! Where did the idea for this book come from?

ANN: My children and I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum in 2016 where I read a booklet about the story of the Survivor Tree in the gift shop. I immediately thought it would make a lovely picture book—a hopeful story born from a tragic event in history. It’s a story I wish I had known when my children were young and learning about the events of 9/11.

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

ANN: It took about six months to write the book after several months of research. (I was working part-time then). A lot of my “writing” happens in my head first. I’m very visual, which is definitely helpful in writing picture books.

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

ANN: When I draft a picture book manuscript, I write the beginning and the end first, like bookends, so I know the shape of the story. I outlined the story and wrote about 15 drafts. I was writing the true story of the tree’s journey, and in my mind, I visualized the story of a little girl growing up alongside the tree’s recovery, much like my own little girl was doing at the time.

Ann’s writing buddies, Gretchen and Ripley 😊

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

ANN: I shared this manuscript with several critique partners along the way as well as getting a paid critique from an editor at a SCBWI event. I was confident in my vision for this story, so I took the advice that matched that vision and discarded others’ (like the editor who advised I should add a fictional character to the text).

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

ANN: I am unagented. I submitted this manuscript to Yolanda Scott at Charlesbridge on the last possible day for submissions (end of December 2017) after an online-type of conference over the summer 2017.

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

ANN: In June 2018, I got an email from Karen Boss at Charlesbridge asking if the manuscript was still available. I screamed, then responded, “Yes, yes it is.” She offered for it in July. At this time, Carole Boston Weatherford was exploring a role as literary agent and had offered to represent another of my manuscripts earlier that year. I asked if she would represent this one for me as well as I had no experience negotiating contracts, etc. and she said she would.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

ANN: My husband and I went out to a nice dinner to celebrate my signing my first book contract!

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

ANN: This is my first book deal and Charlesbridge is a smaller house, so I expected the advance would be on the lower end of 2K-3K. Royalty—5% on hardcover, 3% on paperback, 20 author copies, and Newbery/Caldecott stipulations were also included in the contract.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

ANN: I felt very comfortable from the beginning of our book-making journey that this important story was in caring, loving hands at Charlesbridge.

We went through three rounds of revisions with a specific focus each time. The first round focused on ‘big picture’ ideas—clarifying the text storyline and the wordless storyline (in the illustrations), looking at the pagination or pacing of the story, and creating a strong ending that tied with the 20th anniversary.

The second round of revisions included more work on the ending and changing the title since another book had just been announced with the title Survivor Tree, which had been my title, too. (I was a bit upset about this at first, but I’m glad now because the new title Branches of Hope encompasses the book’s message so much better.)
There were a few minor tweaks for the last round. We also discussed choices for illustrators and what style goes with our vision for the ‘feel’ of the story.

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

ANN: The illustration process went very smoothly. Luckily, the team at Charlesbridge, the illustrator Nicole Wong, and I had similar visions for this project. I was informed at each step along the way—I saw the sketches, received digital files throughout the process. When I had questions or concerns about the art, they were valued and discussed. I received color proof pages in the mail for me to check for errors before it went to print.

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge

In terms of art notes, I included just a few with my manuscript upon submission to inform the illustrator of a specific setting for some scenes since the story is a true story. For example, at the end Tears rained down, down, down, the Illos. Note reads: reflection pools.

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge
(this one is Ann’s favorite – isn’t it wonderful?!)

As we developed the wordless parallel story for the illustrations, more Illustration notes were needed so Nicole could know what the storyline was, but she had the space to make each scene her own. For example, Nicole knew that the family should be shown having a picnic near the Twin Towers in the front pages of the book before the story begins but illustrating the pears on the picnic blanket was all her—and I love it!

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

ANN: I did not see the advance review from PW, but my editor and marketing director did give me the good news of our Kirkus Star a week or two before it went public. I was able to read the review when they emailed me the good news. Karen emailed me the SJL review at the end of April. We are very happy with the book’s reviews so far!

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

ANN: It took 2 ½ years to finally hold the first copy in my hands, but not much was done for the first year as Charlesbridge wasn’t ready to work on the project yet.  The initial print run is 6,000 copies.

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

ANN: At my request, my two-person marketing team at Charlesbridge (and the design department) created a postcard and bookmark for me to print. They have also arranged several bookstore readings and other possible events that will take place nearer to September. They plan to include the book in Charlesbridge’s virtual exhibits, book buzzes and chats. They will reach out to newspapers who are bound to do stories nearer to the anniversary date.

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

ANN: I’ve reached out to several local bookstores and will be doing a book launch at Words Matter Bookstore in Pitman NJ on the weekend after my release date. I’ll do a reading and a craft related to the book.

Also, Tamara Girardi has included BRANCHES OF HOPE in her 12 Months of Books Challenge.

In the upcoming months, I’ll be featured on Kathy Teaman’s blog and Kidlit 411’s blog.

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

ANN: I started writing seriously in January 2013 when I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Writing Challenge. I spent that first year just immersing myself in learning, taking classes, going to conferences, etc. I sold my first book 5 ½ years later.

SUSANNA: I remember having you in my class in early 2014 😊 What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication? (Or what is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?)

ANN: I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with likeminded people, people who are also traveling the same path. Sharing advice or traversing bumps in the road together is so important in an endeavor that feels very solitary most of the time. I’m so grateful for my critique partners!

Also, I think as a writer, you need to care about the story you’re telling—it has to REALLY matter to you in order for that passion to shine through in the manuscript.

Author Ann Magee

Website: annmagee.net
Twitter: @ann_ammwrite
Instagram: ammwrite

SUSANNA: Thank you so much, Ann, for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! We all so appreciate you sharing your experience and wish you the best of luck with this and future titles!

ANN: Thank you so much, Susanna, for having me on your blog and for sharing my journey with my debut book. It means so much!

Readers, if you have questions for Ann, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Ann’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 😊

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)

Sue Heavenrich – 13 Ways To Eat A Fly

Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)

Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)

Moni Ritchie Hadley – The Star Festival

Sita Singh – Birds Of A Feather

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Sue Heavenrich!

Welcome to this week’s scintillating edition of Tuesday Debut!

Sue Heavenrich has been a long-time follower of this blog, and a devoted participant in Perfect Picture Book Fridays for years, and today I’m thrilled to be welcoming her as the author of her own perfect picture book! What could be more perfect than 13 Ways To Eat A Fly? 😊

13 Ways to Eat a Fly
By Sue Heavenrich
Illustrated by David Clark
Charlesbridge, February 2021
Nonfiction picture book, ages 4-8

Math meets science as a swarm of flies meet their demise. Whether they are zapped, wrapped, liquefied, or zombified, the science is real – and hilariously gross. Includes a (non-human) guide to fine dining, complete with nutritional information for a single serving of flies.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Sue! Thank you so much for joining us today! I don’t think any of us can wait to hear about where the idea for this book came from! Please tell us!

SUE: I was reading something and jotted down “how to eat a fly.” I figured a book about animals and their fly food might be fun… and a good way to highlight the diversity of the order Diptera. Most people think flies are just pests, but they are amazing. Some pollinate the flowers in my garden, and some even eat crop pests!

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

SUE: Counting the research and revisions – five or more years. I started with the basic idea: pair up predators with specific flies they eat. That took more time than I expected, and I even emailed a few experts. I created a spreadsheet of predators and flies, then looked for 13 different fly families to highlight.        

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

SUE: Oh yes! In its first version it was pretty “listy”. I imagined each spread presenting a fly and its consumer. I think it went through about a dozen revisions. It needed more context, so I added an introduction, and some back matter. I sent it out, got a bit of interest, though the comments were usually along the lines of “this is interesting but…” it needed a hook. I put it aside for a few months and then one day while smacking cluster flies with a swatter I found myself saying “one down, twelve to go”. I’m pretty sure a lightbulb went off over my head and I restructured the entire manuscript. It became a reverse counting book. At the same time, I was working on a middle grade book about eating insects with Chris Mihaly, and I began thinking – from a predator’s point of view – what would make flies a good food source? I goofed around, creating a nutrition label (flies are full of protein) and a dining guide for insect-eaters concerned about whether the flies they order in a restaurant are “locally sourced”. After another handful of revisions, and feedback from critique partners, I felt this new, improved manuscript was ready for submission.

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

SUE: I took my original story to the 2012 Falling Leaves nonfiction retreat where I met my editor, Alyssa Pusey (Charlesbridge). I got great feedback and submitted it to her. But, in fly terms, my book was still a larva and needed to mature – and Alyssa suggested that I revise and resubmit. After a couple years of agent rejections and feedback, I realized that I needed to let go of what I had and find a completely different structure. So appropriate – this is exactly what happens when a fly larva undergoes metamorphosis: it totally dissolves and rebuilds something completely different. So four years later I finally resubmitted the (17th? 29th?) revision.

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

SUE: I didn’t so much get “the call” as an email from Alyssa saying – hey, this has potential, and are you willing to revise? After a couple of months of back and forth with revisions, she emailed that she was taking it to acquisitions, and could I answer two quick questions. Then a couple weeks later it was “good news, we’d like to make an offer”.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

SUE: I thought I would be jumping up and down and popping the cork from a champagne bottle, but the truth is… I just jumped up and down a few times. I’m pretty sure chocolate was involved.

SUSANNA: Ah! A kindred spirit! 😊 Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

SUE: I knew, when I submitted to Charlesbridge, that the advance would be smaller than other houses, but the quality of their books is so high that I wanted them to publish my book. I did negotiate for more author copies.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

SUE: Given the revisions I’d made prior to signing the contract, I thought everything was pretty much finished. But over the next two years we continued with occasional revisions. Overall, though, Alyssa enthusiastically supported my initial vision for the story and I felt like we were working as a team.

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

SUE: I was included to some extent in the whole process. It started with an email from Alyssa: what style of illustration did I see for my book? Did I have any suggestions for illustrators? I sent her a short list. Some weeks later, she asked what I thought about David Clark. I am a big fan of his work and was so thrilled that he would be part of the team – even though it meant waiting longer for publication.

Because 13 Ways to Eat a Fly is, at its core, nonfiction, I created a file of reference photos of fly-eaters and their flies. I had also included art notes in the manuscript (listing the specific flies). Through the process I got to see sketches, and was asked for comments. And I got a package of proofs in the mail. It was so cool to see how David had interpreted the story! He’s a genius.

text copyright Sue Heavenrich 2021, illustration copyright David Clark 2021, Charlesbridge

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?

SUE: The publicists sent me a preview of BookList review – it got a starred review! And I found the Kirkus review online.

SUSANNA: Starred review first time out – that is amazing! Congratulations! How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

SUE: At least ten years.

SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication?

SUE: It is easy to be discouraged. I had faith in this book, and I kept telling myself that it was worthy of a book jacket. But I also set projects aside when I need a break. And truthfully, this business is so subjective that you can’t let rejection mean anything more than “it’s not right for me at this time in the universe.”

Author Sue Heavenrich

Agency Website: https://www.stormliteraryagency.com/sueheavenrich
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SueHeavenrichWriter
Website: www.sueheavenrich.com
Blog: https://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com/

SUSANNA: Sue, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your journey to publication! I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the best with this and future titles!

Readers, if you have questions for Sue, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Sue’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 😊

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

Gnome Road Publishing

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Kelly Carey!

Welcome to Tuesday. Debut, Everyone!

Today I’m delighted to introduce you to Kelly Carey!  We’re going to jump right in because she has a lot of great information to share that I know you’re going to find very interesting and helpful.  Let me just take this opportunity to say don’t miss her video on the Charlesbridge site (link below) – she did a terrific job and, as a writer who does not perform well on camera!, I admire her greatly! 😊

Title: How Long Is Forever?
Author: Kelly Carey
Illustrator: Qing Zhuang
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Pub Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Picture Book – Fiction
Age Range: 3-7

 

How Long Is Forever

Synopsis: In How Long Is Forever?, Mason is waiting for the first blueberry pie of the season and it’s taking forever. At least that’s what Mason thinks, until Grandpa asks him to prove it and sends Mason searching the family farm to find the meaning of forever.

Fans of Guess How Much I Love You will love figuring out how long forever is alongside Mason and Grandpa.

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Kelly!  Congratulations on your debut and thank you so much for joining us today to share your publication experience!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

KELLY: The nugget that inspired How Long Is Forever? happened when I was a teenager. A song I loved came on the radio and I excitedly squealed, “Turn it up! This is the best song ever.” My friend’s Dad scoffed, “Really? This is the best song ever?”

That exchange stuck and launched the interaction between Mason and his Grandpa in How Long Is Forever?. Mason is waiting for the first blueberry pie of the season and it’s taking forever. At least that’s what Mason thinks, until Grandpa sends Mason searching the farm to find the meaning of forever. I loved the idea that what can seem like the best song ever to a teenager or feel like forever to an eight year old can be very different for an older adult.

The idea for a story can come from childhood memories that linger in your brain. Those standout moments that hold a reserved space in your mind, are probably the moments that will resonate with a reader. Those are the archives you should mine when you are looking for a book idea.

By the way, my friend’s father was right. Thomas Dolby’s, She Blinded Me With Science was NOT the best song ever! And Mason is going to find out that waiting for a blueberry pie to bake is not forever.

 

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book? Did you go through many revisions?

KELLY: I wrote the first draft of How Long Is Forever? in 2013. At that point, the story was in first person and almost 800 words and my main character was a boy named Billy waiting for his parents to bring a new sibling home from the hospital. The opening line read:

Grandpa’s rocker creaked slowly on the front porch. I tapped my foot on the front steps.

By 2014 the story was in third person and just under 500 words. In all the manuscript went through six major revisions and a bunch of minor tweaks. I got help from critique partners and writing workshops. The final draft that sold in 2017 was about a boy waiting for the first blueberry pie of the season. It went through a few more revisions with the help of my editor, Karen Boss. Now, the opening line reads:

Grandpa’s rocker creaked. Mason’s foot tapped.

Patience and persistence is the key to creating a manuscript that will become a book.

How Long Is Forever - int

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

KELLY: This is a hard one. Looking back, I know I’ve sent drafts out on submission much earlier than I should have. It’s the classic mistake. But it’s easy to get excited about a project and push it out too soon. It’s important to let manuscripts marinate. If you are really excited about a manuscript, and you think it’s ready for submission, the best thing you can do is put it away for a week or two. Sometimes, when you pull it out again, you’ll see the places that still warrant revision. I recommend reading your story aloud and taking it for a few turns through critique group before submission. This method helped with How Long Is Forever?.

 

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

KELLY: I am unagented and I submitted directly to the publisher. I credit The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA for my first book sale. I took classes offered by Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge Publishing at The Writers’ Loft and Karen bought How Long Is Forever? about a year after that class. I could argue that my book would have found its path to publication on its own merits, but I think connecting with Karen, forming a professional relationship through the classes, and applying her excellent teaching to my manuscript, certainly helped speed up the process.

writer's loft

Karen Boss Charlesbridge logo

Figure 1 Karen Boss, Senior Editor, Charlesbridge Publishing

 

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

KELLY: Karen Boss at Charlesbridge actually took another manuscript of mine to acquisitions and it died there. I think she was more disappointed than I was judging by the huge hug she gave me the next time we saw each other. So while I was overjoyed to get “the call” for How Long Is Forever, I was a bit reserved until I actually had the contract in hand. And the lag between “the call” and the actual contract can be weeks or months – its super nerve racking! My contract came just before Christmas and I actually wrapped up a gift with the news and gave it to my mom on Christmas Eve – that was the best moment ever!

 

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

KELLY: I love the Charlesbridge model. They offer a lower advance but keep the book on their backlist for a longer time. I liked the idea that my book will continue to be sold for years. As a result my advance was smaller but I will get 5% royalty on hard cover, 3% on paperback and I just got my 15 author copies in the mail. And yes, I did the obligatory video reveal of the un-packaging.

 

 

SUSANNA: There aren’t too many things as amazing as opening the box with the copies of your very first book! 😊 Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

KELLY: It was so helpful that I had taken a class with my editor so I had a sense of her work style and we had a rapport before we began the process. Karen did ask me to make a major change to the ending that would allow my main character to have the last word, and it was spot on!

The other changes were more minor word tweaks and I really appreciated that Karen and I collaborated on making those edits. There was plenty of room for me to accept, or push back on her feedback and the results were a stronger story that I’m very proud to put out into the world.

Kelly's Workspace

Kelly’s work space

 

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

KELLY: I had more of an opportunity for input into the illustration process than I expected.

My editor sent me the names of three illustrators they were considering and asked for my input from the start. I instantly fell in love with Qing Zhuang’s work and advocated for her to be the illustrator. I’m so happy I did and that Charlesbridge was able to bring her into the project!

While Qing was working, I had no contact with her and my manuscript had NO illustration notes. It was tough but Qing’s creative energy was able to flow without any interruptions from me and the results were more than I expected!

I was sent black and white sketches, then color files and finally proofs and was invited to send my comments at each phase.

Illustrator Qing Zhuang

Illustrator Qing Zhuang

 

Sketch   Finished Art
Sketch and final of one illustration

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?  What was that like?

KELLY: I knew when advance copies were sent and started clicking a google search with my book title and Kirkus pretty much daily. Yes, it was insane BUT as a result I think I found my Kirkus review the minute it went out and I was actually the one who shared it with my editor!

I know Kirkus can be tough and I was thrilled that they gave time to two debut creators and that they gave How Long Is Forever? a glowing review https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kelly-carey/how-long-is-forever/ . I know we have a great book, but it was wonderful to have that confirmed by Kirkus.

from Kirkus

 

SUSANNA: (Just butting my two cents in, but in case anyone doesn’t know, you can make google alerts for your name, your book titles, etc so you’ll get a notification if anything goes up about you or your book on the internet!) How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

KELLY: From the signed contract to publication, it was two years. It seems long, and it is, but that gave me plenty of time to get all my marketing ducks in a row. I worked on my website, contacted blogs for guest interviews, talked to bookstores about visits, and designed school visits.

 

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

KELLY: My publisher sent advanced reader copies out and helped me design downloadable activity sheets. You can check those out here https://www.charlesbridge.com/products/how-long-is-forever. My publisher has also helped me set up bookstore visits and they have set up author videos on their website. You can find the videos here: https://www.charlesbridge.com/pages/remote-author-content

 

 

activity guideactivity

Link to Activity Pages: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0750/0101/files/how-long-is-forever-activity-guide.pdf?4191

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

KELLY: The two best things I did to prepare to market my book was first to take Colleen Riordan’s Fan By Fan online course. Colleen’s course broke down the huge beast of marketing a book into doable chunks with great instructions. I highly recommend her course. You can find information on it here: https://courses.wildinkmarketing.com/p/fan-by-fan.

The next thing I did was join The Soaring ‘20s Debut group. We are a group of authors and illustrators who all have debut’s launching. There is a huge learning curve to all the marketing efforts that go into a book launch; pooling my energy and knowledge with those of 36 other folks has been key!

I could never accomplish everything individually that the debut group is doing collectively. We’ve got folks working on our website, a team running a blog, a committee handling giveaways and the efforts go on and on! The amazing illustrators in the group have produced wonderful book birthday graphics that I would never have been able to manage. Some members are librarians while others are booksellers and their expertise is super helpful.

My advice is to seek out a group of folks with debuts launching and pool your efforts. Kirsten Larson, author of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS (Calkins Creek, 2020) has put together a fabulous guide for starting a debut marketing group. You can check it out here: https://www.soaring20spb.com/author-illustrator-resources

 

soaring 20s   swag

 

SUSANNA: Wow!  So much great information!  Thanks, Kelly!  How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

KELLY: It took me 15 years from the time I got serious to the first book sale.

 

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

KELLY: For me getting serious met taking a class on children’s literature through The Institute for Children’s Literature. That class helped me figure out the basics, learn about the industry and get feedback on my writing. I sold my first magazine fiction story the same year I took the class, and then I was hooked. I’ve sold a magazine story every year since and kept taking classes and workshops to hone my craft. All that work paid off. You can learn about the classes at the Institute for Children’s Literature here: https://www.instituteforwriters.com/free-aptitude-test/about/institute-of-childrens-literature/

 

Kelly Carey

Author Kelly Carey

Social Media: 

website:http://www.kcareywrites.com/    and   https://www.qingthings.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/KCareyWrites
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellycareywrites/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCareyWrites

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series, Kelly, and paying it forward to other writers!  You provided a lot of really interesting information that I know readers are going to find extremely helpful.  We so appreciate you sharing your expertise and wish you all the best of luck with this and future titles!

Readers, if you have questions for Kelly, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Kelly’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore (order signed copies)
Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sonny’s Bridge

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and this week I have a legitimate perfect picture book to share with you (after last week’s falling down on the job 😊)

Wait until you see this book, due out in May, so you’ll have to wait just a little to read it, but you can pre-order your copy today or request it from your local library!

Sonny's Bridge

Title: Sonny’s Bridge

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: Keith Mallett

Charlesbridge, May 21, 2019, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: music (jazz), finding yourself

Opening:
Misty night.
Summer night.
East River New York City night.
You hear that?
     Hear what?
That.  THAT!
     Somebody’s playing the saxophone.  So what?
So that’ Sonny Rollins, that’s what.
     Wait.  WHAT? That’s Sonny Rollins? The Sonny Rollins?
     What the heck is Sonny Rollins doing on the Williamsburg Bridge
     this time of night?
Nobody knows, man.  Nobody knows.  ‘Cept Sonny, and
He. Ain’t. Sayin’.

Brief Synopsis: The 1950s was a great time to be a jazz musician.  Sonny Rollins began playing saxophone as a kid in Harlem and rocketed to fame at a young age.  But the demands of two shows a day every day for ten years took their toll, as did the pressure of people’s expectations of greatness.  Sonny took a break from performing, but he couldn’t take a break from music – it was who he was.  He had to find a place to play where he could feel the music and it wouldn’t bother anyone else.  Williamsburg Bridge was the perfect place for Sonny to restore himself, practice and play to his heart’s content, find his own music, until he was ready to return to recording with new self-confidence.

Links To Resources: the back matter of the book is a wealth of resources.  The author tells  about his own experience with jazz; there are “Liner Notes: About The Bridge Album”; there is a timeline of Sonny’s life; quotes from Sonny: and resources for learning more.

Additional information from a conversation with the author (thank you, Barry 😊): when asked how he’d come to “write in jazz”, Barry answered that he had written and performed poetry in college and always loved the Beat poets.  That combined with his acquired love of jazz made the vibe come naturally.

Why I Like This Book: I loved this book for the history – the information about Sonny’s life and music, the way the title page looks like a vinyl record album with the needle dropping to play, the message that even great artists can succumb to pressure and moments of self-doubt –  but even better was the way the story was told.  Barry literally wrote in jazz.  You can feel it in the opening lines above.  And some of my favorite lines:

Painting rhythms with colors nobody ever seen before.

Now Sonny’s gotta find a place no one goes.
Where he can make notes cry and squeak, beg and plead, 
bend ’em up, bend ’em sideways.

and

Dark shades on to keep the inside from getting out
and the outside from getting in.

All of those lines could just as easily pertain to writers, or artists of any kind – looking for new ways to express themselves, the privacy to experiment, feel and perfect, and a way to hold onto creativity without distraction or doubt creeping in to ruin it.

In addition, Keith Mallett’s art is amazing and absolutely perfect for the book.  Deep blue and purple nighttime scenes, deep orange sunset behind building silhouettes, and brighter day time scenes.  I love this page:

fullsizeoutput_16e8

text copyright Barry Wittenstein 2019, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2019

I apologize – my iphone photo doesn’t do it justice!  The blues and purples are much better than this in real life!

Overall this is an amazing book with a lot to offer educationally and artistically.  A great addition to any classroom, library, or kids’ room shelf!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Gabe And Goon

Guess what today is, everyone?

It is the birthday of my dear friend, talented author/illustrator, Iza Trapani!!!

Happy Birthday, Iza!

And what better way to celebrate than by sharing one of her amazing books with you?!

But first, let’s have some cake 🙂

(And as long as we’re celebrating birthdays with cake, let me take this opportunity to wish Happy Birthday to my Brown Dog who will be 11 tomorrow!)

Isn’t it lovely to have birthdays and cake? 🙂

But now, to Iza’s wonderful book!  Not her newest, which I shared back in the fall, but one of my favorites!

Gabe and Goon

Title: Gabe and Goon

Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani

Charlesbridge, July 2016, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-6

Themes/Topics: monsters, friendship, humor, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: “Gabe wasn’t scared of monsters.
He hoped to see one soon.
Well, hiding in his closet
Was a real live monster, Goon.

Brief Synopsis: Gabe is not afraid of monsters.  In fact, he longs to meet one.  Goon lives in Gabe’s closet, but he is terrified of children!  When they meet, Goon does his best to scare Gabe away but nothing works.  But though he’s unsuccessful as a scary monster, he makes a great friend when something comes along that does scare Gabe.

Links To Resources: draw a monster you would like to meet; write a story about what you would do if you met a monster; 25 Crazy Monster Crafts for Kids; 20 Monster Recipes & Snacks For Kids

Why I Like This Book: this is such a fun twist on the idea of kids being afraid of monsters, since in this story it’s the other way around.  Poor Goon does his best to be scary and all Gabe does is laugh.  Gabe wants to be friends but is unintentionally terrifying Goon with his nose-blowing and sneezing (he has a cold.)  But when Goon realizes that Gabe isn’t so brave about everything, it bolsters his confidence a bit and the two become friends.  The art is warm and cozy and inviting.  Goon is an adorable monster.  There is plenty of humor.  Written in Iza’s trademark engaging rhyme which makes for a great read-aloud, this is a fun read kids will love!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Old MacDonald Had A… Zoo?

Psst!  The word on the street is it’s Friday!

This may be a completely unfounded rumor.

After all, due to the holiday last Monday it doesn’t really feel like Friday yet, does it?

But let’s go with popular opinion 🙂

I have a fabulously fun Perfect Picture Book to share with you today.  Get ready to enjoy! 🙂

Old MacDonald

Title: Old MacDonald Had A… Zoo?

Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani

Charlesbridge, September 12 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: animals (farm and zoo), nursery rhyme retelling, language (prepositions)

Opening: “Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O,
And on that farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O.
With a moo moo here, and a moo moo there,
Here a moo, there a moo,
Everywhere a moo moo,
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

Brief Synopsis: Old MacDonald is tending his farm, milking his cow, minding his own business when along comes a herd of disruption!  What on earth are a bunch of zoo animals doing on Old MacDonald’s farm???!!!

Links To Resources: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others – think up groups of animals where 3 match in some way (farm, zoo, jungle, aquatic, color, pattern, food preference, feathers, fins, number of legs, tail, etc.) and the 4th doesn’t and get kids to tell you what the 3 have in common and why the 4th doesn’t match; draw your favorite farm animal and tell why it’s your favorite; what animal would YOU invite to Old MacDonald’s farm and how would your song verse go?; play Old MacDonald Says and practice the position words from the story – above, below, near, far, high, low, etc…

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 8.12.13 PM

text and illustration copyright Iza Trapani 2017

Why I Like This Book: Everyone knows the familiar story/song of Old MacDonald and his farm…but this version takes it to a whole new level as a bunch of escaped zoo animals wander in and start making themselves at home, much to the surprise of the regular farm inhabitants and to Old MacDonald’s chagrin!  The rhyme is perfect and fun to read aloud, telling a humorous story (and as an added bonus using a lot of positional words (above, below, near, far, high, low, etc.) so kids get practice in understanding the physical relationship of things.)  The art is lively and full of delightful hidden details.  And the facial expressions of both Old MacDonald and the animals are priceless 🙂  An all-around fun tale that will have little ones singing along!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

P.S.  You may have noticed that Halloween is right around the corner, and you know what THAT means…  the annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!!!  Stay tuned for details, hopefully coming early next week so you’ll have time to write, polish, and perfect!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Waiting For Pumpsie

Hey Everyone!

After our weeks off for the Valentiny Contest, it’s finally Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And as I believe I mentioned on Wednesday… and am likely to keep mentioning 🙂 … spring is right around the corner.  (I am choosing to ignore the fact that the weather people in this neck of the woods are predicting a decidedly un-spring-like 8 degrees tonight!)  With spring comes baseball, so what better time for a book about baseball – with some history and civil rights to make it even better?!

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s Perfect Picture Book which comes to us from a talented debut author with more titles coming soon!

waiting-for-pumpsie

Title: Waiting For Pumpsie

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: London Ladd

Charlesbridge, February 2017,  historical fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: civil rights/race relations, sports (baseball)

Opening: “I’m Bernard, and I’m crazy, crazy, crazy about the Red Sox.  Everybody in Boston is.  It’s just something you get born into.  We’re lucky, I guess.
We always want the Sox to win.  But Mama says we gotta root for all the colored players, no matter what team they’re on.

Brief Synopsis: From the jacket: “It’s 1959.  Bernard lives in Boston, and he dreams about a day when a baseball player who looks like him will play for his beloved Red Sox.  Bernard’s mother says change is coming soon.  Bernard’s father says she’s always right.  But they are all disappointed when no black player is called up from the minors to start the season.”  Will Bernard ever get to see someone like him play for the Sox?

Links To Resources: back matter in the book includes an author’s note with historical information; list of first black players on every MLB team with photos and bios; history for kids – civil rights movements; with your children or students, discuss a time when they were unfairly excluded from something – how did it make them feel? draw a picture of the situation, write a letter to the person who excluded them, or write a poem about how it felt.

pumpsie1

Why I Like This Book: I love books that give young readers a slice of history encapsulated in an engaging story.  One of the best things about this book is Bernard’s voice.  Although he’s a fictional character, he feels real.  He sounds believable.  His enthusiasm for baseball in general and the Red Sox in particular comes through clearly, along with his acute awareness that his team is the only holdout in the major leagues – the only team that has yet to play an African-American.  When at last Pumpsie Green gets his chance, helping the Red Sox to a win, Bernard and his family are there to witness the historic moment.  I think my favorite line in the book is: “The Sox win.  After the game, I stop walking for a minute and turn around.  I look at Fenway and the crowd and tell my eyes to take a picture.”  Isn’t that just wonderful?  Haven’t we all had moments like that when we try to commit every single detail to memory so we’ll never forget?  A wonderful choice for baseball fans, young historians, or anyone who likes a good story!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everybody!

Is everyone ready for the Year of the Rooster?  And not just any rooster!  The Year of the Fire Rooster?

The Fire Rooster is characterized by creativity, passion and energy, so I think (hope!) we have a good year ahead!

In celebration of Chinese New Year, I have a terrific book to share.

goldy-luck

Title: Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas

Written By: Natasha Yim

Illustrated By: Grace Zong

Charlesbridge, January 2014, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: retelling of classic tale, holidays (Chinese New Year), taking responsibility

Opening: “When Goldy Luck was born her mother said, “Year of the Golden Dragon – very lucky year.  This child will have good luck.”
“She has a face as round as a gold coin,” said her father.  “This child will bring great wealth.”
But Goldy had neither great wealth or good luck.  In fact, she could never seem to keep money in her piggy bank, and she had a habit of breaking things.”

goldy-luck-1

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

Brief Synopsis: Goldy Luck is sent to deliver turnip cakes to the Chan family for Chinese New Year in spite of the fact that she’s sleepy and hasn’t had breakfast yet.  When she arrives, the Chans are not home, so she samples their congee, tries out their chairs, and naps in Little Chan’s bed, leaving chaos in her wake.

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes an author’s note about traditions of Chinese New Year, a diagram and explanation of the Chinese zodiac, and a recipe for turnip cakes; Goldy Luck blog post with activities from 2nd Grade Snickerdoodles

goldy-3

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

Why I Like This Book: I love retellings of classic tales, and this is a fun one.  It takes Goldilocks and the Three Bears to China to celebrate Chinese New Year 🙂  Although the story follows the basic format of the original, it departs after the Chans (panda bears in this version :)) come home.  Goldy initially runs away (as she does in the original story) but her conscience gets the better of her and she decides to take responsibility for her actions and returns to the Chans’s home to help tidy up.  The ending makes for a big improvement over the original 🙂  And I love that so much back matter is included, making it so easy to expand on the use of the book.  The art is bright and engaging, ending with a sweet picture of Goldy and Little Chan sharing turnip cake, the rug underneath them a depiction of the Chinese zodiac 🙂

goldy-2

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂