Bub by Elizabeth Rose Stanton Cover Reveal

Today I’m thrilled and honored to share with you the first look at Elizabeth Rose Stanton’s Spring 2018 title, Bub! Bub is available for pre-order now. Make room in your heart for Bub, as I’m sure he’ll find himself a home there after you read this new book!

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BUB

by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

  • ISBN 9781481487573 |
  • January 2018
  • Grades P – 3

For Bub, it’s not easy being the middle child in his little monster family—especially such a noisy and busy one: Maw and Paw can be very loud, his big sister Bernice is good at everything, and everyone has to pay attention to The Baby. No one has time for Bub. But the day comes when Bub decides to take charge, and suddenly things change in a very magical little monster way! Bub keeps his family guessing—until he sees that it might not be so bad being in the middle, after all.

LIFE: Interview with Cynthia Rylant

I am honored today to welcome Cynthia Rylant to my blog! I have admired Cynthia’s books for years, so when Simon and Schuster invited me to do an interview, I jumped at the opportunity.  Cynthia is here to talk about her book, Life, which comes out this coming Tuesday. The illustrator is Brendan Wenzel, and I interviewed him last year.

Hi Cynthia, thanks for stopping by my blog! You have been a great inspiration to me as a writer.

Hello Dylan! Thank you for inviting me into your blog.

Tell us a little bit about your new book, Life. 

Life is another out-of-the-blue piece of writing from me. I just sat down one day and spontaneously put the words on paper. This is how most of my picture books have been written, without any pre-thinking or pre-planning, starting back when I wrote my first picture book at age 23 (When I Was Young in the Mountains). I have not been a “scheduled” writer, I don’t set aside a certain time or day to work. Every writer will find his or her own way to making books, and for me, just living an ordinary life and not thinking much about writing has been what has worked best. I do feel inspired by, and also envy, writers who work very diligently day after day and who produce big beautiful—and long!—books. But I learned early on that I am not made to be that sort of writer, so I don’t push too hard to fill pages with words day after day. I guess I am more poet than novelist. Too many words and I can’t find the center. And Life: well, I think it came up from a place inside me of a need to accept the inevitable big changes in life, changes that every thing, every creature, in this world must accept. We are all part of the natural world, and nature tells us that Life is about change. It is also about love. I think children will understand this.

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What inspires your creativity and your ideas for books, and have you always been into writing?

I can say that I have always had a child’s wonder and sense of play in my heart. But I did not know anything at all about children’s books until I was 23. I was raised in rural West Virginia, and I read mostly comic books as a kid then stepped up to paperback romances as a teenager. I had no large ambitions, and assumed I would just marry my high school boyfriend and live in Shady Spring the rest of my life. But, you know, I think we are not really in control of our lives. I look back, and as many people have said about their own lives, I see where one small and seemingly minor choice or event—walking down one street instead of another or seeing a certain billboard or losing a job—can turn us in the direction of our destiny. And so it was with me. Through a series of seemingly unrelated events, I wound up working as a clerk in a public library, and when I walked into the Children’s Room—the first time I’d ever been in the children’s department of a library– there was my future. Within a few months, I was secretly writing picture books (this was in Huntington, WV) and mailing them to publishing companies in New York. I kept this secret because I was embarrassed, I felt people would think I was completely unrealistic in my hopes to be published. But I wasa writer. I fell in love with the children’s books I saw in that library—Ox-Cart Man and The Animal Family are two that I found especially beautiful and led me to my own voice—and I could not help but write. Which is still happening, from time to time.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Sometimes I think I have done my life’s work and the stories I had inside me have been told now. I don’t want to become predictable or outdated. I have been writing stories for 40 years. But the writing has never been the central part of my world. I raised a son, I had many dogs and cats, I repaired old houses and planted flowers, I watched a lot of good shows and read some good books, I sent letters to people who mattered to me, I enjoyed cookies and tea, I tried to trust God’s plan for whatever would happen next, and I said sad goodbyes when endings came. This is all where stories come from, you know, just living. I don’t have any advice for writers except maybe the same advice I give to children, which is just play a lot. For me, play was dogs and sticks. I owe a lot to dogs and sticks. But I do think, deep down, I was never in control of anything nor will be in the future. Small seeds are always being planted, even if we don’t know it. So I’ll see what happens.

What, ultimately, do you want readers to walk away with after finishing your books?

I don’t write to change the world, or to bring joy and peace, or to send a certain message. My books are just stories I think up. And without the illustrators who made all the stories better, more beautiful, often funnier, or, as happened with Brendan Wenzel’s work for Lifedeeper, there would just be some simple words on plain pieces of paper sitting in a drawer in my house somewhere, not amounting to a whole lot of anything. It is the combined contributions of many—intuitive editors, gifted artists, brave book designers—that my writing depends on. And which eventually makes something lovely that I end up talking about to a book person like you!

Thank you again, Dylan, for inviting me, I wish you all the very best, and have a good summer.

Bulldozer is Back! Interview with Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

If you haven’t met Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann’s Bulldozer, you need to fix that! The delightful sequel released just a few short weeks ago, and here to chat about it are my dear friends Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann.

Hello, Candy, hello, Eric! Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, Dylan.  We’re thrilled to be here.  It’s always good to talk with you.

Tell us a little bit about your new book, Bulldozer Helps Out.

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Bulldozer Helps Out came about, in part, because the characters from Bulldozer’s Big Day stayed with us, charmed us.  We’d gotten to know them in the first book, and felt there were more adventures to be told.  We really wanted to find out what would happen next in Bulldozer’s life.  Sequels, however, are always hard because they have to be better than the first book, or at least different enough to distinguish themselves.  And we didn’t want to repeat ourselves.  Then I hit upon the idea of Bulldozer being too little to join his truck family in the rough, tough work of the construction site.  As the former mother of little boys, I clearly remember the frustration my guys experienced when they couldn’t help paint the front porch, or cut up carrots.  “I’m big enough!” they’d cry.  “I can do it!”  As so does Bulldozer.  Worn out by my little ones’ pleas, I would eventually some way for them to help out – stirring the paint, washing the carrots.  And so does Bulldozer’s truck family.  They give him a small job, away from the dangerous work.  They believe he can manage it.  I don’t want to give it away, but the story has some surprises not typically found in books with construction truck characters.  This was purposeful.  Both Eric and I wanted to break away from the tropes a bit.  We wanted kids to see themselves in Bulldozer.  After all, he might be a truck, but he’s got the heart and mind of a Kindergartener.  And like all Kindergarteners, he wants to help the grownups in his life (who, in this case, just happen to be bigger trucks).  Will he succeed?  The ending, we hope, is both sweet and satisfying.  And little Bulldozer?  He ends up with the roughest, toughest job of them all… taking care of little ones.

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Tell us a little bit about your process of working together.

Our collaborative process is pretty simple.  Candy writes something and shows it to me.  We talk about it.  Then I make some sketches and show it to Candy.  We talk some more.  Once the finished manuscript is hammered out to candy’s satisfaction, I start on the finished pictures.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

We were both storytellers as kids.  I made mine with words.  Eric made his with pictures.  We’re still doing that.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

For both of us it’s the exploration and discovery – trying something new.  That explains why we make a lot of different kinds of books; tell a lot of different kinds of stories.  We’re both excited by the opportunity to do something we haven’t done before.

What inspires your creativity?

What inspires our creativity?  Everything!  Dog walks, people we meet, movies we go to, books we read, food we eat, trips we take.  Anything that happens in our lives has a chance of making it into our books.  We’re just filling our need to make something, to tell a story, to connect with readers.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I am a searcher and collector.  I like to walk beaches and woodland paths, picking up arrowheads and fossils and beach glass… especially beach glass.

Eric is obsessed with dinosaurs and Star Wars and has been keeping a sketchbook/journal for twenty years.

If you weren’t writing/illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Eric: architect, zookeeper, playing left field for the Cubs.

Candy: museum curator, history teacher, Broadway star.

What can readers expect from you in the future? More Bulldozer?

Right now we’re working on two books.  The first is an illustrated novel (65 paintings!) called Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen based on the true story of the first movie star dog.  Schwartz-Wade is publishing it.  The second is a nonfiction science picture book called Honeybee.  That’s a Neal Porter Book.  Bet you can guess what that one’s about.  As for more Bulldozer, we hope so.

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Dan Santat Stops by to talk about RODZILLA and More!

Hi Dan! Thanks for joining me here to talk about the latest book you illustrated, Rodzilla!

It’s a real pleasure. You’ve been making quite a name for yourself in the last two years and I applaud all the things you’ve achieved in that time for the literary community!

Tell us a little bit about Rodzilla.

Rodzilla is the story of a lizard type creature who inadvertently terrorizes Megalopolis City due to his large stature and childlike mannerisms. It pays homage to classic Godzilla movies that we all used to enjoy when we were younger. It pairs well with a child’s imagination to be an omnipotent being among a tiny world which is at the mercy of your massiveness. The story was written by Rob Sanders, who lives out in Florida, and I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, last year. It’s a fun read which I enjoy reading to kids. It gets them laughing.

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Tell us a little bit about your process.  

When I illustrate a project such as this I like to just dive right in and allow my mind to be very impulsive so I can spit out whatever comes to my mind first. This phase really is just loose scribbles that only I can really decipher. I then take those ideas and then I’ll take a few passes trying to refine the jokes, compositions, and character designs all at once. I don’t really have time to spend a day focusing on just one thing (like character design) so I’m often trying to do all those things while I’m trying to work out other aspects of the books such as the pacing and color palette.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

Yes! When I was a kid I thought I wanted to make movies. I was an only child so I used to make my own comic books because it was the closest thing to storytelling in a film format that I could do. As I grew older I realized I had a greater passion for storytelling than I did for actual drawing and painting. Drawing was always the thing I was complimented on because the results were easily observed by anyone who walked by, but creative writing was subjective and oddly enough, I felt like a lot of kids I grew up with didn’t like the same things I did. I felt like I was the only kid watching “He-Man” and “Transformers” in the fourth grade. It was as if everyone I knew grew too old for that stuff at an early age. What’s up with that?!

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

When I get to have lunch or dinner with fellow authors who live in town or when a fellow author is coming through town on a book tour. We often talk shop and talk process and share our emotional ups and downs.

What inspires your creativity?

I inhale content. I listen to music, read books, play video games, and watch a lot of film and television. Often times an idea comes from being inspired by other ideas. You see how someone presents an idea and when you to try to see it from another perspective you sometimes end up with something new. I’m also inspired by my family, especially my kids. They help remind me how to communicate with children and speak to their interests.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Years back when I was working on a book series with Rhea Perlman, my family was invited to her home in Malibu. We hung out with Rhea and her husband, Danny Devito, and it was the first time our 6-month old son saw the ocean. While we were there we saw someone walking down the beach over to us and we were wondering, “Do we know anyone else at this party?”

It was George Clooney.

Rhea introduced us to George. He complimented our child and kissed his forehead.

Our child was kissed by George Clooney.

If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I’d be a very unhappy dentist.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

My next picture book comes out in October called After the Fall. It’s about Humpty Dumpty recovering from his famous fall and overcoming his fear of heights. In April 2018 I have a book coming out with Aaron Reynolds called, Dude! and I’m working on a few graphic novels of my own. The first is The Aquanaut with Arthur A. Levine Books and the second is a memoir called You Bad Son for First Second.

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Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

I knew Dylan Teut before he was famous.

Interview with Mr. Evan Turk

Hey Evan! Thanks for joining me here to talk about your latest book projects!

Thank you so much for inviting me!

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Tell us a little bit about The Storyteller, which was released last year.

The Storyteller is my first book as author and illustrator, and it is a story, within a story, within a story, about the power of stories to give us hope, protection, and sustenance in times of need. It is based on the Moroccan art of public storytelling, a tradition that extends back a thousand years, and follows a young boy who inadvertently becomes an apprentice to one of the last master storytellers.the-storyteller-9781481435185_hr.jpg

Tell us a little bit about Muddy, which is coming this summer!

Muddy, written by Michael Mahin, is a picture book biography of Muddy Waters, one of the most legendary and influential blues musicians. It follows his journey from the cotton fields of Mississippi to the juke joints of Chicago, and the creation of his electric sound that brought the souls of those, two places and their people, together. Muddy Waters was a part of the Great Migration of African Americans fleeing the violence and oppression in the South during the first half of the 20th century. He and other blues artists created a unique music out of this painful and pivotal period that would be the backbone of American music for generations.

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For me, it was a wonderful project to be a part of. The writing is beautiful. Artistically, it was exciting to delve into research and learning about something new. I was able to go to where Muddy was from in the Mississippi Delta, see where his music blossomed in Chicago, and hear and draw musicians playing the blues in the both places. The artwork was inspired by incredible artists like Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and the Gee’s Bend quilt-makers of Alabama, as well as the music itself. The roots of blues are so deep, and what Muddy did with them was so electric and new, that I wanted to show those two sides coming together in the artwork.

Tell us a little bit about your illustration process. 

My process usually begins with research! I do a lot of reading and looking at artwork related to a particular project. Then I will try to find some way to make it real. For The Storyteller, it was about going to Morocco and meeting and talking with real storytellers and carpet weavers, and getting a feel for the place by drawing it. With Muddy, I went to listen to the blues musicians in Mississippi and Chicago, and talked with the people there. The on-location drawing I do usually has a big impact on the final artwork of the book.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating ?

Pretty much! I always loved writing and illustrating picture books when I was in elementary school. They were usually about an obscure animal of some kind. Then, in art school, I continued working on my own illustrated book projects, and thanks to my art director, Ann Bobco, I got an early entry into the industry right out of school!

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I think the most exciting part of creating books is the research phase. I just get to learn and draw, which is the best. I love making the final artwork, seeing it all done, and talking to kids! Really every part of the process is wonderful. Getting to talk with kids about the artwork and the story on school visits is so exciting for me!

What inspires your creativity?

I get inspired by drawing and by reading. When I learn something new, or see something new, I want to study it and share it, and that usually leads to some kind of story! I always love looking at new kinds of art, and seeing the endless possibilities.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I have two cats! Bert (Full name: King Aethelbert) and Pica (Full name: Empress Pica Bunnycup (because she has a little bunny tail))

If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I think maybe making movies? It’s kind of a similar process, but coming from a completely different angle. I’d also love to design a stage show! Costumes, sets, lighting… That seems like an amazing job.

What can readers expect from you in the future? 

I am almost done working on a new book right now called Heartbeat. It’s about a baby whale who loses her mother during the heyday of American whaling in the 19th century, and swims through the next 200 years seeing how human attitudes towards whales shift throughout the decades. In the end, she’s able to find solace in the compassion of one young girl who hears her song and sings with her, with hope for a brighter future. It’s based on the the reality of whaling, in that there were many orphaned whale calves, and that recently some whales have been discovered to have been over 200 years old! The amount of things we have used whales for over the decades is staggering: Oil for light, mechanical lubricant in the industrial revolution, machine guns and bombs in the two World Wars, food, automatic transmission fluid in cars, and whale oil even coated some of the first photos we ever took of the moon in space! So it’s a book about a lot of things: whales, history, the environment, loss, compassion, empathy, and the way we treat/commodify the most vulnerable in our society. In the end, it’s really about connection, and how listening and understanding can unite us. It will be out from Atheneum in 2018!

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Just a thank you to you for doing the work of spreading your passion for books to kids and everyone else! And a thank you to anyone out there who is reading these books! It really is a remarkable feeling to have someone connect with something you’ve made, and I am so grateful!

A Few Questions for Tim Miller

Joining me today is the author/illustrator of the brand new Moo Moo in a Tutu books, Tim Miller!

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Hey Tim! Thanks for joining me here to talk about your new book and what else is going on for you!

Hi Dylan! Thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to speak with you!

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Tell us a little bit about Moo Moo in a Tutu.

Moo Moo in a Tutu stars Moo Moo, an enthusiastic cow who’s always looking for the next adventure, and Mr. Quackers, the most loyal duck a cow could ask for. They’re a pair of unlikely best friends who share different adventures together. This time around they’re heading to the ballet thanks to Moo Moo getting it in her head that she wants to be a ballerina even though she’s never taken ballet lessons before. With a somewhat skeptical yet supportive Mr. Quackers at her side, Moo Moo graces the stage with a performance that the ballet world will never forget. Although everything doesn’t go exactly as planned, Moo Moo prevails triumphantly thanks to the enthusiastic cheers of applause from her good buddy Mr. Quackers.

Will we see more of Moo Moo and Mr. Quackers?

Yes, Moo Moo & Mr. Quackers will be back! The follow-up to Moo Moo in a Tutu is called What’s Cooking Moo Moo? and will be published in Winter 2018. This time Moo Moo and Mr.Quackers team up and open a restaurant together with a few unexpected missteps along the way. It’s quite a feast that will leave readers quacking up.

Tell us a little bit about your illustration process.  

My process can vary depending on what medium I’m working in, but for the most part it’s pretty straightforward. For Moo Moo in Tutu, I started by making sketches of the first visual impressions I had based on the manuscript. Next, I organized these into storyboards to see it all together, and then made a dummy book incorporating everything into the standard 32-page structure of a picture book. In doing so, I tried to find the best way to give emphasis to key moments and keep the page turns fun and exciting. Anything that wasn’t necessary, I cut.

Once the dummy book was settled, I started making the finished illustrations. I worked directly from the rough sketches on a light box and drew everything with brush and ink. I tightened things up so that they read clearly while also trying to keep the raw energy of the rough sketches. Instead of drawing each composition out in its entirety, I broke them down into fragments. Although it sounds complicated, this allowed me to ignore my mistakes because I could just redraw a piece of something if I needed to. After I had finished collecting the fragments for each composition, I scanned everything into the computer and pieced the images together in Photoshop. From there, I added color digitally and made some final tweaks and that was that.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

I’ve been drawing ever since I read my first Garfield book around the age of seven. It was a big revelation when I discovered how to copy the character because I could make it my own. I was living on a dairy farm and there wasn’t much to do besides milking cows, so drawing and reading comics was a welcome outlet. In middle school I got into stuff like Bloom County, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes, and started making my own comic strips (basically Bloom County, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes rip-offs). In high school my interest turned to the superhero stuff and my drawings got jacked up with bulging muscles and skintight attire. My seminal work from the period is a seven-page comic called The Samurai Schnoz and His Ninja Nose, the story about a not-too-bright Samurai with a big nose that has mystical ninja powers (imagine Opus the penguin meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Groo the Wanderer).

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Deadlines are a lot of fun, but I would have to say that connecting with readers gets the prize. I love the opportunity to engage kids and see their reactions.

What inspires your creativity?

A bad sense of humor and a love for pictures.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I used be in 4-H as a kid and showed sheep. I was actually pretty good at it (got the ribbons to prove it) until one day a bear paid our sheep a visit and that was the end of my sheep-showing career.

If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would continue teaching and paint full-time.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

I have three more installments of Tom O’Donnell’s Hamstersaurus Rex middle grade series (HarperCollins) on the way, and Snappsy the Alligator And His Best Friend Forever Probably by Julie Falatko is coming out in Fall 2017 (Viking), followed by What’s Cooking Moo Moo? in Winter 2018 (Balzer+Bray).

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Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Thank you everybody for stopping by! Feel free to visit me anytime at www.timmillerillustration.com I’m always happy to hear your thoughts and feedback.

COVER REVEAL: Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares

It’s a thrill to have Matt Tavares here with me today to share the cover for his Fall 2017 title with Candlewick, Red and Lulu. 

Tell us a little bit about Red and Lulu:

Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year, the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
thy leaves are so unchanging…

But then one day, something unthinkable happens and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again.

But luckily, it’s just the season for miracles.

Red and Lulu is a story about the joy of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: just how important it is to be surrounded by love.

Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

Red and Lulu grew from a few completely unrelated story ideas, over the course of several years. It began with a pair of cardinals who visited the bird feeder in my yard countless times, finally inspiring me to write a story about them. I was struck by their devotion to each other, and wondered how far one of them might fly to be with the other, if they ever became separated. Meanwhile, inspired by the magic of New York City at Christmastime, I was working on a different idea for a nonfiction picture book about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. But neither idea was coming together- until it occurred to me that maybe the story about the cardinals and the story about the tree might actually work together.

This book was a labor of love that started back in 2011. And even though it’s the first book I’ve written that features main characters who are not human, it’s also the most personal book I’ve ever written. I wanted to write about what happens when your world is turned upside down unexpectedly and you are forced to focus on what really matters. It turned out that these two cardinals were the right characters to tell that story.

Is this a wordless book?

My first version of Red and Lulu had about a thousand words. Then my editor and art director at Candlewick asked if I would consider turning it into a wordless book. I was excited about that idea, and spent months rebuilding the book as a wordless picture book. I printed a dummy of that, and shared it with friends, but found that while people really seemed to connect with the first version, there was something missing in the wordless version- sort of an emotional disconnect. So I went to my editor with both versions, and we worked on creating a sort of hybrid by adding back some words where they seemed absolutely necessary.

The final result is a book that has about 450 words (I think). Most spreads have words, but some are wordless. I do think that the process of trying to tell the story with no words really helped the book, and was a great exercise for me as an illustrator. I feel like I learned a lot about visual storytelling, even though this is my 19th book and I should probably know all this stuff by now!

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What are you working on now?

I’m at the very early stages of another fiction picture book with Candlewick, slated for Fall, 2019. I also have a nonfiction idea I’m working on, about a girls’ basketball team.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Sure, here’s one of the interior illustrations from Red & Lulu! Thanks, Dylan!

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Interview with Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant, author/illustrator of I AM (NOT) SCARED! PLUS GIVEAWAY!

Tell us a little bit about I Am (Not) Scared.

Anna & Chris: I Am (Not) Scared is the third book in the series of “Not” books starring our fuzzy creatures. In the first one, You Are (Not) Small, Orange Guy and Purple Guy argue with each other about their size; in the second one, That’s (Not) Mine, they argue over an object that they each consider “theirs.” For the third book, we wanted the story to reflect that they are now friends, despite having different perspectives. This time, the source of their conflict isn‘t each other, and they must rely on their friendship to get through it. 

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Tell us a little bit about your process of working together.

Anna: I will have an idea or a draft of a story and I‘ll bounce it off Chris. He gives me honest feedback and I’ll either rewrite it or move on to another idea. This process keeps going until I have a final manuscript that we’re both pleased with.

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Chris: As I’m drawing the characters or designing the layout, I’ll talk with Anna throughout the process and see what she thinks. We have similar sensibilities in terms of what we like in children’s books, so I value her input greatly. I think the continual conversation elevates both of our work.

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Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

Anna: As a kid I loved to write stories, but I never did it too seriously because it didn’t occur to me that it could be an actual job. Going to film school for graduate school gave me the confidence to pursue it full time.

Chris: Yes, I always drew, painted, and cartooned as a child. All kids love to when they’re young, but over time, fewer and fewer keep doing it. I just never stopped, until one day, it became my career.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Anna & Chris: Hands down, the best part is connecting with kids, teachers, and librarians all over the world. It’s truly an amazing feeling when a child tells us that one of our books helped him or her learn how to read. It’s an enormous honor. Being able to work from home in pajamas is also a huge bonus.

What inspires your creativity?

Anna: My children, nature, reading books, going to the library or bookstore and browsing, Mike & Ike candy, naps.

Chris: My kids, other artists’ amazing work, the changing seasons, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Anna: I take great pleasure in shopping for bath mats, especially plushy ones.

Chris: When I was growing up, I wanted to be a ventriloquist. That dream ended the day I became scared of my dummy staring at me from the corner of my room.

If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Anna: Teaching.

 Chris: Cartooning.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Anna & Chris: WILL YOU HELP ME FALL ASLEEP? is the second story about our worried little frog, Monty. It will be published by HarperCollins in 2018; ERASER is a new picture book about a young eraser who feels unworthy compared to the other school supplies because she doesn’t create, she only takes things away. It will be published by Two Lions in 2018.

Chris: I am also illustrating Laura Gehl’s charming new book, MY PILLOW KEEPS MOVING!, which will be published by Viking in 2018.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Anna & Chris: To all the educators and parents, thank you for doing the most important job in the world. We were very fortunate to have both highly supportive parents and a few outstanding teachers in our lives. Everything we have achieved so far is thanks to them.

And to all the kids who might be reading this: be kind, stay curious, and read books. These three things will give you strength your entire life.

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Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of two other books featuring these characters: Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small and That’s (Not) Mine. Christopher’s work can be seen regularly in The New Yorker magazine and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their Bich-Poo. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.

Twitter: @annakang27 @chrisweyant05

Instagram: annakangbooks; christopherweyant

Facebook: Anna Kang – Author; Christopher Weyant

For more information, and to download a free activity kit, visit annakang.com, or download at: http://bit.ly/2mKbFWi

Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a set of squeezable stress balls, two adorable plush characters, and a copy of I AM (NOT) SCARED courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). All you have to do is Retweet this blog post with the hashtag #IAMNOTSCARED to be entered to win! Winner will be chosen on Friday March 31 at 10:00 PM (CST).