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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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).