Monthly Archives: June 2017

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.

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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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