Today I’m thrilled to welcome Anna Kang to my blog, celebrating the release of her latest collaboration with Christopher Weyant through Two Lions publishing.
We Are (Not) Friends is our newest picture book and we are so delighted to share it with you. Chris and I never dreamed we’d have the privilege of creating a fourth book in the You Are (Not) Small series.
Since I’m often asked where I find ideas for books, I thought I’d share the inspiration for We Are (Not) Friends. To be honest, I didn’t even realize where the idea had come from until this morning, while I was out walking our dog.
When I was about five years old, my friend, Somi, and I were playing outside one afternoon. Cathy, a neighbor, skipped up to us and asked, “Can I play with you?” I remember she was smiling and wearing a big floppy sunhat. I looked to Somi for an answer, probably because she was a year older and Cathy’s classmate. Somi replied, “No, you can’t. You probably want to play ‘House’ and be the Mom just because you’re wearing that hat, don’t you?” Cathy’s face fell.
Instead of speaking up and allowing Cathy to play with us, I supported Somi and chimed in, “Yeah!” Hurt, Cathy said, “No, I don’t. I just wanted to play with you guys.” Then Somi said with finality, “Well, you can’t.” And we watched Cathy walk away.
I felt badly about that incident for years afterwards. And I often thought about the many better choices I could’ve made at that moment.
So for the fourth installment in our series with our fuzzy creatures, I wanted to write a story about their friendship being tested by a third creature and to explore the choices they could make. As parents are well aware, a playdate of three can be very tricky to navigate—for both kids and grownups alike. And I think Chris’ wonderfully expressive illustrations really drive home the painful emotions we experience when feeling excluded, and conversely, the joy we feel when we are included.
Our main hope is that kids (and adults) will read We Are (Not) Friends and make kind, thoughtful, and inclusive choices. We live and we learn, if we’re lucky.
Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, which was recently honored with The Christopher Award, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.
Twitter: @annakang27 @christophweyant
Instagram: annakangbooks; christopherweyant
Facebook: Anna Kang – Author; Christopher Weyant
One lucky winner will receive a copy of We Are (Not) Friends, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Simply retweet this blog post with the hashtag #WeAreNotFriends. One winner will be chosen at midnight on 5/9/19.