Ready for a sneak peek at what arrived on my porch this afternoon? It’s an advance copy of my upcoming picture book LOVE IS KIND, delightfully illustrated by French artist Lison Chaperon and published by Zonderkidz. I just love the world Lison has created to set the story. Each spread is more adorable than the next! Thank you, Lison, for your creative whimsy and thank you, Zonderkidz, for publishing! I can’t wait for this one to release on August 7, 2018. Happy reading, all!
I haven’t received my advanced copy of LOVE IS KIND, so I can’t yet give you a proper advanced “flip through” of the book, but I think you’ll enjoy this delightful video clip, created by illustrator Lison Chaperon, introducing Little Owl, the sweet protagonist of LOVE IS KIND. All Little Owl really wants is to get his grammy a box of chocolates, but his attempts keep getting thwarted. In the process, though, he learns the true meaning of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Real love, as it turns out, isn’t found in a box – even one filled with chocolates. Now without further ado, meet Little Owl! (Isn’t he adorable?)
LOVE IS KIND (@zonderkidz , 2018) releases this coming August and I can’t wait to share it with the world. In the meantime, enjoy this DARLING video clip created by illustrator Lison Chaperon. It even has sound! #loveiskind #laurasassi #zonderkidz #lisonchaperon #littleowl #picturebook #faithbuilding
Guess what? I have another new picture coming out soon with Zonderkidz! LOVE IS KIND is scheduled to release August 7, 2018, which, gulp, is almost right around the corner.
Here’s the scoop from Zonderkidz:
“Love Is Kind, written by bestselling author Laura Sassi and illustrated by Lison Chaperon, tells the sweet story of Little Owl who discovers the real meaning of love on his quest to find his grammy the perfect gift. Told in simple prose, this heartfelt and humorous picture book is a sweet reminder that real love isn’t found in a box – even one filled with chocolates. Love Is Kind takes a charming and gentle approach to teaching kids the true meaning of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13, while celebrating the bonds that kids have with their grandparents, and the many forms that love and happiness can take.”
Thank you, Zonderkidz publishing this next picture book (and I am especially excited about this one because LOVE is a message we can never hear enough about)! And isn’t that Little Owl standing in that heart-shaped pile of leaves adorable? I’ve seen the interior spreads too, and each illustration is cuter than the next. I can’t wait for this one to hit shelves everywhere.
New Blog! New Diva in town! Check out my article on #Cranford author @laurasassitales and find out about all the events surrounding her latest book! Link 👉🏻 profile! #newblogpost #coolerincranford #divadeloresandtheoperahousemouse #localauthor #authorsofinstagram #childrensbooks #rebeccagerlings #meettheauthor #bnspringfieldnj #garwoodlibrary #cranfordlibrary #firemeupstudio #booklaunch #sterlingchildrensbooks #365cranfordwestfieldnj
Diva Delores and I are dee-lighted to share with you our first LOCAL interview. Pasted above is the fun promo clip, realtor Sharon Steele posted on Instagram. And here’s the link to the actual interview. Thank you for having us, Sharon!
And TODAY is our BOOK BIRTHDAY!!! Happy Reading, all!
Look what arrived on my porch yesterday afternoon! A package from Sterling containing the proofs for DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE! I’d seen the illustrations in little images on my computer screen, but seeing them full size and on paper makes my heart sing!
My daughter and I spent a nice long while exploring each and every page and enjoying all the little details that I hadn’t noticed before, such as Rebecca’s wonderful use of scratchy strokes to capture the old opera house floors and Delores’ extremely expressive whiskers.
Next stop, (I think), the printer! Thank you, Sterling, and thank you, Rebecca Gerlings, for making this project a reality. I can’t wait for this Diva and her charming Opera House Mouse to make their debuts. (Only 5 month and two weeks from now, but who’s counting? =) )
Today I’m extra excited because I get to be the host of a very special interview (with book review included)! Please join me in welcoming picture book author Penny Parker Klostermann and young readers, James and Luke, ages 7 and 5, as they review Penny’s new book A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE (Random House Books for Young Readers, September 5, 2017) and then interview the author in a special Author Spotlight.
Before we begin – I’d like to set the stage a little. One hot afternoon in early July a shiny gold package – containing Penny’s charming new picture book – was mistakenly delivered to James’ and Luke’s doorstep. Since they were greatly excited by the arrival of the package I said they could read it first. So they did and they LOVED it. They kept asking and wanting to read the story again and again and it was actually quite some time before I got to see the book myself. Their enthusiasm inspired me and so, with their mother’s permission, I asked if they’d be interested in reviewing the book and interviewing the author for my blog!
They said yes! And the result is… well… delightful! Thank you James, Luke and Penny! Now on to the review and interview with the boys’ words in purple and Penny’s in green to match the bubbling cauldron on the book’s cover.
First, Penny’s response to how A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE was delivered to the wrong house:
I have to say that I’m in love with this delivery mishap and the events that followed. In A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, there is a delivery mishap too and it’s essential to the story. Not only is there this wonderful delivery mishap coincidence, but also because Laura let the boys read the book first, there’s a fun “kid review” of my book! And isn’t a “kid review” the absolute best and most important kind of review possible? It makes me smile from ear-to-ear that James and Luke loved A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE enough to spend time with it, write a review, and even create their own art. This is definitely a happily-ever-after moment for me as an author.
Next, the review:.
A BOOK REVIEW BY JAMES
Title: A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
“This book is about a boy named William that LOVED to cook! William loved to cook so much that he used the ingredients from the fairy tales and when the fairy tales began, what William cooked messed up the fairy tales. What I thought was funny about this book was the William tried working at Gingerbread-on-the-go. I would recommend this book!”
James’s review is a treasure. Now that this book is out in the world it’s no longer mine. But when I wrote it there were certain things I hoped readers would take away when they read it. I’m excited that James thought about William just as I did when I created his character. I love that he found humor in the story. And I especially love that he recommends A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE!
And now… the interview with authentic kid questions! (Thanks, again, boys!)
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I love David Ezra Stein’s book, INTERRUPTING CHICKEN. I think it’s so fun the way he used well-known fairy tales to tell a tale of his own. I wondered if I could come up with an idea for a story that would include fairy tales but be a story of its own. I researched by listing fairy tales and their common elements. While doing this I noticed how many fairy tales have food in them and the idea grew from there.
How did you pick the characters?
When I noticed that so many fairy tales had food items in them I had to decide how a main character would interact with food in mind. A chef seemed perfect—a chef who loved cooking so much that he ignored all else in the magical land of fairy tales. Enter William, the chef.
Then I needed a character that ran the land so that when things went wrong she could make sure the fairy tales got back on track. Enter Judy, Chief of Fairy Tale Headquarters.
Do you like cooking?
Yes and no. I do like baking. Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, cobblers, and anything else to feed my sweet tooth. But when it comes to cooking a full-blown meal, I don’t do that very often any more. I’d rather be doing other things like writing ☺, walking, reading, or watching TV. It’s just my husband and me at home so we’d just as soon have a salad or something else simple. I am a good cook though and I can whip up a full meal when I need to.
Where did you get the title from?
Well that’s an interesting question because it wasn’t the original title. The original title was APPLES, BEANS, AND PIE, OH MY! Sort of Wizard of Oz-ish, right? But my critique group thought since that title gave a nod to the Wizard of Oz that people would expect my story to have a hint of Oz, which it didn’t at all. They had a good point. So I played around with it and thought about William cooking up trouble. That’s when A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE came to mind.
Where did you get the illustrations?
Aren’t they perfect? My editor at Random House, Maria Modugno, picked Ben Mantle to do them. She picked him for my first book and he did an amazing job. She thought he would be just right for my second book, too. I didn’t talk to Ben at all when he was drawing the illustrations because he gets to use his creativity to tell half of the story with pictures. He’s such a talented artist.
Finally, I asked each boy to draw a picture of their favorite scene. Luke picked the three little bears (because they are funny) and James picked the city scape (because it reminded him of where he used to live).
Penny’s reaction to their delightful artwork:
If any of you reading this post follow my blog series, A GREAT NEPHEW AND A GREAT AUNT, you’re aware of my fondness for children’s artwork. Children’s artwork has an energy and an element of confidence that I wish they could hold on to forever. When I saw Luke’s drawing of the three bears and James’s drawing of the cityscape you can imagine how happy it made me. They included details from the book but made their artwork unique and special. If they lived closer I might have to borrow their drawings for a week so that I could hang them on my refrigerator and see them every time I walked by.
Thanks so much, Laura, for featuring A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE and for sharing your preview copy with James and Luke.
James and Luke, thank you for all of your hard work. Your review, questions, and drawings made me very, very happy ☺
And thank you, Penny, for joining in the fun. Congratulations on this book and I hope it’s just the second of many more to come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale and There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, both from Random House Children’s Books. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. Penny has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. You can learn more about Penny on her website at https://pennyklostermann.com/.
Today I’m delighted to share with you the cover for my next book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling Children’s Books, Spring 2018), which is scheduled to hit bookstores everywhere this coming March. Illustrator Rebecca Gerlings has a gift for whimsy and I LOVE her depiction of Delores and Fernando, the mouse. I’ve seen the inside too and each and every illustration makes me want to sing! (But, don’t worry, I’ll refrain from letting loose my vibratto.) Instead, I’ll just say, “Thank you, Sterling Children’s Books, for pairing us together and thank you, Rebecca, for bringing this story to delightful life with your illustrations.”
This book is now available for pre-order at several online retailers, should you happen to want to reserve a copy.
Picture book author Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum’s newest book, BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER releases two weeks from now and I’m so excited that she’s here today to give us a little preview interview. Published by Scholastic Press and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER is a story of sister rivalry/affection with a clever monsterly twist. Kirkus Reviews hails it as “Monstrous sisterly fun”. Thank you for joining us today, Andria. It’s always fun to get to meet the author! Well, let’s get started with my questions in pink and Andria’s in black to complement the book cover.
What is the inspiration behind BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER?
Truth be told, this book is based on something that happened to me when I was a child. I actually lost my sister–on purpose when I was about five and she was three. The world was a very different place back then and parents gave their children a lot more freedom. Luckily, my little sister was found by two older girls and safely brought home. But as I grew older I was tormented with guilt over what could have happened. This book is a love letter to my sister and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.
Your sister must be so touched. And as a sister myself, I love that this book celebrates sisterhood!
And here you are with your sister! LOVE this retro pic! What would you like readers to take away from this story?
Sisterhood is a multifaceted relationship deeply rooted in love. The kind of love that inspires courage, strength and fearlessness. I hope children will find their own inner strength when they read BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER.
In addition, I think Edwin Fotheringham made a huge effort to take the “scary” out of the monsters in the book. Instead they’re cute, colorful and funny which allows young children to imagine engaging with the monsters without fear.
Well, if the cover is any indication, your text and his illustrations are a winning combination.
BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER is not your first book. Tell us a little bit about your journey as an author.
My writing journey has been long and challenging. I’m lucky in the fact that I knew I wanted to write children’s books since I was very young. But I wasn’t a good reader and that hampered my writing skills. I did give up trying to get published many times, but I always came back to writing because I love it. Thankfully, persistence is probably my strongest quality.
When my children were little, I focused on writing poems and short stories for magazines like Cricket and Highlights. My first book sale (A GRANDMA LIKE YOURS/A GRANDPA LIKE YOURS, Kar-Ben Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group 2006) didn’t come until after I was 40. Around the same time, I sold an emergent reader written in poems called TWO SWEET PEAS to Bebop Books, Lee & Low Books, Inc. 2006. It was almost 10 years before I sold another book.
Yes, persistence is a crucial quality for a writer. Children’s periodicals are a great venue for children’s writers. Now I want to take a peek at your work there too!
Teachers and parents are always looking for ways to tie picture books into the curriculum or extend the enjoyment with post-reading activities. Do you have any extension activities your readers might enjoy?
I’m a big fan of teacher’s guides and I’m in the process of creating one for BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER. But until it’s done, I’d suggest teachers focus on the common core goals of Speaking & Listening. Specifically, the Who, What, When, Where, How and Whys of the story. Then they can give their classes a chance to draw pictures of what their Inner Monsters might look like.
Also, in an earlier version of the manuscript, I had Lucy make a ticket for Mia to Monstralia. Teachers might ask students: What would you call a world populated by monsters? Students can take this challenge a step further by creating maps of their monster worlds.
These are great ideas, Andria!
Finally, what’s the one question that you wished I’d asked but didn’t.
Well, since you asked ;-), I wish you would have asked if I have any other books coming out?
Why yes I do! In the fall of 2018, Sterling Children’s Books will publish my next book called BOATS WILL FLOAT. It’s a rhyming picture book about what many different boats do, illustrated by Jordi Solano. Originally, it was intended as a follow-up to my picture book called TRAINS DON’T SLEEP, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. But I have a feeling Jordi will be adding his own story through his beautiful illustrations.
Thanks so much for inviting me to share my books with your readers, Laura! They can follow me on Twitter @andriawrose and find more information about my books on my website: www.andriawarmflashrosenbaum.com
Thanks so much for joining me today, Andria! And congratulations on this newest release. =)
AUTHOR BIO: Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum dreamed about writing picture books for children of all ages since she was eleven years old. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education from Bank Street College and writes from her home in New Jersey. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Babybug, Children’s Playmate, Cricket, Ladybug, Highlight, Spider and Turtle. Her short story, “The Color of Hope” won the 2008 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for fiction. She is the author of multiple picture books including A GRANDMA LIKE YOURS/ A GRANDPA LIKE YOURS (Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc., Lerner Publications), TRAINS DON’T SLEEP (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER (Scholastic Press) with several more in the works.
Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!!!!!
Andrea has generously offered to send a free copy of BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER (Scholastic, September 2017), written by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, to one lucky winner. If you’d like to enter, simply leave a comment below. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) The giveaway ends Tuesday, September 12, 2017 (the day the book releases!), at 12:01 am EST.
I’ve been keeping this to myself for some time now, but the announcement ran in Publishers Weekly today, so I think I can finally let loose my vibrato!
Per their announcement, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE is “an ode to artistic collaboration, starring an opera-loving mouse who wants to help and the diva who thinks she deserves bigger help than a mouse.” It’s scheduled for publication by Sterling Children’s Books in Spring 2018 and is illustrated by British illustrator Rebecca Gerlings. I’ve already seen sketches and several spreads and I am over the moon with delight! I can’t wait for this book to release!
For the official announcement, press here.
Those of you who have enjoyed participating in Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM, formerly known as PICTURE BOOK IDEA MONTH, might be encouraged know that this was the very first idea on my 2011 PiBoIdMo list! It took several years and many, many revisions until it was finally ready to submit, but persistence (and patience) paid off!
Happy Thursday all!
I’ve been so busy revising a picture book manuscript this past week, per an editor’s request (yay!), that I didn’t think I’d have time to write a blog post. Then I realized it might be interesting and maybe helpful if I shared my process. So, here’s a list of what I have done over the last several days.
- Printed out a fresh, clean copy of the story I’d submitted.
- Read and re-read it several times, over a period of a day or two.
- Pulled up every earlier version of the story in question and read and re-read each as well looking for nuggets to possibly re-work into my revision.
- Brainstormed revision ideas in my notebook and recorded snippets of inspiration – possible new rhyme pairings and plot escalations – using the notes feature on my iPhone.
- In several sessions, separated by self-imposed time filters (i.e. walks, dishes, school work etc.) I wrote and rewrote until I had something I felt good about.
- Sent my revision-in-progress to a couple of trusted critique partners.
- Repeated step five and six as needed (and it was definitely much needed).
- Celebrated with a happy dance when, at last, I had a revision that I was really happy with.
- Resisted urge to send it right away to my agent – knowing that one extra time-filter can never hurt.
- Spent afternoon diverting myself by volunteering at our local history museum’s Sheep to Shawl Festival. That littlest one is only two days old, by the way.
- Finally, after one more read through, I wrote a note to my agent and got my revised story ready to email first thing Monday morning.
What would you add to the list? Happy revising!