PICTURE BOOK MASTER CLASS: Interview with Laura Sassi

I’m so excited to be teaching the Master Class on Picture Writing for the Write2Ignite Conference for Christian Writers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature this coming April 24, 2021. Taught virtually – so writers from near and far can attend – it’s going be a day full of learning and fun – all while stretching our story-telling skills. And today, as way of introduction, they’re interviewing me on their blog! I hope you’ll pop on over to check it out. Registration details are included at the end of the post… and there’s a giveaway! Here’s the link:

Winter 2019 BOOK Events

 Saturday, February 2, 10:30 am.  Join me for an interactive LOVE IS KIND story time. Simple Valentine craft to follow. Watchung Booksellers, Montclair.

Thursday, February 14, 6:30 pm  It’s a special Valentine’s Day Pajama Story Time at the Kenilworth Public Library featuring LOVE IS KIND and a book-themed craft! Registration required – call or stop by the children’s desk.

Sunday, February 17, 2 pm.  Join me for an interactive LOVE IS KIND story time. Simple Valentine craft to follow. Tottenville Evangelical Free Church, Staten Island, NY (Little Owl’s first Staten Island Appearance!)

Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am.  Join me and DIVA DELORES at the Cranford Public Library for its 2nd annual Picture Book Palooza! Picture book authors and illustrators will be sharing books and crafts. This event, for children ages 4-8 and their families, will provide young readers with an opportunity to meet the creators of some truly amazing stories!

GUEST POST: FIVE Fun FACTS about RICE FROM HEAVEN from Debut Picture Book Author Tina Cho

RicefromHeaven cover

Today I have the pleasure of celebrating the release of a very special new book by my long-time critique partner and friend, Tina Cho.  The book is beautifully titled RICE FROM HEAVEN:  The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans.  It’s illustrated by Keum Jin Song and published by Little Bee Books/Bonnier Publishing USA. I had the privilege of seeing this amazing story in early draft form and now to see it in final published form is, well, amazing!  RICE FROM HEAVEN is an engaging story of giving, told with grace and heart, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. It’s only been out for a day and already it has received lovely reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.  And now to celebrate it’s release, Tina has agreed to share with us FIVE FUN FACTS that will leave you wanting to read the book… NOW! Taking it away, Tina!

Five Fun Facts about Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans

by Tina Cho

1. Rice from Heaven is based on true events even though the characters in the story are fictional. 

In May 2016, I helped North Korean refugees send rice in balloons over the border of South Korea into North Korea. These refugees attend a North Korean refugee church in Seoul, where my colleague tutored them in English. I asked if I could help with this event. The father in my book is based on the North Korean refugee pastor; however, he had a son rather than a daughter.

2. Rice from Heaven got me an agent!

I emailed Rice from Heaven and a picture book biography to Adria Goetz. She loved both and signed me on. Get this—about a year later, her father went to North Korea on humanitarian business!

3. Rice from Heaven sold eleven months after it was first written.

After I helped the refugees on May 2nd, 2016, I wrote the first draft of my story on May 9th and shared with my critique groups. The 17th draft sold eleven months later, much changed from the first draft.

4. I didn’t write the back matter.

Rice from Heaven has extensive back matter. Facts about North Korea, South Korea, and fun facts about each. My publisher, Little Bee Books, wrote it. I, however, got to proofread it and make sure it was all accurate. After all, I have lived here eight years and am married to a Korean national. 

5. Rice from Heaven didn’t originally have a subtitle.

My editor wanted a subtitle so that people would clearly know what this book was about. Writing a subtitle is hard! Together we came up with a list of about 6-10 titles. The publisher chose in the end. I suppose it’s all in the marketing.

Thanks for having me, Laura!

And thank you, Tina, for sharing this story with the world!

tinaflowerBio: Tina Cho is the author of three picture books– Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans (Little Bee Books/Bonnier Publishing August 2018), Korean Celebrations (forthcoming Tuttle 2019) and Breakfast with Jesus (forthcoming Harvest House 2020). Although she grew up and taught in the United States, she currently lives in South Korea with her husband and two children while teaching at an international school.  Learn more about Tina at tinamcho.com