Happy Summer Reading to all! Lauren Kerstein’s ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES will make a splash with young readers.
(Illus. Nate Wragg / Two Lions / June 2019)
With pool rules and swimming skills, this debut picture book is a PERFECT summer read.
“…young dragon lovers and fans of mischief…will revel in this silly romp.” KIRKUS
” This book was so silly and cute! We loved Charlie and the great care that he took of Rosie, and made sure Rosie behaved at the pool, and had snacks, and that she was careful with the other kids. And that they had a fun day at the pool! The illustrations were so fun, very vibrant, and eye catching. This is one of those kids books that I don’t mind reading over, and over again. ” —ThePagesInBetween
Click image below to view the trailer:
Let’s dive in to learn more about Lauren, her process, that sweet duo of Rosie and Charlie, and #kidlit advice for not-yet-published authors:
Q. Which swimming skill best describes your writing process for this book?
a. learning to float
b. flutter kicks
c. treading water
d. diving into the deep end
e. swimming the Individual Medley (IM)
Lauren: Swimming the IM seems fitting since you have to swim a different stroke for each leg of the race. I needed to switch the structure of the narrative arc, and my approach to this manuscript many times. I also added actual swimming skills (per my agent, Deborah Warren’s brilliant suggestion) which changed the manuscript in the most wonderful ways! By the time Rosie and Charlie splashed to shelves, I felt like I had swum the IM.
Q. They say most books are a tiny bit autobiographical. Are you more like Rosie or Charlie?
Lauren: I am definitely more like Charlie. I am a list-making, graphic-organizer creating, spreadsheet-designing kind of gal!
Q. Did you ever have (or wish you had) an unusual pet like Rosie?
Lauren: I used to collect the long worm-like things that fall off oak trees and put them in my baby pool. (I just looked them up and they are called catkins (or more technically aments)). I pretended they were seahorses. As a child, I always wanted a seahorse as a pet! Now, I would just love to see one in its natural habitat.
Q. Congratulations on your debut picture book. Any advice for beginning, not-yet-published #kidlit writers?
Lauren: Thank you! There are two things I wish I understood better right from the beginning of my journey.
One– Writing is not a solo endeavor. Critique partners, paid critiques (through conferences or other offerings), and beta readers are just as important to the process as solo BIC time. (Or in my case SAYD- Stand at Your Desk) moments.
Two– Focus on developing your craft right away. Craft books, workshops (such as Erin Dealey’s workshop about character development 🙂 * Disclaimer–I did NOT pay Lauren to say this.), classes, and conferences are extraordinarily important. Reading mentor texts is critical as well. You have to know the rules inside and out if you want to break them. You have to know what works and what doesn’t. You need more than just a good idea. You need to hone your craft so that your manuscripts are as strong as possible.
Q. Do you have any #kidlit heroes? Did you use any picture books as mentor texts?
Lauren: I have so many #kidlit heroes. I think my biggest heroes are authors who are able to incorporate lots of humor, or conversely, writers who are able to truly capture emotional resonance. For example, I love Mo Willems’ humor so much! I also love Ame Dyckman’s humor! I am in awe of the emotional resonance in THE REMEMBER BALLOONS (Jessie Oliveras) and MY DAD’S DREAM FOR ME (Beaty/Collier).
I read tons and tons of mentor texts. There are mentor texts I read over and over again like MOTHER BRUCE (Higgins), STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS (Mantchev), and anything Mo Willems. I also have mentor texts I read with a specific purpose (i.e., to analyze arc, emotional resonance, and humor). Mentor texts are a critical part of the writing process!
Q. If you had a magic snow globe that would grant you a wish, what would your Snow Globe Wish be?
Lauren: My Snow Globe Wish would be that everyone might experience the beauty of random acts of kindness every single day. (Is that too corny?)
Full disclosure: Not corny at all. In fact, it fits right in with my upcoming holiday book. (Yes, that last question was sneaky but Lauren Kerstein, you might be psychic…) My jacket flap bio says:
You can learn all about Erin Dealey and her books at erindealey.com. She believes in magical snow globe mornings and the power of kindness. As her mother used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.” Her snow globe wish is that this book might inspire many acts of kindness in our world.
But TODAY, let’s celebrate ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES. Spread the word, take a pic at the pool with it and tweet it to us. To learn more about Lauren, see LaurenKerstein.net and/or follow her on Twitter: @LaurenKerstein & Insta: @laurenkerstein.
Coming soon: Meet Sarah Scheerger, mg debut author of OPERATION FROG EFFECT –who made the switch from writing YAs and picture books too!