Father’s Day Special–> SOME DADDIES + 7 Qs with author Carol Gordon Ekster = Happy (belated) Book Birthday!

This post is for all the DADs in our lives–related or not.

I’m so thrilled to spread the word about

SOME DADDIES, by Carol Gordon Ekster

(Illus. Javiera Maclean Álvarez, Beaming Books, 2022).

What a perfect book to celebrate Father’s Day!

Look at this gorgeous, FUN cover!

Carol and I met up at nErDcampCT recently and I had to know more about this wonderful book.

Illustration by Javiera Maclean Álvarez, from SOME DADDIES by Carol Gordon Ekster, Beaming Books.

We have QUESTIONS for Carol. Are you ready?

Q 1. What was the inspiration for SOME DADDIES?

Carol Gordon Ekster: The story came to me during a facetime call with my grandson about four years ago.  He said his daddy shaved like my husband but his daddy had a beard…so he’s going to have a beard when he gets older because he’s going to be a daddy.

I said, ”Some daddies have beards.”

My writing brain ignited and I paused to write that down as a title.  After a picture book pitch event on twitter, this story sold exactly a year after I first had that facetime call.

Did you just READ that, #PBpitch friends?

Illustration by Javiera Maclean Álvarez, from SOME DADDIES by Carol Gordon Ekster, Beaming Books.

Q 2. It’s been said a tiny part of each of our books is biographical. Which spreads might relate to the dad(s) in your own life? 

Carol Gordon Ekster: I remember feeling emotional at times when I was a child because of the truth in this page spread:

Interior art by Javiera Maclean Álvarez, from SOME DADDIES by Carol Gordon Ekster, Beaming Books.

“Some daddies share comforting words and cry with you.

Others love making you laugh.

Some barely hug.

Others hug like bears.”

SOME DADDIES, Carol Gordon Ekster

CGK: I think it really shows the different personalities dads can have. My dad was one who barely hugged. And when I was younger that was hard for me. But I learned to accept him and appreciate his many other incredible gifts.

He was such a good man. And as adults we became very close. He passed away before he could see the finished book, but he knew it was coming and that it was dedicated to both him and my grandson.

Carol and her dad.

Q 3. What surprises did illustrator Javiera Maclean Álvarez bring to the book?

Carol Gordon Ekster: I love her vibrant colors and great expressions on faces. But the best surprise was the end pages. When I first saw the ARC (advanced readers’ copy) I was disappointed there were no end pages. I love end pages and feel it adds to the art of a picture book. When I saw the final book, I was thrilled! Javiera made outlines of the things and faces inside the book.

My grandson went right through the book to find everything on the end pages inside the pages of the book. Javiera added the additional gift of a ‘search and find’ activity. I love it!

End pages = Search & Find!

Q 4. What do you hope readers will take away from SOME DADDIES?

Carol Gordon Ekster: The book celebrates the incredible diversity of modern fathers. Readers get a glimpse of the endless possibilities masculine love offers. I wanted children to understand the truth in the repeated line, “Every daddy is different.”

I hope readers will see that all daddies show their love in their own unique way and know that no two daddies are alike. That everyone’s experience of a dad’s love may be different, even in your own family among siblings. I hope they come away with an acceptance of their dad and love him for who he is.

Writing Tip:

Q 5. What writing tips would you give pre-published Carol—or others hoping to begin a #kidlit journey?  

Carol Gordon Ekster: I’d say, “Carol, be patient and believe in the process. It’s going to take the time it takes!”

ED note: For more about this “patience / believe” tip,

see Carol’s answer to #7!

Q 6. How does your previous career as an educator influence your books or your writing process?

Carol Gordon Ekster: Since I was little, I played school and always wanted to be a teacher. I loved teaching! It was my passion. And now writing is my passion. But I still have the heart of a teacher. And when I write, I want to touch lives and let children and families know they are not alone.

Life Lessons

If I can bring in some life lessons that will help children navigate this crazy world, then I’d be achieving a goal. A perfect example is how I broke the structure on this page in Some Daddies on this page spread, saying, “Every daddy makes mistakes. (Every human does.)”

Interior art by Javiera Maclean Álvarez, from SOME DADDIES by Carol Gordon Ekster, Beaming Books.

Q 7. Are there other books in the queue? Can you share anything about them?

Carol Gordon Ekster: Yes! And I’m so excited about Trucker Kid, illustrated by Russ Cox, and coming out with Capstone spring 2023. This was a title I believed in but it kept getting rejected.

Believe

I think that by working hard on revisions and, during Covid, adding in backmatter about what might happen in just a few days if trucks stopped service, made this manuscript more relevant. It will have taken a long journey of ten years to hold this book in my hand. The illustrations are magnificent and I’ve loved working with this editor. It just goes to show, it only takes one editor, one yes. Hang in there!

What inspiring answers!

Huge thanks to Carol Gordon Ekster for joining the blog today.

To learn more about Carol and her books, check out her website: carolgordonekster.com

And follow her on Twitter: @cekster

and Instagram: carolgordonekster

*HAPPY FATHER’S DAY*

Happy Book Birthday to POO-DUNIT? A Forest Floor Mystery + 4 Qs for author Katelyn Aronson = a SCATalogical celebration!

I’m thrilled to welcome author Katelyn Aronson back to the blog to celebrate the launch of her latest picture book: POO-DUNIT? A Forest Floor Mystery, Illus. Stephanie Lebaris (Candlewick).

I know–right? How can POO be so adorable?
And a starred review from BCCB!

Katelyn and I met via the DREAM TEAM, a group of go-getter #kidlit authors & illustrators whose goal is to help spread the word about our books, especially when in-person events are few and far between.

I’m pretty sure you’re wondering the same thing I am,

so let’s get started, shall we?

Q 1. What in the world inspired an elegant ex-pat / former bookseller / French-teaching author, living & working in France and Switzerland, to write this hilarious rhyming tale of animal poo, POO-DUNIT? A Forest Floor Mystery—?

Katelyn Aronson: Ha! What a question. I believe it was in the summer of 2018 that my husband and I were watching a nature documentary together. It was all about wolves, and a camera had been set up in the woods to record the passage of any wildlife during the night. Well, a wolf came by at some point and did his “business.” After that, all the other creatures that happened to pass that way stopped to smell what he’d left. I found that particular way of leading an investigation hilarious, not to mention fascinating story fodder.

My story ideas, however, always take a few months to germinate. So it wasn’t until winter of 2019 that I was mulling over this scatalogical mystery idea. Suddenly I gasped and yelled to my husband “POO-DUNIT?!!!!” (As my husband is French, I had to explain my play-on-words.) I then feverishly wrote the story in one sitting, giggling all the way (yet wondering if my agent would even touch my stinky manuscript with a ten foot pole).

Life Imitates Art

Katelyn Aronson: And, yes, I live between France and Switzerland, within the limits of the Jura Regional Park, which is basically made up of mountains, lakes, golf courses and agricultural land.  Just before spring AND just before fall, farmers begin their infamous épandage —manure spreading over the fields.

It starts with the biggest pile of poo I’ve ever seen, and amounts to a very…ahem…odorous couple of days, during which one should avoid picnicking in one’s backyard. I moved here 2 years after selling POO-DUNIT? so perhaps life imitates art after all…

Interior art from Stephanie Lebaris for POO-DUNIT? A Forest Floor Mystery by Katelyn Aronson (Candlewick).

ED Note: I already LOVE the rhymes, don’t you?

Q 2. How –and where –did you do research this book?

Katelyn Aronson: I researched online during the writing and revising of the story (from inside a cozy cabin in the middle of a Swiss snowdrift). It’s no exaggeration when I say that researching the details turned my stomach several times. Once winter was over, I went to my local museum which happened to be showcasing a special animal scat exhibit…as if it was all meant to be!

Katelyn Aronson: Here I am doing a little research at the 2019 Hair, Dung, and Feathers exhibit at “Mondes Polaires”—The Polar Worlds Museum here in the Jura. Don’t I look pleased, posing with piles of poo?
Interior art from Stephanie Lebaris for POO-DUNIT? A Forest Floor Mystery by Katelyn Aronson (Candlewick).

Positivity

Q 3. What do you hope young readers will take away from POO-DUNIT?

Katelyn Aronson: First, I hope they take away laughter. (Life is way too short, but it is also way too serious!) Second, I hope they realize that when life—or the powers that be—dish out poo, there is always some unexpected way to work ones humble magic and turn that ugliness into something beautiful. Much easier said than done. It takes hope and heart, courage and creativity to transmute negative energy into positive, but that’s what this story is about.

MORE!

Q 4. Are there other books in the queue? Can you share anything about them?

Katelyn Aronson: My next book, WHEN PB MET J (illustrated by Sesame Street artist Sarah Rebar) releases next January from Penguin Random House.

You might call it a kitchen condiment retelling of West Side Story. Although no one bursts out in song, there is a “Friday Night Jam” dancing scene.

Coming in 2025–with Mermaids!

Katelyn Aronson: Far off in the future (2025) my first story starring humans and mermaids will release from Candlewick just in time for summer. ORPHELINE, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk, tells the story of a lonely little girl named Cora who finds a merbaby washed up on her shore and becomes convinced that the mysterious baby is hers to keep.

ED Note: this means we’ll have to have you back! Yayy!

Happy POO-DUNIT Book Birthday, Kate!

To learn more about Katelyn Aronson and her books, follow her on

Twitter: @MademoiselleK8

Instagram: authorkatelyn

and check out her website: katelynaronson.com.

AND…click these links to check out Kate’s earlier blog appearances for

CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL

and PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE.

Up next on the blog:

Fractured Fairy Tales + STEM + Kidlit tips with “Literally” Lynne Marie.

And then–It’s the (almost / July 5th) Book Birthday of Megan Hoyt‘s new PB bio, The Greatest Song of All– How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall, illus. Katie Hickey, (Quill Tree Books).

See you then!  

Happy Book Birthday to THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS + 10 Qs with Rosie J. Pova = win-win!

Hooray! It’s the Book Birthday of Rosie J. Pova’s new picture book, 

THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS,

illus. Monika Filipina, Yeehoo Press!

Don’t you LOVE this cover?

“A sweet and sassy fractured fairy-tale about beloved characters who don’t make the final cut to be in a famous story but still find their starring roles.”

–YeeHoo Press

“”Failing your way to fabulous.” A delightful and refreshing take on failure that shows kids how imperfection is an expected and necessary part of success. The story highlights the importance of experimenting as a tool for discovering your true self. The detailed illustrations are immensely fun to pore over. A wonderful addition to any child’s library.” –Karen Yin, author of Whole Whale and So Not Ghoul

Welcome to the blog, Rosie J. Pova!

Let’s Ask Some Questions!

Q 1. What was the inspiration for SCHOOL OF FAILURE: a Story about Success?

Rosie J. Pova: Our family was away on Thanksgiving a few years ago, up in the mountains in Colorado, in a cabin, and between cooking the holiday meal and getting ready for our celebration, I sat down to write. I brainstormed possible book titles, trying to come up with one that would be interesting and memorable, and THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE came to mind. I thought it was intriguing, and so I wanted to find out what that story could be about. Later, I added the subtitle because I didn’t want readers and educators to get the wrong impression for the book, and because I needed the title to communicate the positive aspect of “failure” that the story explores.

Patience and Persistence

Q 2. Were there any times during the writing & publishing process of this book, or your #kidlit journey that—much like your characters Wolfred, Zinderella, and the Non-evil Queen—required patience and persistence?

Rosie J. Pova: Yes, plenty for both!

My #kidlit journey did require a ton of patience and persistence and it still does. (THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE is actually an autobiographical story. 😉 LOL)

As for the book, I guess it was only logical for a book about mistakes to go through a lot of “mistakes” ha-ha. This story definitely holds my personal record of the most revisions ever. There were other bumps on the road to its publication as well, and the release date had to be postponed a couple of times. But it’s finally here and I am excited to share it with readers around the world!

Interior art by Monika Filipina from THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS by Rosie J. Pova (Yeehoo Press).

Rejection…

Q 3. What advice would Wolfred, Zinderella, and the Non-Evil Queen say to rejected picture book characters (and possibly their authors & illustrators)?  

Rosie J. Pova: Ha! Having graduated The School of Failure, I think they’d say, “rejection is redirection” and also, “NO stands for ‘next opportunity’ that could be a better fit.” And if they’ve really learned their lesson, they might add that “failure is your friend because it’s leading you on your own personal path to success. Just keep going and trust the process.”

Q 4. What surprises did illustrator Monika Filipina bring to the book?  

Rosie J. Pova: So many surprises! For example, the Headmaster being a bat or the Fairy Godmother being a pink dragon.

Interior art by Monika Filipina from THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS by Rosie J. Pova (Yeehoo Press).

Tips, Tools, and Techniques

Q 5. Taking a question from your wonderful blog, Rosie: Could you share any craft tools or techniques that you find most helpful to you when working on a project?

Rosie J. Pova: I have many and revise in tiers but to mention a couple techniques that are really helpful:

1) As I read my manuscript out loud, I imagine that I’m in front of 300 first graders and try to anticipate their engagement and reactions to the story as well as checking against my own excitement sharing it with them.

2) I look for opportunities to insert something unexpected, especially in the opening or ending of the story. I pay extra attention to making sure my beginning doubles on the hooks and that my ending has triple powers—it’s satisfying, memorable, and effectively wraps up the intended emotional takeaway.

Interior art by Monika Filipina from THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS by Rosie J. Pova (Yeehoo Press).

Support & Celebrations

Q 6. Who’s part of your #kidlit support system? Who gives YOU support and encouragement in your writing life when times get crazy?

Rosie J. Pova: My critique partners, author friends, and my agent are invaluable in being my support system!

Q 7. Do you have a launch planned for this book? Details, please!

Rosie J. Pova: No official launch planned for this book, but if people follow me on social media (or subscribe to my blog) that’d be a great way to stay in touch and get updates on upcoming events, giveaways, webinars that I host, or interviews with industry professionals that I post on my KidLit Oasis Chitchat Series. I would also encourage emerging or unpublished writers to join my Facebook group, The Unstoppable Writer if they’re looking for support and resources.

Takeaways

Q 8. What do you hope readers (young and old) will take away from this book?

Rosie J. Pova: I hope the book will be entertaining and elicit a few laughs, but also that it would serve as a conversation starter on how making mistakes is an opportunity to grow and learn, how failing could be perceived differently, and the importance of persistence. I think young readers will identify with one or more of the three characters’ personalities and, as they follow along their fairytale journeys, kids will feel more empowered and unafraid to face challenges in their own journeys.

It would be wonderful to know that the story resonated with readers, both young and old, and that they’d happily read the book over and over.

What’s Next?

Q 9. What other projects are you working on?

Rosie J. Pova: Lots in the works and it keeps me busy—I’m never bored! We’re about to go out on sub with a board book, in addition to some picture books we’re waiting to hear on. I have a chapter book series that my agent and I are getting ready for submission as well. Next will be finishing revisions on my non-fiction picture books.

Plus…..

I’m teaching my online writing courses and mentorship programs for other writers.

Q 10. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Rosie J. Pova: Oh, so many things…. I love school visits, I like helping other writers, I enjoy the flexibility of writing, and the thrill I get from a raving reader review never gets old! 😊

To learn more about Rosie J. Pova and her books,

check out her web site: rosiejpova.com

and follow her on social media:

Twitter: @RosiePOV

Instagram: rosiepova

Happy Book Birthday, Rosie!

We know THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE will be a huge SUCCESS!

Happy (almost)Book Birthday WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE + 9 Qs with Karen Kilpatrick and Germán Blanco.

WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE by Karen Kilpatrick, Illus. Germán Blanco (Henry Holt & Co.) releases next Tuesday, May 10th, and we couldn’t be sparklier!

In the third hilarious picture book in the award-winning When Pencil Met Eraser series, underappreciated Glue longs to stand out. It’s a sticky situation until Glue meets a new friend, Glitter, who helps bring out her inner sparkle, confidence, and creativity.

Illus. by Germán Blanco, WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE, written by Karen Kilpatrick (Henry Holt & Co.)
Illus. by Germán Blanco, WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE, written by Karen Kilpatrick (Henry Holt & Co.)

We are very excited to have both author Karen Kilpatrick, and illustrator Germán Blanco answer our questions today. Welcome Karen and Germán!

1.     You two have teamed up on so many wonderful projects! How did the two of you meet / start working together?

Karen Kilpatrick: We actually met while working at the same toy company. Germán was the Creative Director of the division I led, and I was always so impressed with his work. When I wrote my first book, he seemed like a natural choice to illustrate it. I knew his work ethic and talent, and we had already worked on numerous creative projects together. It just made sense. 

2.     They say each of our books is a tiny bit autobiographical. Which character in this series (including WHEN PENCIL MET ERASER, WHEN PENCIL MET THE MARKERS) is most like you: Glitter, Glue, Markers, Pencil, Eraser?

Karen Kilpatrick: I think I’m a mix of Pencil, Eraser, Glitter, and Glue! Sometimes I get annoyed while working with others (Pencil), sometimes I am super exuberant and positive (Eraser), I really love helping people shine (Glitter), and sometimes I intimately relate to Glue (working hard in the background without being seen). 

Germán Blanco: I feel like Purple Marker. I like being weird and a bit crazy, and like the Purple Marker, I like coloring outside the lines and coming up with my own things. 

Illus. by Germán Blanco, WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE, written by Karen Kilpatrick (Henry Holt & Co.)

3.     Were you the kid who always wanted to write/illustrate books someday, or did this creative journey begin along the way to something else?

Karen Kilpatrick: I don’t know that I knew I would write, but I have always loved books. I was one of those kids who read under the covers with a flashlight and couldn’t go to sleep because I had to finish a story.  I’m still that way to this day! I started my career as an attorney, and my path to this space has been a long and tangled one, but storytelling, reading, and writing have always been a constant. 

Germán Blanco: I always liked doodling, but I never thought I would be doing it for a living, so that was a nice surprise. I went to school for advertising thinking it would be a creative field, but I diverged into graphic design and eventually illustration.

4.     Germán — Do you have a favorite spread in WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE –or one that was most challenging?

Germán Blanco: My favorite spread was when Glitter gets stuck on the glue, I think it’s funny and I always veer towards comedy.

Illus. by Germán Blanco, WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE, written by Karen Kilpatrick (Henry Holt & Co.)

5.     Germán –What’s your favorite medium? Does it change with each project?

Germán Blanco: My favorite medium is pencil and paper, the classics. I like to keep things simple, which has always been my style. However it is fun to try new things and new styles with each new project.

6.     Karen–How do you balance (juggle?) your busy author career with your work at Genius Cat Books and East West Literary Agency, and parenting? Any tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way?

Karen Kilpatrick: I joke that my life is like having 50 balls in the air at any one time, and then diving for the balls that are closest to the ground so they don’t hit the floor! But I don’t think you can ever balance everything and that’s okay.

Love what you do.

Karen Kilpatrick: I am focused, I work hard every day, and I love what I do, which makes everything easier. I have learned to be kind to myself and have clarity about my goals. This allows me to focus on what is important and not necessarily worry about the rest. 

7.     What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Karen Kilpatrick: Everyone wants to be seen. It’s an incredible gift to be able to help someone shine. Be the Glitter to someone’s Glue!

8.     Please tell us about your other projects, to be released or in the works.

We have some really exciting upcoming titles for Fall ’22. Our first early graphic novel, P.I. Butterfly, will be released in October. I just love the curiosity, spunk, and goofiness of the characters and the interactivity of the book. We’re really excited about that one! We also have a picture book, Nobody Likes Bedtime, a new series (What Is Dog?), and a guided journal called The Power of Me

9.     Is there a question you wish we’d asked?
Karen Kilpatrick: Yes–Why do you enjoy being a writer? I believe in the power of storytelling as a way to connect. Stories can inspire, educate, and heal. Writing allows me to contribute to the world in a way I feel good about and gives me a purpose beyond myself. 

To learn more about Karen Kilpatrick and Germán Blanco, check out their websites:

KarenKilpatrick.com and germanblan.co

And follow them on social media:

Twitter: @AuthorKarenK

Instagram: kayppin and germanbl_nco

You can also find then on the East/West Literary Agency website:

Karen Kilpatrick

Germán Blanco

Happy Book Birthday, WHEN GLITTER MET GLUE!


Happy Poem in your Pocket Day = Mather Heights Elementary 2nd grade Blog Takeover!

Did you know that today is Poem in your Pocket Day? We wrote poems about Earth when we zoomed with author Erin Dealey on Earth Day, and we are taking over her blog to share them with you.

Our poems are on display at our school:

Don’t they look cool? (Hey–that rhymes!)

We learned to write a “First Line/ Last Line” poem with Erin Dealey.

First we wrote one together:

Then we got to write our own.

We paired them with our Earth Day art projects:

We are so excited that Erin Dealey let us take over her blog! Now we are published authors! 

This is DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey

(Harper Collins / Illus. by Luisa Uribe)

We are proud to be poets and Earth Heroes.

Look at our garden!

We think Earth Day should be every day. Don’t you?

We also think writing poetry is fun! We hope you like our poems.

Thank you, Mrs. Fong, for helping us take over Erin Dealey’s Blog.

Sincerely,

The Kids in Room 13,

Mather Heights Elementary School