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!
Carol and I met up at nErDcampCT recently and I had to know more about this wonderful book.
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?
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.)”
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.
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