A Rambler Steals Home

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(available February 28 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Three weeks from today, this book for middle graders (and the rest of us!) will be out in the world!

Have you heard? Here’s what you can find inside:

Garland, Derby, and Triple Clark spend each season traveling highways and byways in their Rambler—until summer, when small-town Ridge Creek, Virginia, calls them back. There they settle in, selling burgers and fries out of Garland’s Grill after each game the Rockskippers play in their battered minor-league baseball stadium. Derby’s summer traditions bring her closer than she’s ever been to a real home that isn’t on wheels, but this time, her return to Ridge Creek reveals unwelcome news. Now the person Derby loves most in town needs her help—and yet finding a way to do so may uncover deeply held stories and secrets.

A big shout out to Brandon Dorman, the cover illustrator. I love this image so much. You’ll see this scene for the first time in the text on page It’s kind of a thing.

And here’s a bit of what you’ll find in the Acknowledgements of my book, a few sentences that celebrates this story’s beginning:

The first thing that showed up in my  heart was Garland’s Grill. It didn’t budge for a while, thanks to some busted wheels. But then there were some sparkling Christmas lights. There was a stadium, a turtle, and a Rambler. And then there was a girl.

That’s how stories start, from watching a bunch of small things. This bunch of small things became a story about the triumph of community and teamwork and finding families that look a little different than you’d imagined.

If you love books and parties and cookies shaped like baseballs, won’t you join me?

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If you can’t make that party, but would like a personalized and/or signed copy, head here for all the details. Preorder links for other outlets are all here.

I’ll also be in Richmond, VA on April 1st at bbgb. Details to come.

Thanks for helping me celebrate this book! I’m looking forward to seeing it find its readers.

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The Unexpected Love Story Of Alfred Fiddleduckling + An Interview with Timothy Basil Ering

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by Timothy Basil Ering (Candlewick, 2017)

One of my all time favorite picture books is The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone, which I wrote about here. That’s Timothy’s! I’m so excited to have him here today and to give you a peek of his latest book, a total delight, The Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling.

Check out this synopsis and see what I mean.

Captain Alfred is sailing home with new ducks for his farm when his little boat is caught in an unexpected and mighty storm. Everything aboard the ship is flung to the far reaches of the sea, including the very special and beautiful duck egg he had nestled safely inside his fiddle case. But perhaps all is not lost: the little duckling stumbles out of his shell and discovers Captain Alfred’s fiddle, floating not too far away in the waves. And when the duckling embraces the instrument with all his heart, what happens next is pure magic. Through an enchanting read-aloud text and beautiful artwork, award-winning author-illustrator Timothy Basil Ering shares a thrilling and fantastical story of a farmer, a gentle old lady, a dancing dog, and one brave, tiny duckling that will warm the heart.

Welcome, Timothy!

How did you get into picture books?

The foundation to my career as an illustrator was The Art Center in Pasadena CA. I don’t know where I’d be without that amazing training from a melting pot of truly amazing teachers. One of the biggest starts for me just before I graduated was when I caught word that an art director was visiting Pasadena for a day to look at student portfolios. Making that appointment to show my portfolio, which was a soup of all kinds of stuff, was one of those “OMG, I’m so glad I did this!” moments.

The art director, Lynette Rushchak, showed particular interest in the textures I was creating, and in my figure and anatomy drawings. She told me that she was looking for an illustrator that could create aged, distressed, anatomical figure drawings that were reminiscent of old DaVinci drawings. When my eyes lit up with curiosity, she asked me if I’d be interested to illustrate an exciting manuscript she had that was written by author, Roscoe Cooper. Of coarse I was thrilled about the opportunity and was all in! That project was The Diary Of Victor Frankenstein. After lots and lots of drawing, DKink, NY published the book and it was released in 1997. It was the 1st book I illustrated. The project was fantastic fun!

Trying to manipulate paper to give the appearance that the paper was hundreds of years old was part of the project that I really enjoyed, and creating pen and ink, and charcoal drawings of strange experiments and macabre anatomical illustrations was a blast. What’s more is that I illustrated that book on a small 30-foot boat! I had at that time also made a commitment to a 5-month sailing voyage alone with my father on that boat from Florida to Guatemala and back. It was an adventure that I will never forget! Creating art for that book hooked me deep with interest to illustrate more books!

And more books came.

After illustrating 3 more books by different authors, including a children’s pop-up picture book, I became more and more excited, interested, anxious, and determined to see if I could write and illustrate my own book. After hours, days, weeks, and months of writing and re-writing and scribbling and sketching and re-drawing, I was ready to show the work and I pulled off what seemed to be the impossible- getting in the door of a publisher to have a meeting to show the work and my ideas! It was a meeting with editor and publisher Karen Lotz in NY that launched the beginning of a dream. It was a meeting that I thank my lucky stars for every day! With Karen Lotz and Candlewick Press, my 1st book, that I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 2003, and this was the beginning of my ongoing, magical, and SO appreciated adventure in making books with Candlewick Press!

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Where did Alfred Fiddleduckling’s story come from?

I had bits and pieces of dead end ideas for a story that I was trying to write around two characters I had imagined. The two characters had great potential that I did not want to give up on. One character was a duck named Alfred that played the fiddle. The other was a duck dog that did not like duck hunting but loved to dance, and in particular, he loved to dance to the fiddle! So, whenever I imagined my two characters interacting out in a marsh somewhere, it made me laugh, but the story just wasn’t going anywhere.

Whenever I hit a wall over and over again when I’m writing or art making, the way I clear my mind from frustration is to go fishing. Lots of ideas come to me when I’m out on the water fishing. So one day, during a “getting nowhere writing day,” I grabbed my fishing rod and hit the beach. I waded across the shallow flats through the water until I was about a ¼ mile off shore standing in waist deep water casting and thinking and relaxing and doing what I love to do when unexpectedly a huge thick white fog bank rolled in off the ocean right to me. I was locked in fog. I love the ocean, and extreme weather, so watching this fog was awesome but more so it got me thinking about a new element in my story! Fog! I had been lost and struggling in my story, and oddly enough, as I stood offshore, in waist deep water, in the fog, things became super clear to me! The fog made me think of mariners from long ago getting lost at sea in the fog, and it made me think of widows. Wow! 3 new ideas! The fog, a sea captain, and the sea captain’s wife were new ideas that immediately began to thread themselves into my dead end ideas and I knew just what to do with Alfred and the dog!

Normally I stay in the water until I catch fish but that day was a day I couldn’t get to my sketchbook fast enough! I jogged through the water, across the beach, up through the woods to my truck and sat in it dripping wet, writing so fast it looked like chicken scratch!

Can you tell us about your process?

I like to experiment with lots of different art making mediums. Which mediums I choose to use depends on the project. For The Unexpected Love Story Of Alfred Fiddleduckling, I used acrylic paint, charcoal, and pen and ink on paper for the interior art. I used acrylic paint on wood and canvas for the book cover. For most of the illustrations I worked on 19” X 24” paper. I created charcoal drawings first, and then painted on top of the drawings. However, some of the illustrations were started with paint first, then drawing over paint, then paint again.

Whatever mediums I use for my art, there will be several layers applied and mixed before I finish a piece. I like to start an image by loosely rubbing, scribbling, smearing, or washing the medium all over the surface that I’m drawing or painting on. I’d say I use my hands to move the mediums around as much as I use brushes, especially when using charcoal. I use charcoal pencils, and graphite pencils but I also love to grind pigment from the pencils or sticks onto the surface I’m working on so that I can rub the pigment, or smear it, and make shapes and forms and marks with my hands.

I’m definitely very inspired by the way children apply art-making mediums. At the beginning of a drawing or painting, I like to move the mediums around quickly to increase the potential for mistakes that can lead to unique things that happen to shapes and forms and colors. I’m always keenly watching for interesting visual things to happen and when they do, I stop to look and react to their beautiful possibilities. To me, mistakes show positive possibilities that I might not have imagined were there when I started. There’s a lot of trial and error, lots of mistakes, and different reactions to my mistakes. If something doesn’t work visually, it’s fun to deconstruct it by erasing or painting over it, and then to reconstruct it again with different color, or value, or size, or whatever it takes so that it does visually work. I also like to glue more paper, or canvas, or wood if needed to make room for more imagery rather than to start over again on a new surface. Sometimes I cut pieces of art from a piece to move it somewhere else in the piece or collage onto a completely different piece.

Below is an example of starting with a charcoal drawing. The paint was applied over the drawing.

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Below is the beginning of the application of paint over a charcoal drawing.

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Below is an example of starting with a loose painting.

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The two drawings below of the gentle lady wearing a gray wool coat are examples of developing a charcoal drawing over a wash of paint, and they show how much my drawings change while I’m developing them.

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Below you can see how much my scribbled drawing of Alfred shrunk in size before I started painting him.

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The next two drawings below are examples of experiments with paint, ideas, textures, and composition during my process of figuring out these illustrations.

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Believe it or not, the image below of this beautiful glob is actually my kneaded erasure that I pinched into a quick reference sculpture of Alfred Fiddleduckling playing his fiddle. I used it to help myself envision and draw the following illustration of Alfred playing his fiddle.

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I used pen and ink to create the title text.

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Who are some of your story heroes?

When I was in high school, I had a hard time finding books that captured my interest quick enough to keep me pouring through the pages until I read White Fang by Jack London. I love the outdoors, nature, wild animals, and adventure, so I really enjoyed that story, so much so that when I finished that book I remember wanting to see what else Jack London wrote. It was easy to find Call Of The Wild and I loved that story too. Again I searched for another story to read by Jack London and chose Sea Wolf and loved that one too! So, one of my story writing heroes is Jack London.

Another story writing hero of mine is Irving Stone. It only took one book of his to make him a hero of mine. It’s a big book entitled The Agony And The Ecstasy. What kept me into every page was Irving Stone’s wonderful descriptions of the life and times of my favorite artist, Michael Angelo. It was awesome! And Kate DiCamillo is not only a story writing hero of mine, but she also created a story book hero of mine- Despereaux.*

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*Which Timothy illustrated! What a pair.

What’s your favorite piece of art in your house?

A single-haired paint brush painting of an owl by an artist from India who paints masterfully with a tiny, tiny, tiny one haired brush!

What’s next for you?

I am working hard on my next children’s picture book, but its waaaaaayy too early to say anything about it except that I’m struggling with fighting the good fight and I think I need to go fishing!


 

Thanks, Timothy! I can’t wait to see how that next fishing trip turns out.

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THE UNEXPECTED LOVE STORY OF ALFRED FIDDLEDUCKLING. Copyright © 2017 by Timothy Basil Ering. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

The Green Umbrella

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by Jackie Azúa Kramer and Maral Sassouni (NorthSouth, 2016)

Here’s a gorgeous book that’s got it all. Beautiful language, lovely pictures, and a story that is rich in both originality and familiarity. It’s out early next month, and I’m so excited to bring you this sneak peek today.

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An umbrella. An ordinary thing. But this particular umbrella has been around the block and had many adventures with other animals. It is, then, something that belongs to everyone. An ordinary thing with an extraordinary job.

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Here’s a note from illustrator Maral Sassouni about her process for this book:

My work is mixed media, a hybrid of traditional and digital methods. Specifically, the images are a mélange of cut paper collage and painting, with oil paint, acrylics, and inks. The characters are generally created separately, like little paper puppets, which I then glue to the painted setting, along with any foreground elements. I use Photoshop (when necessary) to digitally assemble hand-made collage elements and occasionally add some sparkle and glow where needed.


 

Sparkle and glow! Isn’t it lovely?  1mice-cover3-h700 1sq-mouse3-hand-r-skb 1sq-elephant3-treetop 1sq-cat10-palette9-tilt-v2 1hedgi5-hand-vgd 1hedgeboat3-BEST-c

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Big thanks to NorthSouth and Maral Sassouni for the images in this post.

Writing!

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by Murray McCain & John Alcorn (Ammo Books, reissued 2015; originally published 1964)

Take a look at this quirky book on writing I snagged recently. I love it for its oddball pictures and typography as much as for its spot-on quips on writing and how to do it. A craft book? A picture book? A coffee-table-slash-gift-book? Yeah. All of it.

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Radiant Child

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by Javaka Steptoe (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016)

Let’s start 2017 with one of the most exquisite books of 2016. If you don’t know it yet, I’d bet a Picasso that three Mondays from now you’ll be hearing more about it. Truly one for the year and one for our time.

Just look.

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This is what a great book looks like when a spectacular artist creates art in honor of a spectacular artist. Javaka Steptoe writes about his process at the beginning of the book–that much like Basquiat, he used parts of New York City itself. Steptoe scavenged for discarded wood from Brooklyn to Greenwich Village to the Lower East Side. Basquiat’s art isn’t reproduced in this book about him, but the spirit of his work is alive in these found planks and paintings.

Notice too, how the wood on each page fits not-so-neatly together. It’s whole, but broken. Cuts and ridges and physical places for more art to live. Again, much like Basquiat.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in 1960 to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. At home, they spoke three languages–four, if you include the language of art itself. Basquiat’s mother encouraged him to make and create and visit museums. She drew with him. She taught him how to see. She helped him heal.

This relationship is at the heart of the book, and is one that young readers can imagine of their own. Basquiat’s life was complicated and messy and deeply tragic. His mother was mentally ill. And yet, the book shines a light on Basquiat’s raw talent, his brilliant mind, and his loving relationship with his dear mother.

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When you consider that art and story became this creator’s voice, a clear thread of hope arises out of both the book and Basquiat’s life. We see it. We hear it. We are inspired to make and fight and do the same.

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This is the final spread in the book, and despite an exhilarating crowd of faces eager for Basquiat’s work, the text says this, “. . . above all the critics, fans, and artists he admires, the place of honor is his mother’s, a queen on a throne.” We see them there in the background, under his signature crown, and we also see them on the right, the final image in our story. A famous artist, looking toward his mother for approval. She showed him it was possible.

See how a word is occasionally visualized differently on the page? The last four instances of this design choice make a lovely little poem that succinctly reflects the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

BEAUTIFUL

MAGICAL

RADIANT, WILD, A GENIUS CHILD

HE IS NOW A FAMOUS ARTIST!

For more on Jean-Michel Basquiat, check out this film and a companion NPR piece with its director, a friend of Basquiat’s. And for more on Javaka Steptoe and his book, do give this episode of The Yarn a listen.

Update: here’s a video chat between Little, Brown and Javaka Steptoe. Wonderful stuff.

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Thanks to Little, Brown for the images in this post.  

2017 Middle Grade Debuts

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Look at all of those beautiful books! Each of these book covers has a lovely author (sometimes two!) behind it, and I am so lucky to be debuting a book with this bunch. If you just can’t wait to spend some holiday money, a preorder of one or all of these is a wonderful idea. Treat your shelf!

You can find us chatting books at both of these hashtags on Twitter: #mgdebuts + #2017mgdebuts. Come join us!

Want to download a flier for yourself or your favorite local bookstore or library? Click here.

Speaking of favorite local bookstores, I am honored to have partnered with my friends at Once Upon a Time Bookstore to offer autographed copies of my book. If you’d like to preorder a copy of A Rambler Steals Home, just call (818-248-9668) or stop in.

Additional preorder links here, but don’t forget your local bookstores. They are doing important work!

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Happy New Year to you and yours, and happy reading!

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Best of the Year at All the Wonders

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The team at All the Wonders has been hard at work over the last month or so, finishing up pages and tallying our favorites. We read a whole lot this year. And so this week, we bring to you four end-of-the-year-best-of-the-year lists, a monster-sized batch of top-notch books.

Head over for lists celebrating picture books, nonfiction picture books, chapter books through young adult, and comics.

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Perfect for last minute gifting!

Enjoy!

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Listen! Listen!

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by Ann and Paul Rand (reissued by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016)

I’m a big fan of these two, a creative powerhouse of a family. I’ve written about their books before, here and here.

This one is worth a look. And now, thanks to Princeton Architectural Press, you can get your hands on it once again.

It’s a look at that funny relationship between sound and color and how they swing around one another. Bold and dazzling and so very interesting, all captured here in this picture book.

Here’s a peek:

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The spread below stops me to smile. You have to tilt the book ninety degrees, unusual for the traditional page turn. And the sound of snow? Quiet, and yet powerful enough to hear. Pretty neat.

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A tender reminder to do a little more listening on all of our days, especially this time of year.

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Thanks to Princeton Architectural Press for the images in this post.

Creating Thunder Boy Jr.: it takes a village!

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by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown 2016)

I am so excited to share this guest post with you today! Please welcome Alvina Ling, esteemed editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, sharing here about the collaborative process that brought this beautiful book to life.

Enjoy!


Creating Thunder Boy Jr.: it takes a village!

by Alvina Ling

It’s said that we’re “stronger together,” and that’s certainly the case when it comes to bringing a children’s book into the world.

Collaboration is especially apparent when working on picture books, and I thought I’d give you all a peek into how a book gets made while outlining the publication process of the picture book Thunder Boy Jr. , written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales.

Most picture books start with a manuscript. Sherman, associate editor Bethany Strout, and I went through a few different ideas, and a countless number of drafts and revision to get to the text that ended up in the book. He sent the initial idea for Thunder Boy Jr. in as a text titled I Want a New Name in July 2013, and we had a final manuscript and the new title by September, which is relatively fast.

Once we had a manuscript ready to share, we set about finding an illustrator. At Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR), we always ask the author if they have any ideas. Sherman suggested an illustrator, and I worked with our Design department to come up with some additional ideas to share with him, too. Ultimately, two different people at LBYR separately suggested Yuyi Morales. Yuyi’s Niño Wrestles the World had gained a lot of attention that year, and when I showed the book to Sherman, he was instantly in love. He even wrote a letter to Yuyi to entice her.

Dear Yuyi,

I am sitting in the Little Brown offices looking at picture books, searching for potential illustrators, and I just saw your Nino book, AND I AM IN LOVE.

I would very much love to work with you.

Please.

Please.

Please.

Um, please.

Sherman Alexie

I hadn’t known it at the time, but Yuyi had been planning to focus on her own work, as opposed to illustrating other author’s work. But it turned out that her whole family was huge Sherman Alexie fans. In fact, for Christmas one year her son had given his grandparents copies of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Yuyi was IN! And, we were all ecstatic. It felt meant to be.

Once Yuyi was on board, the next step was sketches. Yuyi sent us very rough thumbnails first. Here are a few spreads:

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As you may be able to see, in the early thumbnails, Thunder Boy Jr. had a bunch of friends that he interacted with. The art director, Sasha Illingworth, and I reviewed the sketches and decided that they were a little too busy and confusing at times. The funny thing with collaboration is, oftentimes you don’t remember who came up with what idea, but we ended up throwing out to Yuyi: instead of all the friends, what if Thunder Boy Jr. had just a sister instead? Yuyi loved the idea of bringing in a little girl, and focusing on Thunder Boy Jr’s immediate family.

Once sketches were in, we circulated them amongst design, copyediting (in this case, our managing editor Andy Ball), and editorial. Each department reviews the sketches carefully, looking for things like continuity, pacing, the gutter (the middle of the spread where the pages are bound together), the “bleed” on the edges (during the book’s printing, the pages aren’t always cut exactly right, so we ask the illustrator to include a quarter inch extra art, or bleed, around the edges just in case, so that nothing gets cut off), and more.

Here were the comments we sent Yuyi on the spreads above:

Spread 9:   The scene on the left is a bit close to the one on spread 11. Is it possible to change this one up a bit? This is a quieter moment in the story. We’d also  love to add mom into this scene. On the right side, we’ve love for Thunder Boy to be bigger, and would love for him to be leaning in, perhaps like he’s whispering, or gesturing to us that he’s telling a secret.

Spread 10: We LOVE this! We don’t want to lose too much of Thunder Boy’s head so it would be great to move him up a bit. We also don’t want to lose the snake in the gutter, could you shift his head to the left?

Spread 11: We’d love to see a little more action in the right hand side. Maybe make him larger in scale as well? Have him be in a more powerful/active pose?

Yuyi sent us more detailed sketches—you can see how the art has developed:

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Isn’t the little sister adorable?! For those of you who have read the book, I think you’d agree that she steals the show. And to think she almost didn’t exist!

We also sent these sketches to Sherman, who loved them so much. “Oh the sketches just made me cry!” He was also inspired to make some text changes in response to Yuyi’s art—for example, he added the little sister character into the text, and we also worked to get the ending just right.

In this case, these are the comments we send Yuyi on the three spreads I shared above:

Spread 9: LOVE

Spread 10: Need lots of bleed especially on the bottom so we don’t lose too much

Spread 11: GREAT. Love little sis hanging on Dad’s leg!

As you can see, not too many comments—Yuyi was given the go-ahead to go to final art.

In the meantime, Sherman and I continued to work on the ending—we felt that the resolution was happening too quickly. Here’s the previous ending text:

I do not want the name

they gave me when I was born.

I do not want to be Little Thunder.

I don’t want to be small.

Hey, wait.

I just had a great idea.

I know how

to fix this thing.

My Dad will stay Thunder

But my name will be Lightning.

Together, my Dad and I

will become amazing weather.

Our love will be loud

and it will be bright.

My Dad and I will light up the sky.

Sherman thought about it, and decided that he wanted the new ending to deepen the father’s role. Here was his revision:

I love my dad but I don’t want to be exactly like him.

I love my dad but

I want to be mostly myself.

I love my dad but I want my own name.

What do I do? What do I say?

“Son, I think it’s time I gave you a new name. A name of your own.”

My dad read my mind! My dad read my heart!

“Son, my name will still be Thunder but your new name will be…”

LIGHTNING!

Together, my Dad and I

will become amazing weather.

Our love will be loud

and it will be bright.

My Dad and I will light up the sky.

Even though we often like to have the child solve a problem in children’s books himself, in this case we felt the new ending rang more true—it seemed fitting for Thunder Boy Jr. to declare his will of wanting his new name, and for his father to help grant his wish in the end. Yuyi suggested having both the father and son say “Lightning!” at the same time, which made for a satisfying ending.

Because we expanded the ending, we now needed to condense some of the beginning. Here’s a revised spread at the beginning with new text including the sister:

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Ah, there’s Mom!

If you look at the finished book, you’ll notice further art changes to the composition that were made, even after this sketch. It’s always a work in progress.

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And then comes the part that is still one of my absolute favorite parts of my job—when the final art starts coming in. In this case, Yuyi sent in scans of her art.

This is one of the first pieces Yuyi sent in:

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Absolutely gorgeous.

We sent a few test pieces into the printer to start picking paper and proofing. At this stage, we’re working closely with our production department—Erika Schwartz supervised the production of this book. We got in test proofs with the art on both coated and uncoated paper, and then reviewed both carefully. Personally, I’m a sucker for the texture and feel of uncoated paper, but it really depends on the specific art style and book. In this case, it was unanimous: we decided to go with coated paper, because it made Yuyi’s colors really pop.

In the meantime, Sasha was coming up with different fonts for us to choose from, and then placing all of the art with the text in a file called mechanicals. Printouts are circulated once again from design, to copyediting, and to editorial, with each department marking corrections and queries directly on the printouts. The mechanicals circulate until there are no more corrections needed. The mechanicals are also sent to Yuyi and Sherman for review.

The final mechanicals are sent to the printer, and we get color proof back. These we review to make sure the color reflects the original art. If an illustrator is local (like Peter Brown or Jerry Pinkney, for example), we’ll invite them into the office to review the proof for color—we have a color review room in our office with special lighting for this purpose.

Otherwise, as with Yuyi, we mail them the proof and ask them for comments, which we’ll incorporate into our own in-house review of the art. Editorial, production, and design are involved in the color correcting.

Once again, we go as many rounds as needed to get the color right.

So many discussions and decisions go into the making of a book. The cover image, of course—at LBYR we have a jacket committee where our Sales, Marketing, and Publicity directors all weigh in. We bring in sketches, then final art, and discuss details down to how the bylines will read.

Here’s an early cover sketch:

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A few early comps:

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And the final cover:

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Other things to decide: What will the endpapers look like? (circles with the colors Yuyi used throughout the book to highlight emotions) Should we include an author’s note? (We thought the book was perfect without. Also, Sherman and I felt that once the book was out in the world, it belonged to the readers and we liked the idea of different children—brown and otherwise–seeing themselves in the book without knowing the story’s inspiration.) What special effects should go on the cover? (spot gloss and embossing on the title)

The book is now out in the world. It has received six starred reviews, was an instant New York Times and IndieBound bestseller, and best of all, has been pronounced my countless kids to be their favorite book. We couldn’t be prouder of how it’s been received.

As I hope I’ve illustrated, it takes a village to create a book—and of course there are countless more people who touch the book and make it what it becomes. It’s a labor of love for everyone involved, and, ultimately, it is the readers who play the most important role of all.


 

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And the Undie goes to . . .

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That was fun. Did you have fun? We had fun. Big congrats to our winners, and we’ll see you in 2017!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for celebrating books in this way with us. The kids are lucky.

BEST SPOILER

And the Undie goes to . . .

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BEST CLIFF’S NOTES VERSION

And the Undie goes to . . .

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BEST MIDDLE GRADE/CHAPTER BOOKS

And the Undie goes to . . .

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BEST SNEAK PEEK AT THE SETTING

And the Undie goes to . . .

eatyou

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CRAFTIEST

And the Undie goes to . . .

a_ida ada

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Congratulations to all! Head over to Travis’s post at 100 Scope Notes to see five more winning Undies in these categories:

Best Impression of Something Other Than a Picture Book
The Look Closely Award
Best YA
Best Keepin’ It Simple
Best Stamp

If you haven’t yet, this is a GREAT time to click the Book Party button up there in the top right. Trust me.

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