Welcome Author Andrea Wang – Giveaway Alert

I am thrilled to share my interview with another wonderful member of my local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) chapter, Andrea Wang. In preCovid times, we were together at a variety of events and the last time I saw her in person she shared news about her then upcoming book, WATERCRESS and that it was being illustrated by Jason Chin. If you don’t already own a copy of this magnificent book, I highly recommend you pick it up on your next trip to your local indie bookstore. It is the perfect blend of text and illustrations creating magic beyond belief. Andrea’s latest book is THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN, a middle grade novel that shares the story of a Chinese American girl who experiences the loss of her grandmother and then the loss of her community when she moves from Boston’s Chinatown to a white suburban town in Ohio. I don’t do spoilers so, you’ll have to read THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN to learn more. Yes, add this one to your shopping list, too.

Andrea is generously offering an international giveaway! of one unsigned copy of THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN to one lucky winner. The book will come from Book Depository, so if you live where they deliver, comment on this post to enter the giveaway!

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

When I was around eleven, I was still a shy, quiet kid who was almost always reading a book or writing stories. Despite the slogan on my shirt in this photo, which reads, “Homework affects your vision,” I was a diligent student (with a sense of irony, apparently, since I started wearing glasses when I was eight). I loved animals, horseback riding, baking, and doing crafts. I also spent a lot of time by myself, daydreaming.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the interconnectedness of everything, which led me to study ecology in college. I’ve always loved puzzles and mysteries, so figuring out the relationships between organisms in an ecosystem felt like an extension of puzzle-solving. Likewise, I’m inspired by the dynamics between people, and between them and their environment. In THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN, I loved exploring the relationships between the characters and how their environments affected them.

What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from your books?

I hope that readers of THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN (as well as my recent picture book, WATERCRESS) feel more empathy for people from different countries, and also learn to embrace their own identities. I know that’s technically two things, but they feel like the two sides of a coin. You can be proud of your heritage while also being compassionate and understanding of people from a different culture.

What’s next for you?

My next picture book, LULI AND THE LANGUAGE OF TEA, comes out in April 2022 from Neal Porter Books. It’s about how a tea party brings together immigrant children from all over the world. I also have another standalone MG novel in the pipeline. Like THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEILAN, this book has themes of identity and culture, but in a fun summer camp setting. I’m currently also working on a couple of historical nonfiction picture books featuring Chinese American characters that I’m very excited about!

To find out more about Andrea and her books:

Twitter: @AndreaYWang  Facebook: Andrea Y Wang. Instagram: @AndreaWhyWang

website: https://andreaywang.com

Winner Announcement 8/30/21

Congratulations to Mia Geiger winner of MY SCHOOL STINKS! from author Becky Scharnhorst and illustrated by Julia Patton. Bonus, Mia also won some cool book swag.

Mia, email me at ljrwritenow @ gmail.com so that I can connect you with the author.

Don’t miss other giveaways still available from Sylvia Liu, Kimberlee Gard, and Dow Phumiruk! Look for my interview with Andrea Wang tomorrow.

Welcome Author-Illustrator Dow Phumiruk – Giveaway Alert

I’m so lucky to be part of the Rocky Mountain chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) which means I’ve met and become friendly with some of the most talented and kindest authors and illustrators. Dow Phumiruk is definitely the embodiment of all of that description. The first book of hers that I read was MELA AND THE ELEPHANT, written by Dow and illustrated by Ziyue Chen. I attended her launch party in 2018 and then she attended my launch party for ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON in 2019 where we also read excerpts from the award-winning book COUNTING ON KATHERINE, written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow. During Covid, I bought a few more of her books, including HUGSBY, which she both wrote and illustrated. This summer we were together at a wonderful literacy fundraiser, and I can’t wait to see her again! If you’re not familiar with Dow and her extraordinary talent, go get a refreshing beverage and get ready to be dazzled!

Dow is generously offering a winner’s choice giveaway of one of her books. HELLO, TREE written by Ana Crespo and illustrated by Dow is her latest picture book (releasing September 14.)

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I was an agreeable and busy child. My mom (aka supermom) enrolled me in classes for what seemed like my every free moment. So many lessons. I’ll name some: gymnastics, ballet, piano, ice skating, swimming, tap dancing, guitar/electric guitar, judo, and art. And of course, art classes were my favorite!

What inspires you?

My number one inspiration has always been my children. Nature comes next! My Thai heritage has been a focus more recently.

What’s something you hope readers take away from your books?

Wonder, imagination, adventure, inspiration, and compassion. I wish all of these for my readers! If readers can grow to be their best selves, then our world can be a better place, filled with kind hearts and rich in diversity. I think this applies to all of my projects!

Beautiful books written and/or illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

What’s next for you?

Next month (September 14), a book written by Ana Crespo and illustrated by me releases. It is called HELLO, TREE, with a story that Ana wrote after the Black Forest fire in Colorado Springs, where she lives. It is a tale of regrowth, and I can’t wait to share it! 

In January 2022, my book with Ella Schwarz launches: HER NAME WAS MARY KATHARINE: THE ONLY WOMAN WHOSE NAME IS ON THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, from Christy Ottaviano Books. Mary Katharine was a printer, postmaster, and patriot. She should have been in our history books!

I am currently working on final art for a book about the amazing Senator Tammy Duckworth, written by Newbery Honor winner Christina Soontornvat. I’ve just about finished dummies for three other manuscripts and look forward to seeing them become books, too. It seems I stay busy, just like when I was young!

You’re going to want to learn more about Dow and her beautiful art and inspiring books: I am especially looking forward to her book about Tammy Duckworth!

Twitter and instagram @dowphumiruk. Facebook: artbydow 

Portfolio artbydow.com. Blog happydow.blogspot.com

Winner Announcement 8/23/21

Congratulations to Amy Benoit, winner of a picture book critique and the brand new book SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY from author Lindsay Leslie, illustrated by Aviel Basil! Who doesn’t love a double-giveaway to celebrate back-to-school?

Amy, please email me ljrwritenow @gmail.com with your address so that I can facilitate your prize.

Don’t forget there are other wonderful giveaways from Becky Scharnhorst, Sylvia Liu, and Kimberlee Gard still available and look for another superstar interview tomorrow!

Welcome Author Kimberlee Gard – Giveaway Alert

I’m excited to feature another local author who I have been lucky enough to be with at some in person events. Kimberlee Gard is the author of SNOOZAPALOOZA , illustrated by Vivian Mineker which might be the most fun title ever and definitely made my favorite two year old and me giggle. Kimberlee also has a series called Learning is Fun that includes picture books perfect for children learning how letters, sounds, and punctuation work. All of which are fabulous for teachers and parents who want to encourage their children to read in a fun way.

Kimberlee is offering one luck winner a copy of called SNOOZAPALOOZA, the story of a little mouse who finds the perfect place to nap, only to be joined by a variety of forest friends. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I struggled with a learning disorder as a child and was taken out of class every day to have special instruction. I didn’t learn how to read until I was ten. However, I always loved opening books and making up my own stories to go along with the pictures. When my own children began showing signs of dyslexia, I began to create stories for them to help them learn the alphabet and letter sounds and it is my goal now to create books that inspire even the most reluctant readers.

What inspires you?

I am a big believer that a writer is first a reader. I love to read other books in the genres that I am writing, I am always inspired and gather new ideas. Also spending time in nature, giving myself permission to slow down so that the thoughts can come helps to put me in a creative mindset. When I am working on a project, I often take long walks or go for drives down country roads to feel inspired.

What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your books?

I hope that readers find joy in my stories and that they inspire children to read and learn and grow.

What’s next for you?

I had two books release during the pandemic, SNOOZAPALOOZA and THE MIGHTY SILENT e. It was very challenging to share with so much else going on in the world, so this year I hope to celebrate their book birthdays and connect with readers who haven’t seen them yet. I also have another book coming out next year called, RED ROVER RED ROVER SEND ANOTHER VOWEL OVER, this will be the fourth book in the Learning is Fun series.

To connect with Kimberlee and learn more about her books:

WEBSITE Kimberleegard.com/

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/kimberleegard/

INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/kimberlee.gard/. TWITTER @Kimberlee_Gard

Winner Announcement 8/16/21

Congratulations to Lauren Kerstein, winner of the picture book critique from the amazing Tara Lazar! This is truly a coveted prize; so many comments on the interview post. If you didn’t win, please comment on the other open giveaways from Lindsay Leslie, Becky Scharnhorst, Sylvia Liu, and tomorrow’s interview will be with Kimberlee Gard.

Tara’s latest book, BLOOP, illustrated by Mike Boldt has generated game at my house where we call out space alien names to see if Charlie will answer to one. So far he hasn’t responded, but the game remains a source of entertainment.

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