KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Jennifer Mook-Sang

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Jennifer Mook-Sang!

Jennifer Mook-Sang’s humorous middle-grade novel Speechless (2015, Scholastic) was nominated for a slew of awards, and named the Surrey Schools Book of the Year. Her picture book Captain Monty Takes the Plunge (2017, Kids Can Press) is a Junior Library Guild selection, and was nominated for a Rainforest of Reading award. She’s proud to say she lost to Robert Munsch. When she’s not writing, Jennifer likes to read recipe books and make things like biryani, cassava pone, and guacamole. 

Jennifer Mook-Sang

Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project? 

[Captain Monty Takes the Plunge with illustrator Liz Starin] Monty is a fierce pirate captain who’s never had a bath and his stinkiness only adds to his fearsomeness. Why, you ask, has he never had a bath? It’s because he’s afraid of the water, because (shhh) he can’t swim. Of course, he falls in love with a mermaid. What could be more perfect? But when Meg’s captured by an evil sea creature, Monty must decide if he’s brave enough to go into the ocean to save her.  Spoiler: He jumps in and saves Meg. But it’s only fair that she saves him back. Then Monty faces his biggest fear and tells her his secret.

What are you reading right now?

I’ve just finished reading Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, and I LOVED it!

Who is a Canadian author or illustrator that you’d like to see more people discover?

There are so many talented Canadian authors and illustrators I admire. But I think one to watch is Saumiya Balasubramaniam. Her debut picture book When I Found Grandma (Groundwood, March 2019), is a beautiful story illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Qin Leng. [KBKL note: Stay tuned for our interview with Qin on April 15th!]

What’s been the most surprising part of your publishing journey so far?

Along my publishing journey, the biggest surprise has been how remarkably supportive and sharing the children’s writing community is. When I first started trying to create a story, it was a lonely business; but through classes, workshops, and organizations like CANSCAIP, I’ve met many others travelling the same path. And they’ve encouraged and helped me every step of the way.

When a reader picks up your books, they can always expect to find…

I believe the primary purpose of a book is to entertain. When someone picks up one of my books, I hope they find what I like to find in my own reading – laughs and surprises.

What’s the most Canadian thing you’ve put in a book?

The most Canadian thing I’ve put in a book is a version of the double-double. One of my characters “fixes” a coffee by putting in three heaping spoons of sugar and topping up the mug with cream. Okay, maybe that’s a triple-triple.

What would you like to see more of in the world of Canadian children’s literature?

I’d love to see more comic books set in Canadian locations, with distinctly Canadian characters. And I want them to be full of adventure and fun.

If you could spend a day inside of any book, which one would you choose?

I’d choose to spend a day in the world of Wicked Nix by Lena Coakley. A place of enchantment, with fairies and talking trees. I grew up devouring stories like these by Enid Blyton and I love them still.

Lastly, we always end with: what’s your best piece of kick-butt advice?

The first draft is the hardest thing for me to get done. So much hard work! But I know that once it’s written, I’ll be able to squash that mess into some reasonably shaped story. And revisioning is my favourite part of the process. My best piece of kick-butt advice is what I mutter under my breath as I get to writing: “It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.”

Definitely! Thank you so much for joining us, Jennifer!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, add Jennifer’s books on Goodreads!

Connect with Jennifer on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through her website!

Click here to enter to the Spotlight on Canadians Giveaway! You could win one of 25 prize packs featuring books from all of our amazing creators!

Jennifer Mook-Sang Prize Pack – a signed copy of CAPTAIN MONTY TAKES THE PLUNGE


Other available prizes:

Regan McDonell Prize Pack – a copy of BLACK CHUCK

Carmen Mok Prize Pack – a copy of GRANDMOTHER’S VISIT

Tom Ryan Prize Pack – the very first signed ARC of KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF

Naseem Hrab Prize Pack – a copy of IRA CRUMB FEELS THE FEELINGS

Joanne Robertson Prize Pack – a signed copy of THE WATER WALKER

Sarah Raughley Prize Pack – all three books in the EFFIGIES series

Join us on Monday, March 18th when we chat with Mireille Messier!

18 thoughts on “KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Jennifer Mook-Sang

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