KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Cale Atkinson

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author/illustrator, Cale Atkinson!

Cale Atkinson is an author, illustrator, and animator currently residing in Kelowna, Canada. You can usually find him up late drawing and watching cartoons.

His work can be found in animated shorts, television, games and children’s books including To the Sea, Explorers of the Wild, Where Oliver Fits, Off and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer.

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

I’m happy to report I have a couple new books cooking up in the oven!

My latest written/illustrated book is titled Unicorns 101, published through Doubleday and Tundra Books. In the book, Top Unicorn scientists (including Professors Glitter Pants and Sprinkle Steed) guide you through everything you ever wanted to know about the science behind unicorns: biology, history, diet, habitat and more. It’s about time we found out the real deal behind our favourite corn with a horn! Though be warned, you may look at cupcakes differently after a read. Unicorns 101 comes out early September.

I also illustrated an upcoming sequel to Marvel’s ‘Night Night Groot’, titled ‘First Day of Groot’, which will includes everyone’s favourite Tree and Trash Panda off on another picture book adventure! The book once again includes appearances from all your fav Avengers, plus cameos from an assortment of odd and forgotten Marvel villains! It will be hitting bookshelves in July.

What are you reading right now?

In terms of novels, I just read ‘The Goldfinch’ and ‘All the Light We Cannot See’. Definitely recommend ‘All the Light’!

In terms of picture books, I recently read ‘Me and My Fear’ by Francesca Sanna. Her last book, ‘The Journey’ was my favourite of that year, and this one also does not disappoint. A worthy addition to your bookshelf!

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

Well I may be a touch biased, but have to shout out to my wife, Jessika Von Innerebner. Her work never ceases to put a smile on my face. Her first picture book is coming out this fall, and is also a Unicorn themed book!

I also have to mention Mike Boldt, who is a wonderfully talented picture book author/illustrator. Mike’s characters always charm and have personality bursting from their poses and expressions.

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

That is a hard question to answer, as there have been many surprises along the way, and still new ones that keep coming! I think one of the aspects in becoming an author/illustrator of picture books that I found surprising, is how quickly you are invited to public speak and give presentations. So much of my career as an artist and animator has been a hermit, drawing and working on projects.

Once I began becoming published, I was astonished how quickly I was being asked to public speak, even though I had no experience giving presentations, never-mind to big groups of children! In the end it’s been a great learning experience for me, pushing me out of my comfort zone, and allowing me to actually interact with my audience.

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

With my books, I generally hope, above all else, a reader finds a story that captivates, or connects with them. I try to put everything I can into each of my books, whether that is hidden little details a keen eye can spot, or colourful artwork inviting readers to step into.

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

Most likely some delicious Canadian maple syrup which I’ve slipped into a couple of books now!

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

I feel like Canadian publishers have been doing a great job producing a wide range of diverse books (in story and art), and hope that the trend only continues.

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

I think I’ll go with a classic and say ‘Where the Wild Things are’. It seems like a great escape to spend the day having a wild rumpus with a bunch of monsters. I could see it as a cathartic experience, letting all our emotions run free and  wild. Then afterwards sail back to reality and pretending to be an adult 🙂

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

HAVE FUN AND DO THE THING! If you want to be an illustrator, then draw, draw, DRAW. If you want to be an author, then write, write, WRITE. Stop talking about it, reading about it , tweeting about it, daydreaming about it, and just start doing it.

Totally! I want a poster that says “HAVE FUN AND DO THE THING!” Thanks so much for joining us, Cale!

Kick-butt kidlit friends, add Cale’s books on Goodreads!

Connect with Cale on Twitter, Tumblr, or through his 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!

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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Other available prizes:

Nafiza Azad Prize Pack – an ARC of THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME

Melanie Florence Prize Pack – an ARC of JUST LUCKY

Erin Bow Prize Pack – an ARC of STAND ON THE SKY

Natasha Deen Prize Pack – a copy of IN THE KEY OF NIRA GHANI

Charlene Chua Prize Pack – a copy of THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

Tanaz Bhathena Prize Pack – a copy of THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT

Philippa Dowding Prize Pack – a copy of OCULUM

Mahtab Narsimhan Prize Pack – a copy of EMBRACE THE CHICKEN

Mireille Messier Prize Pack – a signed copy of TELLEMENT SAUVAGE!

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

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 Wednesday, April 10th when we chat with author, Nhung Tran-Davies!

8 thoughts on “KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Cale Atkinson

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