Kicking Back with Kick-butt and Angela Ahn!

Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
Today we’re chatting with Angela Ahn, the author of
PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD

Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L. B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust.

Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L. B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once—he needs time to sketch out a plan.

Let’s talk to this wonderful author about her delightful book!
This is Angela. Everyone say, “Hi, Angela!”

Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Angela! Why don’t we start with some introductions – tell us about yourself!

Thanks for inviting me, Casey! My name’s Angela Ahn. My family immigrated from Korea to Canada in the early 70’s. I grew up in Richmond, BC and Vancouver, BC and except for 2 years in Hong Kong, and 2 years in Toronto, Vancouver has always been home.

I went to UBC for many, many years and earned many, many degrees, some of which have proven useful. 

I am married with two kids, and probably couldn’t survive without my coffee machine. 

What was the inspiration behind PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD?

I won’t repeat it here, but in the acknowledgments section at the back of the book, I tell a long, potentially tragic, but ultimately uplifting story about a girl (my daughter), and her stuffed dinosaur which was purchased at the gift shop at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. For one long day, we thought the aforementioned dinosaur was lost, but turns out it actually was just unceremoniously jammed into a drawer. I know it sounds crazy, but that dinosaur was the spark for this story. 

Love when ideas come from the most unexpected places!

Your main character, Peter, has dreams of being a paleontologist. What was your dream job when you were a kid?

I’m not trying to elicit sympathy here, but I honestly do not remember dreaming of being anything. Perhaps I had no imagination, or if I’m getting truly introspective here, I suspect it was because as a child of immigrants, I think our family tended to focus on practical ambitions, like “Get a good job!” It was more a question of what on earth am I decent at, and how can this translate into a job? I always did well in social sciences in school, so guess what, I did a double-major in English and History. What can you do with that degree? High school teacher! I only lasted 5 years. Just because you’re a good student in a subject doesn’t mean you can actually teach it. 

What were three interesting things you discovered while working on PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD?

I learned about asthma. I have an acquaintance who had a child with asthma and she didn’t know it at the time, but when she was talking about her son’s health, I listened intently because I knew I was writing this character who had asthma. I ultimately got a writer friend, Sophie Gonzalez, who has asthma herself, to read an almost completed draft so she could offer comments to add more authenticity to Peter’s experience. 

I had to re-learn a lot about dinosaurs. At one point, I’m not bragging here, but I was kind of an armchair expert. My kids were obsessed so we watched a lot of documentaries on dinosaurs, and had a lot of information books. But as their interests changed, those books started to collect dust. I even gave some away! (I regretted that decision, I must say.) So I had to reacquaint myself for the book. 

Lastly, I learned that writing is definitely not a solo effort. It takes, not a village, but maybe a very large family of people helping you along the way. 

If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?

I think L.B. would have her mind blown if she could travel between parallel worlds like in The Golden Compass. Peter would probably fit right in with the trio of boys in Mrs. Bixby’s Last Day as they fumble around together to try and do something sweet for a beloved teacher. 

Why are you drawn to writing middle grade?

I guess I’m not the most mature 40-something mom out there. I love the voice of a tween, what can I say? I’m a kid at heart.  

Any hints about your next book project?

Maybe not realistic contemporary? Wait and see!  

Ooooh, exciting! Looking forward to when you can share more!

What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?

I never realized how hard it would be to actually hear what people think about my books. Reviews are the best and the absolute worst. I’m a Gemini. 

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston–amazing. I won’t give away the big twist at the end, but it’s the kind of book that just compelled me to finish it as soon as possible. I am in the middle of a Whale of the Wild  by Rosanne Parry now, and there is this scene that reminded me so much about the real story from, I think 2018, of the orca that kept the body of her dead calf afloat for over 2 weeks that’s just very heartbreaking. 

What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?

 My first book was published when I was 45 years old. It was the first children’s book I had ever attempted. Don’t think there is a straight-line for your own individual creative journey. 

Love that! And it’s so important to remember.

BONUS QUESTION: What is your favourite dinosaur?

Brachiosaurus! (Must read the acknowledgements section of the book to find out why I’m deeply attached to this kind of dinosaur).  

Thank you for joining us, Angela!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD!
It’s on shelves now!

Add PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD on Goodreads!

Connect with Angela on Twitter, Instagram, or through her website!

Click here to enter to win a copy of PETER LEE’S NOTES FROM THE FIELD!
Contest ends Friday, March 12th at 11:59 pm EST

Thanks for reading!

Kicking Back with Kick-butt and Nadia L. Hohn!

Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
Today we’re chatting with Nadia L. Hohn, the author of
MALAIKA’S SURPRISE

When Malaika finds out she is going to have a new baby brother or sister, she worries that her mother will forget about her. But a surprise arrives on Malaika’s birthday that gives her reason to celebrate her family’s love.

It’s summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing in the sunshine. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me?

Back at school, Malaika is excited to see her teacher and classmates, and makes friends with a new girl who has recently arrived from a faraway country, just like Malaika. Then on her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family’s love.

Let’s talk to this fantastic author about her lovely book!
This is Nadia. Everyone say, “Hi, Nadia!”

Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Nadia! Why don’t we start with some introductions – tell us about yourself!

I was born and live in Toronto. I am a Black Canadian author and educator of Afro-Jamaican descent. I am an MFA student in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. I am a vegetarian, musician, aspiring illustrator, and multilingual. I love to watch artsy films, cook, work out, and can’t wait to travel once this quarantine is over.

MALAIKA’S SURPRISE is the third book in the Malaika series. What was the inspiration behind Malaika’s latest adventure?

This book began as two separate stories. Then it became one. And then two. I began to conceive the idea of a third Malaika book during my year of teaching in the UAE in 2016. There, I experienced the hospitality of this Muslim country. As a Christian and a Westerner, it was a shift to a different cultural centre and norm. I was living in the UAE when the Quebec mosque shooting took place and it was upsetting. I wondered how this event might have Malaika and her family have responded to given that they live in Quebec City. Because I had already done some research and interviews among Black people living in Quebec City for Malaika’s Winter Carnival, I had an idea that many new immigrants felt in terms of isolation and I can imagine more so now given Bill 21.

I had also decided that I wanted the new character to be Muslim and Somali given that there was an absence of Somali-Canadian characters in Canadian children’s books. While the illustrations were being completed for Malaika’s Surprise in 2019, the Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh was tragically killed. I had seen Hodan speak and just before I had moved to the UAE, after my going away dinner, we had a short chat. I had just gone through my divorce. At the time, Hodan was both a single mom and divorced but very positive. She basically said I should give her a call and, “We should talk” as she had a lot of advice to share. I saw Hodan as an ally, like the character in my book, who was telling me it would all be okay. Sadly, the conversation never took place. Malaika’s Surprise is partly dedicated to her.

The story also reveals some of the feelings I had about my youngest sister being born (the book is also dedicated to her) and the importance of fathers.

The Malaika books are illustrated by Irene Luxbacher. What’s it like seeing your characters come to life in the illustrations? Did you get to see sketches along the way?

It’s an exciting part of the process. Irene works in mixed media so the advanced sketches I saw were also mixed media, a little less detail than what’s in the final product. I enjoyed it and it’s kind of fun to see how Irene takes my words and interprets them, especially since this book is so full of surprises.

If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?

I am not sure if you mean putting Malaika into another book but I do imagine Malaika in other genres. I have been working on a play for a few years now and I would love to see it as a short series or film on Netflix, for example. Just putting it out there.

That would be amazing!

What do you love most about writing picture books? What’s the most challenging part?

I love that you can say a lot in 1, 000 words or less with pictures. I have a Masters degree in equity studies and look at the world with an antiracist lens. So, if you look at my articles, I write explicitly about inequities in the children’s book industry, for example. However, in a picture book and even children’s non-fiction, I need to break down big ideas into poetry, music, and ideas that are accessible for the young reader.

Any hints about your next book project?

I just signed a book with Orca. It will be an anthology of sorts. I don’t want to say too much about it yet. I have a few picture books down the pipeline and editing my middle grade novel. Stay tuned!

Oooh! Lots of exciting stuff on the horizon!

Some people like to write while listening to music or when they have a hot beverage in hand or at their favourite spot in a cozy chair. What’s something that always helps you get settled into a writing session?

I tend to write a lot while in my bed while wrapped in my comforter. My secret is out now. I do some of my writing at my desk but usually that’s when there is a deadline. Lol.

Ha!

Are you a pantser or a plotter? What are some of your favourite methods you’ve come up with to tackle writer’s block?

I tend to be a pantser. I admire the plotters though as that seems to be the one I wish I could do more of. I may need to do more plotting for my middle grade book though.

Some of my favourite methods I’ve come up with to tackle writer’s block– just start somewhere. I set a 30 minute timer and sometimes I’ll just read my work. Or, I’ll boldface the title of the chapters. Or I’ll Google search the topic. I just try to do something that will move my story a long further.

What are you reading right now?

I proposed a directed reading course as part of my MFA program, so I am reading all young adult books about Black girls. I am currently reading Facing the Sun by BC based author, Janice Lynn Mather.

What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?

My favourite piece of kick-butt advice is by author Toni Morrison: If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Evergreen advice!

Thank you for joining us, Nadia!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out MALAIKA’S SURPRISE!
It’s on shelves now!

Add MALAIKA’S SURPRISE on Goodreads!

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

Click here to enter to win a copy of MALAIKA’S SURPRISE!
Contest ends Friday, March 5th at 11:59 pm EST

Thanks for reading!

Kicking Back with Kick-butt and Louisa Onomé!

Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
Today we’re chatting with Louisa Onomé, the author of
LIKE HOME

Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good.

Only, Kate’s parents’ corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to “fix” it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.

Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She’s pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo’s entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything⁠—and everyone⁠—she loves.

Let’s talk to this awesome author about her amazing book!
This is Louisa. Everyone say, “Hi, Louisa!”

Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Louisa! Why don’t we start with some introductions – tell us about yourself!

Hey! I’m Louisa Onome, and I’m a writer based in the Toronto area. My debut young adult contemporary, Like Home, is all about friendship, family, and what it really means to change. When I’m not writing, I moonlight as a therapist (I know, the shock!) and can usually be found hanging with friends (pre-pandemic, anyway) or glued to my PlayStation. 

What was the inspiration behind LIKE HOME?

Like Home was inspired by a slew of things, but first and foremost, I had really wanted to write a story that depicted the kind of childhood closeness I had with friends growing up. I was fortunate enough to live on a street where the kids on my street were all close friends. Each of us were kids of immigrants, so our experiences differed based on where our parents were from, but we had so many similarities trying to navigate our environments. And then, of course, the catalyst for me actually writing the book was this Korean drama I watched called ‘Reply 1988’. It broke me! The relationships on that show reminded me so much of my own upbringing and it made me want to try my hand at writing a story like that.

Love that!

What were you doing when you found out there was an offer on your book? (We always love these stories!)  

Ha! I am notoriously always frying plantain or trying to cook something oily whenever important publishing news comes out. I distinctly remember tweeting something ridiculous (as I normally do) and then, immediately after, my editor emails me with the announcement and I had to tweet that. So both tweets back to back definitely looked like they belonged to different people, but I’m cool with that because it just proves we all contain multitudes!

What were three interesting things you discovered while working on LIKE HOME?

Oh I love this question! The main thing that I discovered while writing Like Home is that I can tell a story that is authentic to my own experience, to a world I am familiar with, and people will still connect with it. Prior to Like Home, I wrote four other manuscripts, none of which anyone will ever see because they just weren’t very good. But something that stuck out to me in those old attempts is that I wasn’t being myself. I was writing protagonists I had no business writing, and I was writing about things I didn’t even truly care about. Once I got rid of the idea of what was acceptable for me to write, and once I really tapped into things that matter to me, it became so much easier to write this story.  I also discovered that I enjoy writing friend fights and I swear a lot more than I thought I did.

What an invaluable discovery! (But also laughing about the swearing thing. 😂)

If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?

I would love to put them in a fantasy setting, so maybe the world that Roseanne A. Brown created in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin! It’s so rich and the folklore feels so real.

Why were you drawn to writing YA?

I love YA because of its freshness. Personally, when I was that age, it was the last time anything was new. You could conceptualize and experience firsts in a way that is hard for me to do the older I get. I think a part of me wants to always remember what that feels like, and reading and writing YA is such a thorough way of reliving those emotions. On another level, I just love how creative YA can be and how we can explore so many difficult themes in a variety of ways.

Any hints about your next book project?

Yes! My next project is also a YA contemporary, currently titled Model Minority. It’s about a Nigerian-Canadian girl who is caught between both aspects of her culture, the Nigerian culture she is born into and the Western culture she was raised in. At its core, it’s a story about identity and how we put these labels on ourselves that may hurt us more than help us. There is also a love triangle, which I’m having a lot of fun writing. It’s scheduled to come out spring 2022 and I’m so excited for readers to experience aspects of my personal culture.

Looking forward to it!

What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I still am every time I meet a new, supportive writer. The community is so cool and I’ve found that there’s always someone willing to help when you need it. 

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I have the immense pleasure of reading Courtney Gould’s The Dead and the Dark. It comes out August 3 and it’s so haunting! Literally hooks you from the first page.

What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?

My favourite piece of advice is pretty simple: Keep going. I know that can mean a lot of things to different people, and truly it all depends on your perspective as well, but when I say keep going, I mean continue writing, continue learning, and continue growing. The journey only stops if you do!

One hundred percent! So true!

Thank you for joining us, Louisa!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out LIKE HOME!
It hits shelves on February 23rd!

Add LIKE HOME on Goodreads!

Connect with Louisa on Twitter, Instagram, or through her website!

Click here to enter to win a copy of LIKE HOME!
Contest ends Saturday February 20th at 11:59 pm EST

Thanks for reading!

Kicking Back with Kick-butt and Debbie Ridpath Ohi!

Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!

We’re chatting with Debbie Ridpath Ohi, illustrator of

I’M WORRIED!

A girl, a flamingo, and a worried potato star in the third book in New York Times bestselling author Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s series about feelings—and why they’re good, even when they feel bad.

Potato is worried. About everything.

Because anything might happen.

When he tells his friends, he expects them to comfort him by saying that everything will be okay. Except they don’t. Because it might not be, and that’s okay too. Still, there’s one thing they can promise for sure: no matter what happens…they will always be by his side.

Let’s talk to this fantastic creator about her amazing books!

This is Debbie. Everyone say, “Hi, Debbie!”

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Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Debbie! Tell us about yourself!

My name is Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and once upon a time I used to be a computer programmer/analyst. Now I write and illustrate children’s books for a living! I still pinch myself every so often, to make sure I’m not dreaming.

I’M WORRIED is your third collaboration with Michael Ian Black. What’s it like collaborating with an author on a story? What’s your favourite part of the process?

For picture books, or at least the ones I’ve worked on so far, I don’t really collaborate with the author during the creative process. The author works with our editor to polish the picture book manuscript, and I only tend to receive it when it’s ready for me to start illustrating. Sometimes after I start talking to my art director and editor about illustrations, we find that the text needs to be tweaked a bit. If that’s the case, this discussion is between the author and editor, not me and the author.

Not all publishers work like this, but this has been the case with the picture books I’ve worked on so far with Simon & Schuster, Random House and HarperCollins.

Depending on the book and situation, I will occasionally reach out to an author for some input. In an I’M WORRIED spread showing things that Potato is worried about, for example, I asked Michael Ian Black for some ideas and ended up incorporating a bunch of these into the illustration:

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Who are some of your artistic influences?

Just to name a few of my illustrator influences: William Steig, Bill Watterson, Jules Feiffer, Charles Schulz, Edward Gorey.

You also have written and illustrated a number of your own picture books. How is that experience different for you?

Yes, mainly because I felt more free to change things around as well as to experiment. I come from a writing background (I got my awesome agent because of my middle grade writing plus I worked for years as a nonfiction freelance writer) and have waaaaaaay too many story ideas for picture books and middle grade than my current work schedule can support. Oh, for Hermione’s Time Turner! I’m constantly striving to find the right balance between contracted book projects, work-related events and working on my own writing projects.

I will always enjoy illustrating other people’s stories (especially Michael Ian Black’s stories), but I am also finding myself yearning to get more of my own writing out there: picture books, chapter books, graphic novels and middle grade.

Oh, my goodness – the things we could get done with a Time Turner!!!

What artistic tool could you never live without?

My favorite sketching tool: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

I love the variable ink line! Learned about this from David Small at an SCBWI Los Angeles Illustrators’ Intensive session.

My current obsession, though: CRAYONS.

Why were you drawn to illustration?

I’ve always loved to draw.

As I grew up, I especially enjoyed making comics for myself, family and friends. I’ve always loved the challenge of conveying a narrative through sequential art.

I’m hoping to do graphic novels someday! I already have some ideas. One of the challenges is streamlining my process. One of the reasons I opted for sequential art format in my contribution to Colby Sharp’s THE CREATIVITY PROJECT is because I wanted to test this. What I found: my current process takes way too much time. I’ve been talking with other graphic novel illustrators about their process in hopes of improving mine.

Any hints about your next book project?

I’m having so much fun illustrating Linda Sue Park’s new picture book story, GURPLE & PREEN! It incorporates photographic elements (crayons!) as well as illustrative, and it’s been exciting to experiment with new techniques. This new book is scheduled to come out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2020.

I’m also working on a middle grade novel, and am also excited about my next illustration project: I’M HAPPY, the next picture book in the I’M… series written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by me (Simon & Schuster).

Exciting! Can’t wait to hear more!

What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?

Like many in the industry, I consider myself an introvert. When I first began working on my middle grade novels, I remember thinking how I much I enjoyed that part of the creative process, and how terrified I was at the idea of having to go out and TALK to strangers (in the process of networking and promotion).

What I found, to my shock: that despite my utter conviction that I could never learn to do it and would always hate it, that I COULD learn how to get out there and meet people in person. It drives me a little crazy whenever people tell me how lucky I am, that I’m so natural at talking with people at work events, etc., because they don’t realize how scary it all was in the beginning, and how hard I’ve worked at improving. It’s still scary, and I continue to need improving! But it’s easier now, and I even (*gasp*) have fun doing it, especially when I’m talking to young readers.

To other introverts out there: I highly recommend QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN’T STOP TALKING by Susan Cain. I discovered her through this TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts

What are you reading right now?

I usually have a bunch of books on the go in various formats (print, digital, audio). Right now, it’s:

THE MAGPIE’S LIBRARY by Kate Blair (Cormorant Books)

TRACE by Pat Cummings (Harper)

M: THE MAN WHO BECAME CARAVAGGIO by Peter Robb (Henry Holt)

THE POPE’S DAUGHTER: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF FELICE DELLA ROVERE – by Caroline P Murphy (Oxford University Press)

The latter two are the result of a recent vacation in Rome. 🙂

What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?

Resist comparing your own progress to others, especially on social media. Focus on enjoying your own journey at your own pace.

Also: if you are considering writing picture books for publication – READ MANY, MANY PICTURE BOOKS FIRST. So many new picture book writers assume that writing picture books is easy because they’re so short. Yes, it’s easy to write a picture book — the challenge is writing a picture book that will sell.

Both very excellent points! Thank you so much for joining us, Debbie!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out I’M WORRIED!
It’s on shelves now!

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Add I’M WORRIED on Goodreads!

Connect with Debbie on Twitter, Instagram, or through her website, blog, or
YouTube channel!

Click here to win a copy of I’M WORRIED!
Contest closes Saturday, October 19th at 11:59 pm EST

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more fun interviews!

 

 

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Giveaway!

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Two months, twenty-five interviews, and hopefully MANY new names for your book shelves! This spotlight series has been a ton of fun to work on. I hope all of our Kick-butt readers at home enjoyed it as well.

But wait! We’re not done yet!

THERE’S A GIVEAWAY, REMEMBER?

You can enter to win one of 25 prize packs featuring books from all of our amazing Canadian authors and illustrators!

Click here to enter to the Spotlight on Canadians Giveaway!
Ends April 28th, 2019!

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Missed one of our interviews? Get caught up by checking out the links below:

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Sarah Raughley, Joanne Robertson, Naseem Hrab, Tom Ryan, Carmen Mok

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Regan McDonell, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Mireille Messier, Mahtab Narsimhan,
Philippa Dowding

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Tanaz Bhathena, Charlene Chua, Natasha Deen, Erin Bow, Melanie Florence

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Nafiza Azad, Cale Atkinson, Nhung Tran-Davies, Sarah Everett, Qin Leng

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Wade Albert White, Aviaq Johnston, Nadia L. Hohn, Jess Keating, S.K. Ali

Stay tuned for more awesome interviews with amazing Kick-butt Kidlit creators and as always, thank you for reading!

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: S.K. Ali

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, S.K. Ali!

S. K. Ali is the author of YA novels, Love from A to Z, and the 2018 Morris award finalist, Saints and Misfits, which won critical acclaim for its portrayal of an unapologetic Muslim-American teen’s life. She has a picture book, The Proudest Blue, co-authored with Olympic medalist, Ibtihaj Muhammad, coming out in September, 2019, which is a story about resilience in the face of othering. She has a degree in Creative Writing and has written about Muslim life for various media, including the Toronto Star and NBC News.

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

Love from A to Z is a YA novel about two teens, one Canadian (Adam), the other American (Zayneb), who meet on a plane on their way to spend spring break in Doha, a city in the Arabian gulf. The thing they don’t know about each other is that they’ve both been keeping “Marvels and Oddities” journals, recording the amazing and not-so-amazing things in the world. When they meet, they’re at low points in their lives, and the story traces whether they’re meant to meet each other or not, whether they’re marvels or oddities in each other’s worlds.

I also have an unannounced project, a middle-grade one, that I’m really excited about, as well as the sequel to Saints and Misfits. I’m having a lot of fun with the latter as I want to give Janna, the MC, the time of her life — something she didn’t get previously!

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. A Canadian!

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

Ausma Zehanat Khan — she has an excellent mystery series. In terms of kidlit, I’d love if more people discovered the work of illustrator Elly MacKay.

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

That there’s publicity involved! I seriously had no idea that I’d be asked to be on TV, radio, to do interviews, etc. I really envisioned the task of authoring as churning out books that people would just somehow discover. Now that I know that books need to be pushed (more so in this day and age), I’m learning how to do it effectively.

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

All sorts of emotions evoked — from tears to laughter to contemplation and, hopefully, deep connection. Also, a HUGE cast of characters.

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

Well in Love from A to Z, I put in Canada Goose symbolism. In a WIP that I’m revising, I put in a lot of Tim Horton’s love.

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

More books centering marginalized characters written by marginalized authors that don’t cater to othering-expectations.

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

Am I weird to say that I would like to remain in my world? I love books but I also love coming out of them so much! (Though, when I was a kid, I would have said any one of Beverly Cleary’s books.)

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

Don’t get fixed in writerly ways. Don’t fall for the thinking: I have to do it this way. Try different things and reinvent your techniques, styles, process as many times as you need to.

Yes! So true! Thank you so much for joining us, S.K.!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, add S.K.’s books on Goodreads!

Connect with S.K. on Twitter, 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!

S.K. Ali Prize Pack – a copy of LOVE FROM A TO Z

Love from A to Z.png

Other available prizes:

Jess Keating Prize Pack – a signed ARC of NIKKI TESLA AND THE FERRET-PROOF
DEATH RAY

Nadia L. Hohn Prize Pack – a signed copy of MALAIKA’S COSTUME

Aviaq Johnston Prize Pack – a copy of THOSE WHO DWELL BELOW

Wade Albert White Prize Pack – a copy of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO TREASURE (AND HOW TO STEAL IT)

Qin Leng Prize Pack – a copy of THE BETTER TREE FORT

Sarah Everett Prize Pack – a copy of NO ONE HERE IS LONELY

Nhung Tran-Davies Prize Pack – a copy of A GRAIN OF RICE

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! It ends on April 28th!

 

 

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Jess Keating

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Jess Keating!

As a zoologist, author, and illustrator, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and victim to the dreaded papercut. Her books blend science, humour, and creativity, and include the acclaimed My Life is a Zoo middle grade trilogy, the picture book biography, Shark Lady, and the award-winning World of Weird Animals series. Her new middle grade series, Elements of Genius releases in July 2019, starting with Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray. You can find her on Twitter @Jess_Keating, or on her website www.jesskeating.com

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

I’ve got so many exciting projects in the works that I can hardly stand it! My next book is the first in a middle grade series called Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray. The lovely folks at Scholastic say it much better than I can, so here’s a quick snippet about it:

“There are only so many times a kid can invent an instrument of global destruction without getting grounded. So when Nikki’s death ray accidentally blows up her bedroom (if you can call a pet ferret with an itchy trigger finger an accident), she’s sent to the only place that can handle her. Genius Academy is a school for history’s greatest brains. Leo da Vinci? Charlotte Darwin? Bert Einstein? All extraordinary. Yet even among her fellow prodigies, Nikki feels like an outsider thanks to a terrible secret she can’t let anyone discover. Ever.

But when her death ray is stolen, Nikki must stop worrying about fitting in and learn to play nice with her new classmates. Because it doesn’t take a genius to track a thief around the world, outwit the authorities, and keep a French fry fanatic ferret happy. It takes all of them.”

Cool, right?! I love this book because it is full of genderbent geniuses from history, and a ferret named Pickles.

What are you reading right now?

Miranda and Maude by Emma Wunsch and Jessika von Innerebner is at the top right now! I’ve also been reading a ton of graphic novels lately and loving every minute. Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk, the Narwhal and Jelly books by Ben Clanton, Katie O’Neill’s Aquacorn Cove are all amazing. I also highly recommend the Wild Fairies series by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Renée Kurilla – they’re gorgeous!

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

Ooh! This is a tough one, because there are so many! I’m going to go with Suzanne del Rizzo, an author and illustrator who specializes in plasticine art. Suzanne is an amazing person, and she also a card-carrying biology lover with a background in science. I want the whole world to read her books, and was very excited to hear that she’s planning to share more of her science love with readers in the coming months and years.

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

The most surprising part is also the most rewarding to me, which is the challenge of tackling new categories, formats, and genres! I’m extremely fortunate to have an agent (the lovely Kathleen Rushall of ABLA) who not only allows me to explore so many different avenues in this business, but actively encourages me to chase my dreams, even if they are miles away from where we began our work together.

When I first began publishing, I knew I loved all types of books, but kind of assumed I’d dip my toes in with novels. Now, I’ve learned that I don’t like to be tied to one type of book, rather I seem to work best when I have the full gamut of options in front of me. It surprised me a lot, but when I allowed myself to really dig into everything that I’m curious about, my writing and creative process seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

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

Wit and wild things!

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

Hah! Well, I was delightfully unaware in my first novel, How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied, so I had many Canadian references in there. But I stand by it: ketchup chips are the best chips, hands down. I also have to watch my ‘eh’s, but I’ve gotten better at that!

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

I’d love to see more Canadian-centric displays in all bookstores, but especially the bigger ones like Chapters Indigo. I think this would be a great way to help teachers and parents find Canadian talent, and make it more of a mainstream thing like we see with other amazing (non-Canadian) authors. We have so much talent in this country, and I’d love to see more diversity across the board getting recognized. I think this starts from the top, with a broad and varied collection of books being rotated on the regular within stores.

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

I would love to spend a day in Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. Her fire-eating antihero, Dustfinger, is my favorite character of all time, and I’d love the chance to meet him and learn how to eat fire.

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

My best advice for authors is to know yourself, and once you do, give yourself what you need. When do you do your best writing? Do you have seasonal ups and downs? Do you need nature, walks, exercise, or a certain amount of sleep to feel at your best? These are all simple things that we often overlook, but they’re crucial to maintaining a creative practice that’s sustainable. If you know yourself, you’re able to fill the well as needed, and keep on creating!

Thanks so much for having me, Casey!

Thank YOU for joining us, Jess!

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

Connect with Jess on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, 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!

Jess Keating Prize Pack – a signed ARC of NIKKI TESLA AND THE FERRET-PROOF
DEATH RAY

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Other available prizes: 

Nadia L. Hohn Prize Pack – a signed copy of MALAIKA’S COSTUME

Aviaq Johnston Prize Pack – a copy of THOSE WHO DWELL BELOW

Wade Albert White Prize Pack – a copy of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO TREASURE (AND HOW TO STEAL IT)

Qin Leng Prize Pack – a copy of THE BETTER TREE FORT

Sarah Everett Prize Pack – a copy of NO ONE HERE IS LONELY

Nhung Tran-Davies Prize Pack – a copy of A GRAIN OF RICE

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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 24th when we chat with author, S.K. Ali!

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Nadia L. Hohn

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Nadia L. Hohn!

Nadia L. Hohn is a dynamic “story lady” who has presented to audiences in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Trinidad.  From the age of six years old, Nadia L Hohn began writing stories, drawing, and making books. 

Her first two books, Music and Media in the Sankofa Series were published by Rubicon Publishing in 2015.  Her award-winning first picture book, Malaika’s Costume was published in 2016 and its sequel Malaika’s Winter Carnival in 2017 by Groundwood Books.  Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader published by Harper Collins published in December 2018.  A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice, nonfiction picture book about the performer, playwright, author, and Jamaican cultural ambassador, Louise Bennett-Coverley otherwise known as Miss Lou, will be published in 2019 (Owlkids). 

Nadia was 1 of 6 Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 and the first SCBWI Canada East Rising Kite Diversity Scholarship recipient in 2018. Nadia will be touring in Alberta as a presenter in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week in 2019.  In summer 2019, Nadia will be the writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadia is on the planning team of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) Kids Book Fest. 

Nadia is an elementary school teacher in Toronto and has taught early years music in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Nadia L. Hohn studied writing at the Highlights Foundation, Humber College School of Writers, George Brown College, and the Voices of our Nation (VONA).  She holds an honours arts degree in psychology from the University of Waterloo as well as Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). 

Nadia is currently working on two young adult novels, a play, the next Malaika… book, and others.  She lives in Toronto where she teaches, reads a ton, and crafts stories.

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

HARRIET TUBMAN: Freedom Fighter is an early reader in the I Can Read series published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.  It is a biography about a great woman hero and contains many facts that I discovered in research that many readers may find to be new.  It was published on December 31, 2018.

A LIKKLE MISS LOU: How Jamaican poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice is about Jamaica’s cultural ambassador who had an influence on this nation’s use of the spoken language of patois which later influenced its music.  This book will be published by Owlkids in August 15, 2018.

What are you reading right now?

I usually read a few books simultaneously.  In my car, on audiobook, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.  On my Kindle, “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin.  On my laptop e-audiobook, “Darius & Twig” by Walter Dean Myers.  And at home, my physical book is “Ayesha at Last” by Uzma Jalaluddin.  I also read the Bible on a daily basis.

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

Adwoa Badoe.  She has written several books, some which are out of print.  I read her book ALUTA and I was blown away.  I felt that it should have received more attention than it did.

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

How long it takes but how quickly the time passes.

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

Descriptions of food and a flare for language, especially if there is a Caribbean character.

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

Ice castles at Quebec Carnival and building a snowman.

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

More diverse books featuring diverse characters written by diverse authors.

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

Two Groundwood Books with gorgeous illustrations and hopefulness:

Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings by Francie Latour, illustrated by Ken Daley

Moon Wishes by Guy and Patricia Storms, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic

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

Keep reading, keep writing, and share your writing with your colleagues or a community.

Awesome advice! Thank you so much for joining us, Nadia!

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

Connect with Nadia on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 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!

Nadia L. Hohn Prize Pack – a signed copy of MALAIKA’S COSTUME

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Other available prizes:

Aviaq Johnston Prize Pack – a copy of THOSE WHO DWELL BELOW

Wade Albert White Prize Pack – a copy of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO TREASURE (AND HOW TO STEAL IT)

Qin Leng Prize Pack – a copy of THE BETTER TREE FORT

Sarah Everett Prize Pack – a copy of NO ONE HERE IS LONELY

Nhung Tran-Davies Prize Pack – a copy of A GRAIN OF RICE

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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 Monday, April 22nd when we chat with author, Jess Keating!

 

 

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Aviaq Johnston

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Aviaq Johnston!

Aviaq Johnston grew up in Igloolik, Nunavut. Her debut novel Those Who Run in the Sky won the Indigenous Voices Award for Most Significant Work of Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer in 2018, a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young Peoples Literature, and an Honour Book for the 2018 CODE Burt Awards for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Literature. Aviaq also has a children’s picture book called What’s My Superpower? She lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Aviaq Johnston

Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

The sequel to my first novel, Those Who Dwell Below is coming out this spring! This one takes place shortly after where we left off in Those Who Run in the Sky. Pitu is dealing with a lot as he gets used to being back home; his new role as a leader and how differently he is being treated. A spirit tells Pitu of a nearby community that is experiencing famine. To help them, he has to go and meet a well-known sea spirit, Nuliajuk.

What are you reading right now?

I am actually reading quite a few books at the moment. At home, I am reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. When travelling, I am reading 1984 by George Orwell. When walking my dog, I am listening to The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud.

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

So many! Cherie Dimaline, Canisia Lubrin, Smokii Sumac, S.K. Ali, Joshua Whitehead, Tenille K. Campbell, Kim Thuy, Richard Van Camp, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Amal El-Mohtar, Monique Gray Smith, and Maria Qamar, all of whom have a piece of my heart.

[KBKL Note – check out our interview with S.K. Ali on April 24th!]

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

Perhaps one of the most surprising things I have experienced so far is how it seems that everyone in my life has suddenly forgot how to find and buy books. I appreciate that they all want a copy, but it does get tiring to be asked quite frequently where my books are available or if I have any copies I can give away. In any case, my books are easily found with a google search, available to order online, at local libraries or bookstores, and if not, you can ask the library or bookstore to order copies.

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

Badly executed humour! And some sort of supernatural element.

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

The most Canadian thing is probably that my books usually take place in winter? Since my book takes place before Canada was even a country, it feels weird to answer this haha.

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

The future is intersectional! I want to see more Indigenous, PoC, LGBTQ2S+ characters in all genres, I want to see proper representation of our cultures, I want to see us writing our own stories. Ajunngittugut, we can do this and we are doing this!

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

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline would be super fun to be stuck in for a day! I would look for a world where you could literally play as Link in every Legend of Zelda game there is, then spend my time exploring Hyrule and paragliding.

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

The first draft is always the worst your manuscript will ever be, so don’t let editing get you down! It’s a long process, but at the end of it all your story will be strong and will be accessible to any reader you can imagine.

So true! Thank you so much for joining us, Aviaq!

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

Connect with Aviaq on Instagram or Twitter!

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!

Aviaq Johnston Prize Pack – a copy of THOSE WHO DWELL BELOW

 

Those Who Dwell Below Inhabit Cover

Other available prizes:

Wade Albert White Prize Pack – a copy of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO TREASURE (AND HOW TO STEAL IT)

Qin Leng Prize Pack – a copy of THE BETTER TREE FORT

Sarah Everett Prize Pack – a copy of NO ONE HERE IS LONELY

Nhung Tran-Davies Prize Pack – a copy of A GRAIN OF RICE

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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 Saturday, April 20th when we chat with author, Nadia L. Hohn!

KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Wade Albert White

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Wade Albert White!

Wade hails from Nova Scotia, Canada, land of wild blueberries and Duck Tolling Retrievers. He teaches part-time, dabbles in animation, and spends the rest of his time as a stay-at-home dad. It is also possible he has set a new record as the slowest 10K runner. Ever. He owns one pretend cat and one real one, and they get along fabulously.

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

The third and final book in the Adventurer’s Guide series came out in January 2019. The title is The Adventurer’s Guide to Treasure (and How to Steal It), and the story is a pirate adventure full of mystery, heart-pounding chases, and laugh-out-loud hijinks. It also features electric chickens, so there’s that too.

What are you reading right now?

So far this year I’ve actually been going back through some of my favorite middle grade books and rereading them. I like to do this every once in a while, like going back to appreciate a favorite piece of art or music, and I find I usually end up discovering something new about each book or series. So it’s been back to the likes of Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, the Secret Series, Anne of Green Gables, and others.

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

I got the chance to meet Lindsey Carmichael at an event in Toronto back in November 2018. She’s a working scientist who also writes fantastic science books for kids and teens. Lindsey is an engaging presenter and writes on a variety of topics.

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

That I’ve actually been lucky enough to do some travelling around Canada and the US to promote my books. I’ve visited lots of different places I’d never been to before, and met some wonderful readers.

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

Fast-paced adventure and lots of humor. And squirrels.

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

Well, I did include an avalanche in one of them. Does that count?

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

Science fiction stories actually set somewhere in Canada. This is not to say there aren’t many already, but I find even Canadian authors themselves frequently default to settings elsewhere (often the US). Canada contains such diverse geography, though, that I think it’s a place ripe for adventure.

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

Is “all of them” a legitimate answer? Well, if I really have to choose just one, I’d probably go with Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (technically a graphic novel, but still counts in my opinion). It’s got the perfect blend of fantasy, science fiction, and sarcastic characters. And it has tiny shoulder-mounted laser guns that go, “pew, pew.”

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

Always have a notebook handy. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one (although it certainly can be). But I never know when an idea is going to pop into my head, and I’ve learned not to rely on remembering it when I get home. If I write it down when I first think of it, even if it’s just a few quick notes, then I’m sure not to lose it.

Excellent advice! Thanks so much for joining us, Wade!

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

Connect with Wade on Twitter 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!

Wade Albert White Prize Pack – a copy of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO TREASURE (AND HOW TO STEAL IT)

Adventurer's Guide to Treasure and How to Steal It.png

Other available prizes:

Qin Leng Prize Pack – a copy of THE BETTER TREE FORT

Sarah Everett Prize Pack – a copy of NO ONE HERE IS LONELY

Nhung Tran-Davies Prize Pack – a copy of A GRAIN OF RICE

Cale Atkinson Prize Pack – a copy of OFF & AWAY

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 Thursday, April 18th when we chat with author, Aviaq Johnston!