Goodnight Bob: Picture Book Q&A

In Goodnight Bob by husband-and-wife team Ann and John Hassett, little Bob uses his flashlight when he sees mysterious eyes in the dark at bedtime. With a whimsical twist, this is a bedtime book unlike any you’ve read before.

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We were lucky enough to sit down with Ann and John to chat about Goodnight Bob, their creative process, and favorite bedtime reads.

Q: Which comes first: the text or art?

A: Ann and John: The idea for Goodnight Bob began with a small drawing of a little boy in his bed. Somehow a story grew from that drawing. Finding the words was a little like putting together a puzzle. Every word had to fit just right. That was the hope anyway. Then came days of sketching, doodling, erasing, scribbling, paper-crumpling, and lots and lots of looking out the window. Artwork was finished three hours before deadline. Not really, but close.

Q: Were you ever afraid of the dark?

A: John:  I grew up in a house full of mice, and most of them lived in the attic above my bed. Late at night, a few scurrying mice can sound like a gorilla throwing furniture around up there. My brothers and I never got much sleep.

A: Ann: Yes, I’m still afraid of the dark. We don’t have mice in the attic; we have squirrels.

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Q: What’s the easiest and hardest part of creating a book?  

A: Ann and John: Sometimes a story idea will almost write itself and need very few changes till completion. But those are rare as Bigfoot sightings. Most stories need to be tinkered with over and over till they feel right. Even then, we always find something we wish we could change. Same with the pictures.

Q: What are your hopes for Goodnight Bob?

A: Ann: We hope readers find Goodnight Bob slightly spooky, but also safe and reassuring and fun to read. And if it’s read at bedtime, we hope no one goes to sleep before the last page is turned. Yawning is fine, but no sleeping till the end.

Q: Could you see a sequel in Bob’s future?

A: Ann: Yes! The next book has the working title Bob’s Rock.

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Q: What creature would you want to wish you goodnight?

A: John: The famous Cow that Jumped Over the Moon. That cow is amazing. The cows I know couldn’t jump a glass of milk.

A: Ann: I’d like an owl to wish me goodnight with lots of wild hooting right outside my window.

Q: What book do you like to read at bedtime?     

A: Ann: I love to read mysteries, but not at bedtime or I’ll have nightmares, so I usually read nonfiction that puts me to sleep.

A: John: Go Dog, Go, by PD Eastman was my favorite bedtime book as a boy, and I still keep it close by. It’s absurdly funny and the pictures are just right. A perfect book, though it may bother cats. Best to read this story while your cat is busy somewhere else.

Thanks, Ann and John! Love Goodnight Bob already? Don’t miss the adorable book trailer! And to find out more about Bob, including links for purchasing the book, check out our website.

Goodnight Bob: Picture Book Q&A

Beep Beep: Make Way for Big Trucks and Ducks

With sunny skies and warm breezes filling the day, kids, ducks, and dump trucks alike are now out to play. With a “Beep, beep” there and a “crash, crash” there, construction noise fills the air like pollen. Children welcome this noise as if it is an orchestral composition, and adults everywhere are left curious as to what is so special about construction sites.

Adults are still puzzled as to why children find big trucks so fascinating. Perhaps it’s the mess, the noise, or the size, but kids everywhere are drawn to dump trucks. Maybe it is because little hands can only move little handfuls of sand, or dirt. Yet trucks can move loads because trucks are tough. There’s just something about a construction site that pulls at the heartstrings of children. One thing is certain though that this construction magic is captured in the bright book, Dump Truck Duck.

9780807517369_DumpTruckDuckNot only does this adorable book convey the coolness of the construction site, but it also speaks volumes about teamwork. Dump Truck Duck’s use of furry ducklings and construction vehicles as a way to express a tale of consideration and helping others is nothing short of special. This book demonstrates the power of working together to get the task at hand completed, and the book also acknowledges that mistakes happen. It is a gentle reminder for children to act with kindness and showcase a positive attitude.

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Host a quacktastic party!

After a long day of sandbox play, there is nothing quite as special as reading about the strength of a truck. Dump Truck Duck, comparable to Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, is a heartwarming tale. It is certainly fit as a bedtime story to cap off a day spent playing in the playground, or an at-home remedy when rain clouds move in. Dump Truck Duck is really the perfect companion to any kind of day, filled with any kind of play, and a reminder of how much can be accomplished when everyone works together.

Beep Beep: Make Way for Big Trucks and Ducks

AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge

AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge

Who: Everyone who loves reading YA!

What: Read any AW Teen title (full list here: http://www.albertwhitman.com/teen/) and review it anywhere (your blog, Goodreads, Instagram, YouTube—wherever!).

The Summer I Found You  A Different Me  Girl Last Seen copy  The Opposite of Love

When: June 15-August 31, 2016

How: Submit the link to your review here.

You will receive 1 entry for every AW Teen Book you review.

You will receive extra entries for sharing that review on Goodreads, Netgalley, Edelweiss, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other review sites.

You will receive even more extra entries for following us on our Albert Whitman and AW Teen social media sites!

Albert Whitman Social Media accounts:

AW Teen Facebook

Albert Whitman Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

AW Teen Youtube

Prize: Six AW Teen ’16 titles!

Future Shock (hardcover)

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Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life—or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporations selects her for a top-secret project, she can’t say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future, and she’ll be set for life. Elena travels with four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy. Soon they find themselves running out of time, and deadly secrets are uncovered. Can Elena and her new friends figure out how to change their futures?

Resurrecting Sunshine (ARC)

Seventeen-year-old Adam Rhodes is famous, but he’s been in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved, Marybeth, who went by the stage name Sunshine. Then, Adam is approached by Dr. Elloran with Project Orpheus, who wants to resurrect Sunshine. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her.

Until I Break (ARC)

Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? This unforgettable novel counts down the twelve months leading up to an explosive moment.

Biggie (paperback)

Biggie in paperback

At an obese 300+ pounds, Henry “Biggie” Abbott prefers classroom success to sports. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts flirting with him. He’s been told to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play baseball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try.

Girl Last Seen (hardcover)

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YouTube stars and best friends Kadence and Lauren recently had a major falling-out over Kadence’s boyfriend. Kadence launched her solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal cords. And she knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. But nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with Kady’s disappearance.

Hurricane Kiss (hardcover)

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For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors—including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he’s now silent and angry. But their evacuation route is soon gridlocked. As the teens wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is more than just staying alive—it’s about fighting for yourself.

AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge

Let’s Hear it for the Cows!

Cows deserve a round of applause. Don’t worry, you read that last sentence correctly. Our bovine friends deserve some recognition, and for more than just one reason. While an average cow weighs 1650 pounds, they are cuddly and sweet, and even sleep next to the members of their families. We wouldn’t have sweet ice cream treats, or warm buttery bread without them, but most of all without cows, we would’ve missed out on a great tale or two. Pun intended.

In honor of our new title The Cow Who Climbed A Tree lets take a second to remember all the wonderful cows that have shown us the way.

Babe the Blue Ox

Paul Bunyan, the strapping Wisconsin lumberjack, would’ve been lost without his trusty friend Babe the Blue Ox. Babe, who was adopted by the mythical man and grew to massive proportions, helped Paul Bunyan pull his wagons up and down icy terrain. Babe even fell in love with Bessie the farm cow. Bessie would make enough butter to grease Paul Bunyan’s big pancake pan, and with her long yellow eyelashes she even made Babe, a northern ice-road bull, fall in love with the warm summer weather. These cows showed us friendship and warmth, and kept our minds dreaming about their wonderful journeys.

Ferdinand the Bull
Ferdinand the Bull

Babe and Bessie weren’t the only bovines to warm our hearts, though. Ferdinand the Bull demonstrated the courage to be true to oneself time and time again. Ferdinand the Bull by Robert Lawson highlights a bull who prefers to spend his time among the flowers rather than fighting. Even when he grows to become a big bull ready to fight an amazing matador, Ferdinand stays true to his roots and lies in the ring playing with the daisies. This story reminded us to stay true to our beliefs even when we are in a situation that proves difficult.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree

Following in these famous big cow footsteps is Tina, the cow who dreams of adventures even when her ideas are called impossible, in The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino. Tina has passion for discovering new things, and going places no cow has gone before. Her siblings may say she’s crazy, but she knows that she is destined for adventure. After making friends with an adorable vegetarian dragon, Tina is able to reach her goals, and show others what she can do. Her perseverance and drive are admirable, and just like the other cows before, her she shows us just how much we can accomplish.

Cow tales have shown so many of us the way, and reminded us of our abilities no matter our size or color. This spring, join us in bringing Tina the cow to stardom like Babe, Bessie, and Ferdinand, and welcome her into your hearts. Here’s to the spotted, black, brown, blue, tree-climbing, daisy-picking, ice-road-hauling cows and all they continue to teach us!

-Maggie Lynch

Let’s Hear it for the Cows!

Twisty novels arrive in spring

This spring the weather isn’t the only volatile variable, with the new thrilling books we’re releasing for AW Teen. Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs and Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown are two titles that require some buckling up and buckling down: their story curves create binge reading tendencies in even the most resistant readers. Just like heavy clouds that tingle with the anticipation of rain, each of these stories build with anxiety for answers.

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Future Shock, one of the unrelentingly interesting titles follows the story of Elena Martinez: the possible key to saving the dystopian future. With her eidetic memory and tenacious spirit, Elena and a crew of fearless recruits head into the future with one mission and one rule. When their travels in time go wrong, they’re forced to break that one rule: Not to look into their futures. With a clock ticking away, Elena and her cohorts must find a way from preventing their unfortunate fates, and get back to the past. Playing with fate proves to have dangerous outcomes, and the mission may just cost her the group’s demise.

     Girl Last Seen is a thriller of a different kind. When two best friends, Kady and Lauren, become YouTube singing sensations, their dreams seemed to have come true. That is, until Lauren lost her singing voice and the newly solo sensation Kady went missing. Through a series of memories, lyrics, and multiple perspectives, it becomes clear what happened to Kady. This book is filled with rhythmic prose and fearful relationships. When it seems like one of the characters is a decided villain, a new reveal will play your heartstrings with gentle candor like one of Kady and Lauren’s songs.

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Springtime brings in sunshine and eager warmth, but it also ushers in a season of fickle clouds, and uncertain wind. It seems fitting that with this weather we release some of our most rivetingly twisty novels. We send them out and hope their capricious plots, and heart-pumping prose doesn’t send us volatile storms. No matter the weather, nothing is better than the worlds that will unravel beyond the covers of these two mysterious spring titles.

To find out more about Girl Last Seen and Future Shock follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. These titles may be twisters, but our other titles include some warm spring breeze.

-Maggie Lynch

Twisty novels arrive in spring

Holiday memories from our authors

Growing up, my family always did a joint Hanukkah/ Christmas celebration.  Christmukkah? Hanukmas? My friends were jealous because they figured I got double presents, but actually my parents spread the gifts out over the eight nights and Christmas day.  I did open something each evening, but often they were what other kids called “stocking stuffers”—pairs of socks, a new toothbrush… or (my favorite) a book.
We picked our tree on Christmas day, most often for free. Yes our trees were sickly and bent, the picked-over ones, but there was something Christmassy about bringing a lonely curved tree into our warm home to be dressed up.

Brenda Sturgis imageTradition IS the key to making memories, and creating magic. Our family tradition involves a can of whipped cream. It began as one of those silly
little things that a grandmother does for her grandchildren, to enlist a giggle. No matter what the holiday, or celebration, my grandchildren
stampede into my kitchen, scrounge through the refrigerator and line up. 7 hungry children with mouths agape, waiting to see who can hold the most
whipped cream in their mouth.  This tradition is one that will surely be ingrained inside their hearts, whenever they pass the dairy aisle in the
grocery store.
-Brenda Sturgis, author of Still a Family (pub. Fall 2016)

Felicia Chernesky--Felicia and Stephanie, Christmas 1971[2]
Felicia and Stephanie (1971)
My sisters and I anticipated Christmas presents under the tree, but Christmas Eve was sacred. We’d help Mom cook—stuffed artichokes, angel hair aglio et olio, countless fish dishes, zeppole, strufolli—and set the table with her best china. After Mass we’d gather at the corner for a rowdy firetruck visit from Santa, who handed out Colorforms sets or treat-filled stockings. Every year, Mom (who is small in stature) was carried up to sit on Santa’s lap while the neighbors cheered. Later we’d exchange gifts; Dad always had something special for each of us. Then Mom and Dad played piano and we’d sing carols. Christmas Day with grandparents and cousins was wonderful, too, but Christmas Eve night was just for us.-Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, author of From Apple Trees to Cider, Please


laura hurwitz photoOur family is an interfaith one. My upbringing was Protestant while my husband is Jewish. This means our six children have always celebrated both Hannukah and Christmas. The menorahs (somehow, we have amassed four) are stored in the basement right alongside the Christmas decorations and my grandmother’s manger scene. It was never a matter of pitting Santa Claus and Christmas carols against potato latkes and applesauce but joyful holiday coexistence. Our family Venn diagram of Christmas and Hannukah shows the inevitable theological differences, but we have always celebrated the intersection and its commonalities: Light against darkness. Loved ones gathered round. Faith in all kinds of miracles.

Laura Hurwitz, author of Disappear Home

Holiday memories from our authors

Holiday Season traditions: from our authors

Holidays often challenge blended families. My divorced parents worked it out by having two Christmases for my brother and me. One with my mother and stepfather at home on December 25th, and the other, which we called “Little Christmas,” with my father, stepmother, and paternal grandparents.

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Whitney (center) with cousins

My beloved grandmother Mari made sure my brother and I felt adored. She prepared an extra Christmas meal just for us with my cousins. The highlight of the tradition was the money tree. Mari hid coins of different values in tin-foil ornaments. The luckiest kid found the quarter. Now I laugh at the message of Mari’s tradition—you mean money does grow on trees?

Whitney Stewart, author of Meditation is an Open Sky


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The original recipe card and last year’s batch of Lebkuchen trees

When I was a child, we had a World Book Encyclopedia. World Book sent out an annual Christmas package that included a book about how Christmas was celebrated in a different country, recipe cards with traditional cookies from that country and an ornament. I would sit by the Christmas tree and read those books over and over. I kept the recipe card from Christmas in Austria (1982) and still make the Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) every year without fail. It reminds me of how much I loved reading as a child.

Mandy Mikulencak, author of Burn Girl


 

Nancy I. Sanders and family
Nancy (right) is hugging her new doll in a red velvet dress.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I knew that Santa Claus stopped in Florida first. Every Christmas morning, tucked deep in the toe of each of our stockings was a big, beautiful orange. The fragrance filled the room as my brother and sisters and I sat next to the crackling fireplace and peeled them open. I knew nobody could get oranges where I lived during winter. So I had Santa all figured out. He got them in Florida first! Santa still hides an orange in our stockings each year. It’s a tradition that we continue with our own children and grandchildren.

Nancy I. Sanders, author of A Pirate’s Mother Goose


When I was growing up, sometimes the snow held off until after the weather got really, really cold. This was black ice season, and the best skating ever. We had a little pond in our back yard. On holiday nights, we put sand in the bottom of paper lunch bags and lit candles inside. We put the lanterns all around the edge of the pond, and built a bonfire nearby. We skated under the stars until our toes were cold and painful, and then warmed up by the fire with cups of cocoa, while the grownups drank something mysterious. And, of course, we toasted marshmallows.

Sarah S. Brannen, author and illustrator of Madame Martine Breaks the Rules; illustrator of All Kinds of Families


The most unique holiday tradition in my beautiful seaside city (Portland, ME) is the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree. The tree stands over twenty feet tall, made from seventy-six real working lobster traps. The thing reeks of brine, salt water, and dead fish. (Now this is Super Schnoz’s kind of tree!)

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The Lobster Trap Christmas Tree is a tradition in many Maine communities, from the tiniest island village to the big (by Maine standards) city of Portland. If you find yourself in Maine during the holiday season, take a good whiff and follow your nose to see this unique Maine holiday tradition!

Gary Urey, author of the Super Schnoz series

Holiday Season traditions: from our authors