Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series where new picture book releases are featured on Mondays with an author interview. I am thrilled to feature my critique partner, Emma Wood and her debut picture book Tulip and Doug, illustrated by Carla Martell, published by Scholastic New Zealand. And as an added bonus, I’m including a review of this adorable book!
Tulip was famous in her neighbourhood for two reasons: 1. She was a fearless adventurer. 2. She went everywhere with a seriously strange sidekick-a potato, called Doug!
Tulip and Doug are inseparable, until catastrophe strikes and Tulip
loses her best spuddy buddy. She is inconsolable, until another unlikely friendship blossoms.
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and full of heart! An unlikely friendship between an adventurous girl and a potato (?!) is funny and full of delightful surprises. The adorable illustrations add whimsy and fun, plus the view from Tulip’s headquarters is spectacular. Will Tulip ever find find Doug? Will Doug be forced into the compost bin? There’s plenty of suspense in this story to keep the pages turning.
And now I’d like to welcome Emma Wood to the blog! Emma, author of Tulip and Doug, has been one of my critique partners since 2018, when we joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge.
- Tell us how you came to write books for children.
It’s a familiar story, really – I read my own children many, many picture books, and soon developed a love for the form. I revisited all the titles I adored in childhood, which was gorgeously nostalgic. But the best part was discovering some remarkable contemporary picture books. It was a revelation to experience these beautiful, moving, profound, hilarious, outrageous and clever books, and to see how the interplay between text and art could elevate a story. I felt inspired to have a go at writing them, too.
In my day job, I write primarily for adults – I’m a former journalist who now works in communications and public relations. However, I’ve never been especially interested in writing adult fiction. I like to write for children because they are the most wonderful people on the planet. I write picture books because they introduce children to elements of language, art, storytelling, and the wonders and workings of the world around them. Children deserve to read excellent, fun, engaging, meaningful books – every bit as much as adults do.
- Tell us how you came up with the idea for your book .
I was painting my living room walls and listening to a podcast, actually! The podcast guest shared that as a child, they had a rock friend called John that they pushed around in a pram. I found this funny and charming, and it struck me as a cute idea for a picture book. I then thought a potato friend might be even funnier than a rock.
I got to thinking about the potential ramifications of having a potato as a friend – that other children might find it a little strange, and that a potato wouldn’t be the most permanent of pals. The story of fearless adventurer Tulip and her dear, ill-fated Doug grew from that seed.
I’m delighted TULIP AND DOUG is now a book, and I hope children and their families will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
- Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
My advice is to find your people! There are so many excellent resources and supportive communities online for children’s authors and illustrators. I highly recommend Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, which is where I met my wonderful critique partners (hi, Cynthia!) and learned so much about the craft of writing picture books. SCBWI is another great resource. Storyteller Academy has some fantastic courses and teachers, as does the Children’s Book Academy. And there are heaps of Facebook groups like Kidlit 411 and Sub It Club where you can connect with fellow authors and illustrators. I’ve found all of these communities to be welcoming and encouraging, and a treasure trove of industry and craft knowledge.
Here are Emma’s social media contacts:
- Twitter @emmakayewood
- Insta @emmakayewood
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