I’m thrilled to feature Abi Cushman’s new book, SOAKED! here on Kid Lit Love! Thank you for sharing your book with us, Abi! Published by Viking Children’s Books, SOAKED was just released July 14, 2020. Congratulations, Abi!
A Hula-Hooping moose, a badger with a bumblebee umbrella, a bunny in a cashmere sweater, and a very wet bear star in this unpredictable and laugh-out-loud picture book in which having fun gets the best of a grumpy bear.
It looks like a wet and dreary day for Bear and his trio of friends. How could he possibly have fun when he is soaked? But Badger, Bunny, and Moose don’t seem to mind. In fact, Moose can still hula hoop! And it looks like so much fun. Might Bear like to try?
Here is a story that shows that fun is not dependent on sunshine and blue skies. In fact, it might be more fun to be soaked!
Pub Date: July 14, 2020
Pages: 40 pages
Publisher: Viking Children’s Books | An imprint of Penguin Random House ISBN: 978-1984836625
Abi took the time to share a little about her experience as a children’s writer and I’m so happy for the opportunity to give you the inside scoop on Abi’s experience as a children’s writer.
1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.
I’ve always been interested in illustrating picture books. In fact, I took a few illustration courses in college. But I never thought of myself as a particularly creative writer. That changed in 2015, when I was reminded how much I loved picture books after reading a ton of them with my new baby. And then, in a sleep-deprived New Mom moment, I had an idea of my own for a book. So I decided to make a go of it. I wrote the words and created a dummy and went to my very first SCBWI critique group meeting. Since then, it’s been so much fun writing stories I think my kids would love or ones that I would have loved when I was a kid.
2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book or how you came up with the idea.
It was a hot summer afternoon in 2017, and I was out for a walk with my husband and daughter. We were about a mile away from home when we felt the first few drops. The drops quickly escalated into a torrential rainstorm. Normally, we all would have just started booking it for the house, but I was eight months pregnant at the time, and my movement was down to a slow waddle. So I told my husband to run home with our daughter, and I’d meet them later. And what I realized on my soggy walk home was that once I was completely soaked, the rain was actually quite pleasant. Refreshing even! So I thought it would be interesting in a picture book to play around with the idea of your attitude changing despite the circumstances staying the same. And I thought it would be so much fun to show a character completely embracing the rain and splashing around in pure joy.
3. Please share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
The simplest thing you can do to figure out how to write books well is to go to the library and read a bunch of new books and analyze them. For picture books, look for the main problem (what does the character want), what sets off the story, what escalates the tension in the story, and how is the problem resolved. And finally, what makes the book special? What gives it heart? After doing this many times, you’ll have a great foundation for how to structure your own stories, and you’ll get a sense of the kinds of books being published today.
Thanks, Abi. I love your rain storm story from 2017. It’s funny because that same summer, our family got stuck in a rain storm while in Florida. We were NOT dressed for rain. While I wasn’t pregnant, I was wearing really slippery shoes so I was the only one moving slowly because I didn’t want to fall. I really was SOAKED but I never laughed so hard!
You can connect with Abi here:
Thanks for the interview, Abi and congratulations on your new release!
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