Friday, September 11, 2015

That's (Not) Mine

 I'm thrilled to be sharing That's (Not) Mine with readers today! Husband and wife team Christopher Weyant (illustrator) and Anna Kang (author) have collaborated again to bring us characters you first met in You Are (Not) Small-which won the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award! 

Here's what I wanted to ask the duo (enjoy!):

First off Anna and Christopher, congratulations on the success of You Are (Not) Small. I know that was an important story for you to write, Anna, with some important personal connections. I am sitting here looking at the (very expressive) cover of That’s (Not) Mine and I just have to know, do you two have trouble sharing things?!

Anna: Thank you for your kind words! Yes, as with You Are (Not) Small, the idea for That’s (Not) Mine came from my childhood, specifically, growing up with a brother with whom I learned to share, or not share. Truth be told, my brother was a much better sharer than I was, but fortunately for Chris, I’ve matured since then and I’m much better at it now. As a couple, I think Chris and I share pretty well, considering that we share the responsibilities of taking care of our children and household, our workspace, and our book projects. Of course, there are definitely moments when sharing is really a challenge, but having a sense of humor helps. A lot. 

Chris: When I was a child, my older brother and I were so terrible at sharing that my parents would mark everything with our initials to clearly mark which toys belonged to whom. We had a coveted set of wooden blocks—in the corner of each piece, written in blue pen, were either the initials, “C” for Chris or “G” for Glenn. One day, I noticed that all of the really important pieces were gone and I discovered that my brother had found my father’s pen and turned my “C’s” into “G’s!” Luckily, Anna and I don’t have to use this system as we share much better than I did with my brother. Plus, it’s much harder to turn a “C” into an “A.”

Every parent and teacher that reads this story is going to have a major sense of deja vu. Ok, every person who was ever a child is going to have that sense. This is such a real point in the lives of young people! This time when we want to stake claim to something, anything, to show that we are here and we matter. What power do you see in the pages of your book? How do you hope and imagine young readers reacting to your story?

Anna: I hope young readers identify with the characters and the story and see that sharing is difficult for everyone, even between friends. As you said, children naturally stake claim to things that help define them. But first and foremost, I hope they will enjoy the story and illustrations and laugh, because I believe that if kids are drawn to a book, they will want to have it read to them repeatedly, and then try to read it independently. 

Chris: Conflict is such a big part of growing up (and being a grown-up, as well!). I enjoyed how Anna created a story that allows our characters to fight, work their way through the conflict, and come out on the other side as friends. The chair is just a thing, and it’s the friendship that matters in the end. I think that’s an important message which I hope readers take away with them.

I think it is special that author and illustrator are working collaboratively, what is that like for you both?

Anna: Chris and I have known each other for twenty years, so we understand each other’s sensibilities and perspective and try to give constructive criticism within that context, which helps a lot. Of course, as I said before, sometimes sharing (ideas, opinions, criticism, etc., along with everything else) can be really challenging, so having a sense of humor always helps. Also, I try to keep in mind what our purple and orange guys are teaching us: everyone has their own valid perspective, even if you don’t agree with it.  

Chris: It’s by far the most collaborative project that I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve learned so much from it. Anna and I discuss every aspect of the book—the illustrations, the character creation, story, message, humor, color, etc. Amazingly, we have been able to provide input into each other’s side of things and yet preserve our own voice, too. For me, it makes a much stronger book and I feel lucky that I get to have Anna as my creative partner.

Thank you so much for stopping by Bluestocking Thinking! I look forward to spreading the book love for That’s (Not) Mine!

From the publisher:
Husband-and-wife team Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of You Are (Not) Small, which won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award and was named a Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association. They live in New Jersey with their two daughters, Kate and Lily, a guinea pig named Athena, and a hermit crab named Olaf.

Anna, a native New Yorker, grew up believing everything was hers until one day she realized it was her brother’s, too. She received a master’s degree in fine arts from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where the visual storyteller in her was awakened, forever changing the way she saw art, life, and everything in between. In addition to writing, Anna loves to read, travel, laugh, eat, and nap. Visit her online at

Christopher is a cartoonist and illustrator. His work can regularly be seen in the New Yorker. His cartoons are syndicated worldwide and have been featured on the Today ShowMeet the Press, and World News Tonight. Christopher likes to share everything but his personal space on the subway. Visit him online at
Twitter: @annakang27     @chrisweyant05

For more information, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit: or

Follow the tour!

Mon, Aug 31
Tues, Sept 1
Jean Little Library
Wed, Sept 2
Teach Mentor Texts
Thurs, Sept 3
Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Sept 4
Unleashing Readers
Mon, Sept 7
The Children's Book Review
Tues, Sept 8
Wed, Sept 9
The Library Fanatic
Thurs, Sept 10
Fri, Sept 11
Bluestocking Thinking

Want a copy?! Enter to win a copy of That's (Not) Mine and an adorable full-color poster! Entries must be received by Sunday, September 13th.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

International Literacy Day 2015

Check out this graphic full of literary statistics, and be thankful that you can read and comprehend it!
In honor of International Literacy Day:

Literacy Day
This infographic is the property of
In promoting this graphic, Grammarly will donate $10 to Reading is Fundamental, the literacy promoting charity of my choice!

Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9-7-15

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers. Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews! 

As my son would say, WooooW!, the weather in New England was gorgeous this Labor Day weekend! 

Books I've Recently Read:

 Space Boy and his Sister Dog by Dian Curtis Regan
illustrated by Robert Neubecker
Boyds Mill Press, 2015
32 pages
Recommended for grades pre-k-2

The perfect book for children that love to imagine, which is to say, the perfect book for kids!
Niko (one such imaginative boy), his robot copilot and his pet dog, travel to outer space for adventure. It's important to note that Niko does not want his sister, Posh, to be in this story. But, as sisters sometimes do, she crashes the party and finds herself smack dab in the middle of the book.
Strong colors and engaging images add to the appeal of this story. 
Niko makes a rocket from a cardboard box, that's something many kids can relate to:

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Greenwillow Books, 2006
28 pages
Recommended for grades k+

Simple, yet whimsical illustrations give this story a soft feel. I came across this story online, with a recommendation to use it as a mentor text in writing. With phrases like: "The rich green of the forest was turning to dusty gold, and the soft, swishing sound of summer was fading to a crinkly whisper."  "The leaves shivered and shook themselves and began to wriggle free. They tossed and turned and twitched and twirled and tumbled to the ground." it isn't a wonder that people are using it as a mentor text.

I'm Currently Reading:

(Listening to)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Guest Post Featuring "Rufus and the Flying Carpet"

I haven't written my own children's book yet, so in the meantime, I can highlight the work of others!
~featuring Rufus and the Flying Carpet by Pauli Murphy

     The Series of adventures with "Rufus and The Flying Carpet" are an invitation. An invitation to Children of ALL ages (i.e.humans) to leap into the furthest reaches of imagination and join Rufus and his Friends as they engage in wonderful and exciting experiences with the help of their Magical Flying Carpet.

     The wonder that young children are naturally drawn to is addressed from the start, with Rufus' ability to see Faeries and Angelic Beings and such-like. To Rufus, as to most of the young, this facility is entirely normal and he is surprised to find that not everybody has it. His belief that you can "Be, Do or Have anything that you wish" is what fuels the intentions of the adventurers and "the sky", as you will see, is by no means "the limit"!

     The stories skip along, ever more expansive and imaginative, inviting the reader (or listener) to begin to guess what could happen next. The illustrations, by Sandra Ingham and Ellie Grant of Truro, add a delight and focus, whilst never detracting from the reader's own ability and desire to imagine the amazing scenes for themselves.

     Mentored, with regard to structure, flow and direction, by Tomos Turtle (15, who won the Barefoot Books, nationwide First Prize for story-telling at the age of 8) Pauli Murphy's series picks the reader up and puts you right there on the Carpet, with the adventurous little rabbits, to travel to places so unknown, peopled by beings of astounding contrast that you will find yourself holding your breath from time to time !

     This 'benevolent' series will not dismay as it builds upon the wonderful inter-relationships of the main characters, each with their delightful humour, strengths, weaknesses and their courage as well as vulnerabilities clearly evident. Beautiful, carefully embedded life lessons pop up and are clarified by the characters and the circumstances, but never "saccharine" or imposing, with choice and free will being paramount.

     The mark of good fiction, leaving the reader very much wanting more, is distinctive in Pauli Murphy's writing. You can tell from the start that he truly enjoys creating these books.We suggest ($3.08 on Kindle) that you might enjoy reading them, perhaps even more so when reading them to children.

     "Rufus and The Flying Carpet - The Beginning" is the 1st in the series. Pauli is currently at work on the 2nd (outer space is mentioned !) and there is a ($1.53) on Kindle, soon to be in print) lovely little booklet, "Rufus' Lessons for Children of ALL ages - How to tie a Bowline" (pronounced "Bo-Lin") The MOST important knot in the World ! Could be a life-saver, while the Flying Carpet Series is a "Life Savour !"