||[Sep. 25th, 2013|06:54 am]
Today I am pleased to welcome Linda Sue Park to my blog. Linda Sue is a Newberry award winning author for her book A Single Shard. Her work include novels, poetry and picture books. I think you’ll find it interesting what she has to say about writing a picture book and especially her latest.
1. Was there a particular incident, place or moment that first sparked your thinking for this book?
It was a first line: "Xander planned a panda party." Those words popped into my head one day, and I loved the sound of the words but I didn't have a story to go with them! It took me at least six or seven years before I finally came up with the story.
2. Did you know how this Xander’s Panda Party would end before you wrote it? Or did you consider any alternate ending?
I knew that I wanted the story to be cumulative, but I wasn't sure how it would end. The original manuscript did not include the surprise of Zhu Zi's arrival; this was my editor's suggestion. Then I learned that China always lends out pandas in pairs, so her suggestion fit perfectly.
3. Did you make suggestions to the illustrator regarding pictures or leave it up to them?
The only suggestion I made was that I wanted readers to have a visual hint about what's in that surprise box near the end. I suggested the label saying 'CHINA'. Otherwise I was absolutely thrilled to leave everything in Matt Phelan's phenomenally capable hands. I absolutely adore the artwork for this book!
4. What is your favourite picture book by another author?
I couldn't possibly pick just one! A few favourites: ZOOM, by Istvan Banyai; NOT A STICK, by Antoinette Portis; LEMONS ARE NOT RED, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; THE ARRIVAL, by Shaun Tan.
5. What is the most helpful advice about writing you have ever received?
Reading for a writer is both training and nutrition, and best of all, it doesn't feel like work--it's fun!
My review of Xander Panda’s Party
Reading Xander’s Panda party is definitely fun. The picture book about Xander Panda is an easy to read aloud story of a party that starts one way. As often happen with plans, it ends up being something quite different from the party first imagined. Throughout the story Xander has to rethink his ideas. It is a story of inclusivity. The text is simple and mostly rhyming, but includes good use of language that will introduce youngsters to some unfamiliar but musically effective words. This is a feel good story and I loved the ending.
As a person who gets annoyed when people mistakenly call koalas 'koala bears.' I was pleased to see it explained why koalas are not bears, a mistake too many people make. The book also included a wealth of information at the end of the book about pandas and other creatures. The information is from a definite evolutionary bias.
The simple but expressive ink and watercolour illustrations by Matt Phelan are a delight and add to the text. Like Linda Sue Park I loved them. This is a picture book that would easily find a home in many homes and schools.
Thanks Dale and Linda,
I really enjoyed the insights into the writing of this book, and the review.
It looks very cute - a great book for little readers:)
2013-09-25 03:01 am (UTC)
Re: Xander's Panda party
Thanks Dee. Yes, I am sure it will be very popular.
2013-09-24 11:05 pm (UTC)
Kaz Delaney says:
Looks gorgeous, Linda Sue; truly delightful. I'll be looking for it when I hit the shops.
It's exciting having a teeny one around again. Not that one needs an excuse to buy beautiful picture books, but it's nice to have one! ;-) Plus I get to introduce him to wonderful books that we can share.
Thanks you, Dale. Nice interview.
Thanks Kaz for dropping by. There's something special about picture books isn't there?