Happy Tuesday and welcome to Picture Book Spotlight!
It's been a minute, friends. About that...life has been fairly crazy at the Gehrlein casa. I'm currently balancing teaching and working to finish my final class in grad school (Masters in Education with an emphasis in Reading), and Katherine and I welcome our second baby boy in just under 3 weeks. BAH! Send positive vibes our way so we transition well into this next chapter of our lives.
Today, I am super excited to share our first-ever picture book COVER REVEAL! This is a special moment for a debut author and I am honored to host. It's so fun to be able to create space for another author since I feel like I'm still basking in the after-glow of my own cover reveal with Tara Lazar—such a surreal moment!
Kate's debut, Pando: A Living Wonder of Trees, is a book I'm proud to recommend you add to your want-to-read list. I had a strong connection to both the story and the breathtaking art by Turine Tran when I got a little sneak peek. As a young teen growing up, I spent a good chunk of time in Utah (proud Army brat) and have vivid memories of all the beauty that state has to offer. Aspen trees will always be part of that nostalgia for me. If you genuinely enjoy the outdoors and haven't had a chance to spend time there, I highly encourage a visit. It sounds odd to have a favorite tree...but I would argue aspens are probably up there in my top five. At any rate, while reading Kate's story I actually learned a ton about this unique species and was struck by her poignant and poetic writing style. It's one of those books where you're learning but don't realize it's happening. Pure magic.
Trees are awesome. Superorganisms are awesome. We are Pando...and we are awesome.
Kate Allen Fox is part of the debut picture book group, Picture Book Scribblers—check out this awesome crew and their upcoming work! Finally, as a way to celebrate this moment, Kate has graciously offered to donate a hefty giveaway to one lucky winner. Read to the end of the post to see what she's giving!
Alright, kidlit fam. It's time for a cover reveal...let's show some book (and tree) love to Kate!
I was driving home from a hike with my sons when I suddenly remembered something about a grove of trees connected by their roots. I wasn’t sure where I had heard about it, but I had to learn more. When I got home, I googled and discovered Pando—a grove of Aspen trees in Utah that are connected by their roots to form one of the world’s oldest and largest living things.
The more I learned about Pando, the more fascinated I became. It was ancient, giant, and endangered. I read, and I wrote. I wrote, and I read. I got critiques, and I wrote and read some more. As I read, the same name kept seeing popping up in interviews—Dr. Paul Rogers, a leading expert on Aspen conservation and Pando. I gathered my courage and emailed Paul to ask for an interview. He immediately responded that he would be thrilled to help and that he loved picture books because his daughter was a children’s librarian (just one of many wonderful coincidences on this book’s journey)!
After I talked with Paul and revised again, I began submitting the book to agents. Not long after, I heard from Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary that she liked the manuscript, but felt it needed some changes. I revised, resubmitted, and hoped. She replied with some more feedback. I revised, resubmitted, and hoped some more. Then, I got my first YES! Mary wanted to represent the book.
We went on sub and after five more months of waiting and hoping, we got an offer from Capstone. It took a few more months to get the contract, and the book will come out about 2.5 years after I started writing it.
And now the big reveal...without further ado...PANDO!
Turine Tran, who illustrated Pando, is unbelievably talented. The first time my editor shared her sketches with me, I was completely blown away. Her art is not only flawless and technically accurate but filled with light and magic. She perfectly captures the awe of being in nature, of being in the presence of ancient, precious, and irreplaceable beings.
Other than shouting “I HAVE A BOOK OUT” to every passerby?! I’ll be hosting a launch event (date TBD) through Diesel, A Bookstore--Del Mar.
You can help celebrate by preordering a copy of the book, supporting the great work of Western Aspen Alliance to save Pando and other Aspens, and getting out into nature!
Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for choosing Picture Book Spotlight to host the cover reveal. 🤓 I'm so excited for you, Kate!
And thank YOU for stopping by, kidlit fam! To help celebrate Kate's book, she will be doing a giveaway with this post. See details below for how you can enter to receive a PB manuscript AND query critique by Kate!
Say what!? 🤩
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
✅ Retweet this post on Twitter
✅ Follow Kate on Twitter
✅ Subscribe to Picture Book Spotlight
✅ Share our Facebook post
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***The deadline for this contest is Tuesday, April 13th at 9AM CST
The winner will be contacted on Tuesday, April 13th and announced on Twitter and Facebook***
Kate Allen Fox is a children’s author from the San Diego area. After a career as a public health professional, she combined her passions for research and writing and began writing picture books about science and nature. Her debut picture book, Pando: A Living Wonder of Trees, will be published by Capstone in 2021. Her writing has appeared in several publications, including The New York Times.
Brian Gehrlein is a mad scientist, sometimes children's author, and creator of Picture Book Spotlight. When he isn't hatching dangerous creatures from glowing, artificial eggs or unleashing the wrath of his preposterous creations upon an unsuspecting world (all before lunch, he might add), you can find him sipping coffee, penning a rhyme two. Sometimes three but certainly never four. He would never pen four rhymes. That's just...one too many rhymes. And who has time to write four rhymes for children when there are laser leviathans to release into heavily populated urban centers? Definitely not Brian. He has zero time. He's just too busy wreaking havoc on humanity and redefining the often blurry lines between science and science fiction. On Tuesdays, he jogs. Wednesdays are for baking. Thursdays are devoted to botany. He will not tell you what he does with the rest of his week. Do not ask what Brian does with the remaining days of the week. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. On an inconsequential note, his debut book about a child-eating monster named Dennis comes out in just over 6 months...it's called THE BOOK OF RULES 😈 preorder at your peril. For reals though, if Brian gets even ONE TWEET ABOUT THE AFOREMENTIONED MISSING DAYS OF THE WEEK, HE IS GOING TO JUST...give you a double entry on the giveaway raffle... #plottwist.