Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Birthday + Giveaway with Author Miranda Paul

Dear Friends,

Our special guest this week is Author Miranda Paul who shares about her new picture book, Are We Pears Yet? Several years ago I met Miranda at Highlights Foundation. Like her new gem of a book, Miranda fairly sparkled with good humor and fun and intelligence. This spring I had the pleasure of hearing Miranda read the text of Are We Pears Yet? I was completely charmed and wanted to share this book and the author with all of you. Miranda is generously autographing a book for one lucky winner who leaves a comment. Just go to the bottom of the post and click on the small word, comments, and scroll until you reach the comment box. USA only.


Author Miranda Paul

Writing from the Inside Out. . .   Growing a Book By Miranda Paul

Once upon a time I wrote a script called Are We Pears Yet? It was a silly manuscript that broke all the rules of picture book writing—it featured talking inanimate objects, and was written in all dialogue. I used different colored fonts and lots of illustration notes. All of the scenes happened in the same place. It was way longer than 32 pages. One character even threatened violence on another (to chop down the other in a true sibling rivalry). It indulged my love of science and my love of theatre, as well as my love of puns and all things true to a child’s experience of waiting and enduring growing pains. I never paid much attention to word count while writing it either. In short, I loved writing it. 

But such a book, I figured, would never get published. And if it did, it would have the most simple, cartoonish art, because it was part slapstick, part comic. My agent would probably hate it.

Once upon a time, I was wrong about all of those things. You don’t have to hate the process or succumb to supposed “rules” to come out with a good book.

Agents, editors, and illustrators have visions beyond what an author’s focused mind can behold (when you work with great people). Especially if the project hasn’t gestated long enough, what others can contribute is like an organic fertilizer. In the case of Are We Pears Yet? my editor Neal Porter first responded to my “cartoonish art” idea by saying that since readers are waiting the whole book for these seeds to become pears, they should be beautiful. I had never considered this a beautiful story. But it made perfect sense—in order to satisfy the reader, the illustrations had to be “worth the wait.” My editor also picked up on the theatrical nature of the script and contracted Carin Berger to make well-designed shadow-box illustrations that actually resembled a theatre. How she managed to cut out those tiny shoes and erect the stages and light it all beautifully is a minor miracle to me! (Yes, her actual 3-D art was photographed and scanned in for your viewing amazement!)

When it came time to finish the book, my editor requested back matter. Since most of my books have back matter, and this one has a scientific tie-in to growth cycles of plants, I jumped right into work. I love back matter and usually it’s a very cut-and-dry process for me. But, alas! Their vision was now my vision and I got creative. The back matter became the “Encore” and the bibliography became the “Credits.” A good editor is more like a director.

Are We Pears Yet? has now made its debut in the world (more than three years after I drafted it) and I’m happy to say the reviews are wonderful. It’s dedicated to my high school drama club friends and the director who taught me the basics of theatre. My hope is to see classrooms acting the book out. What fun it will be to see their vision as they take ownership of the work. Children of the world: Your turn for the spotlight!

Miranda Paul is an award-winning author of eight picture books including One Plastic Bag and Water is Water, both Junior Library Guild selections. Her nonfiction guessing-game book, Whose Hands Are These? is a 2017 International Literacy Association Teacher’s Choice selection. Miranda frequently visits schools, libraries, and bookstores around the country and can’t wait to visit your neck of the woods. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her family. Learn more at www.mirandapaul.com

interior illustration
Written entirely in dialogue and staged as a play, Are We Pears Yet? is a clever and hilarious picture book that will make you look at growth cycles and fruit trees in a whole new way.

"Berger’s quirky collages are so stylish and fun, and Paul’s dialogue so friendly and funny...An inventive treatment of a tried and true topic." —Publisher's Weekly

"These pears will be fun read-aloud companions for curious eaters and budding botanists." —Kirkus Review

From the jacket flaps:


Learn more about Miranda and her fabulous books here:


Thanks so much, Miranda, for sharing about how Are We Pears Yet? became a book! And, thank you, dear reader, for your support of authors and good books! We appreciate your comments. Don’t you just love those pears? I do.

I’ll be back in a week to announce the lucky winner chosen by random.org

~Clara



18 comments:

  1. Count me in! Would love to win this for one of my grandkids. Thanks for the opportunity!

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    1. Thanks, Carol, for joining the Pears’ Party and celebrating Miranda’s new book. Your name is entered for a chance to win!

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  2. Sounds like an entertaining way to introduce an early science lesson. Kudos, Miranda, and thanks, Clara, for the great post.

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    1. It IS entertaining, Kathy, and I know you’d appreciate the plays on words. Your name is entered for a chance to win!

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  3. Thanks for sharing the story behind this new book. So fascinating to learn what went into this book to bring it to the world. Can't wait to read it and see how the vision, art, and story come together.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Hope. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree that how the vision, art, and story came together in the book will be great to see firsthand.

      Your name is entered for a chance to win.

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  4. This book looks adorable. And I loved this post, because it shares how the book we set out to write isn't always what ends up being published and that's OKAY! Because it ends up BETTER!

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    1. Thanks for joining the Pear’s Birthday party, Tracey! A-pear-rantly, it resonated with you.

      Your name is entered for a chance to win the autographed copy of, ARE WE PEARS YET?

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  5. I recently read WHOSE HANDS ARE THESE and became a Miranda Paul fan! I can't wait to read this book. It looks fun and clever.

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    1. Hi Jennifer, Happy to hear that you are a fan of Miranda Paul! Thanks for joining the Pear’s Birthday Party. Your name is entered for a chance to win, ARE WE PEARS YET?

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  6. Sounds like a delicious book! I think sometimes we should just write for the fun of it and stop worrying about following rules, following standards and writing what's hot at the moment. If it is truly a good book, it will get published (after good editing, of course)

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    1. I agree, Janet. Sometimes we should just write for the fun of it and see where it takes it.

      Thanks for joining the party! Your name is entered for a chance to win, ARE WE PEARS YET?

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  7. Wonderful post... love hearing about how books are born!

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    1. I agree, K.L. It is wonderful to hear about how books are born.

      Thanks for joining the party! Your name is entered for a chance to win, ARE WE PEARS YET?

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  8. Great interview! Loved hearing about breaking all the rules and you can never go wrong with puns!

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    1. Hi Amanda, Like you, I think, young readers always love puns.
      Thanks for joining the party! Your name is entered for a chance to win, ARE WE PEARS YET?

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  9. This looks like a really fun story! I also think sometimes the rules can constrain us too much. Thank for sharing, Clara! Miranda's books are wonderful - looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Martin, for joining the Book Birthday celebration for ARE WE PEARS YET?

      Your name is entered twice for a chance to win, since you promoted the post on twitter.

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