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|
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
"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:
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