New Year gratitude + hopes and dreams

I think all of us authors are always concerned about how our books will be received, but I had special nervousness for Queen of Physics because I was representing Chinese-Americans and also scientists with this book and I wanted people to be receptive.

Aside from a couple of blah to lukewarm reviews, the book received some lovely accolades:

NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book
Booklist starred review
Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Books for Youth: 2019
Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books of 2019
SLJ Betsy Bird’s 2019 Unique Biographies list
Nerdy Book Club 2019 Nerdies Award: Nonfiction Picture Books list

I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! to all those who actually get it and appreciated the difficulty of writing this book.

And my hopes and dreams for 2020? Good health and sanity is at the top of my wishlist, of course, but for writing, I hope that my next picture book, Two Bicycles in Beijing, will be at least as well received as my first. I also hope that my agent will be able to sell my middle grades (one nonfiction and one fiction) for me this coming year. But even more, I hope that she can sell my #OwnVoices picture book story that has been haunting me (in a good way) for a while now. I think about it a lot even when I’m not actively working on it.

What about the dreams? Well, selling any or all of those at auction would be the dream!

What about you? What are you grateful for in 2019 and what are your goals/dreams for 2020? Happy New Year and may your dreams come true!

Author copies!!

Apologies to those who follow my Facebook author page because I’d already shared there but on Tuesday when I came home, I discovered that my author’s copies from Sterling Publishing had arrived! This is one of the milestones in the birth of a book and is as exciting as when your baby rolls over or goes to the potty on its own for the first time…but even better because you won’t have to stay up late at night worrying who your book is out partying with or if it’ll need a ride home. Heh.

I’m so flaky, I’d be a good pie crust


I thought I had set up a few blog posts in advance for all of August. As it turns out, I had set up only one (but it was the one about food in Vancouver, and as everyone knows, one food post is worth 10 posts on other things).

For today, I will share some great news…news that was announced while I was in L.A. for the large annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference.

Just thinking about this book makes me smile, and I hope that readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Junyi Wu’s art is lovely and lively and perfect suits the text. I’m so happy with it and with working with editor Christina Pulles again!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

More homework goodies

Lesson 5 of Children’s Book Illustration: Thinking In Pictures is kicking my butt, but I loooved one of the exercises which I’ll share a panel of here. We were assigned a picture book each and had to do a storyboard/thumbnails of the book, copying, in a much simplified form, the entire story. This is to help us see how a professional artist handles the artwork and to understand the flow of a story through its illustrations.

I was given The Iridescence of Birds (illus: Hadley Hooper). I loved that book before, but having to copy art gave me an even greater appreciation of the book. I also realized that I am incapable of drawing stick figures or “simplified” anymore. Featureless faces is as simple as I can get myself to do now.


“Roughing” it

I’d worked on a story for a couple of years that my former agent loved and that got complimentary rejections and even a Revise & Resubmit from publishers. Well, it was doomed to die a sad and unheroic death when the agent abruptly quit the business. But it is such a fun story that my online critique group, the fabulous Penguins, insisted I completely revamp it and start submitting it again.

So I did. And I’m now working on a new dummy for it. These are the character roughs that I sketched while Son2 and I were watching the thermodynamics lecture today.