Hi Math is Everywhere readers,
Today we have the wonderful Jodi Moore here visiting to get us all hyped about Valentine’s day by talking about her love of writing and her super adorable board book I Love My Dragon. And she’s doing a GIVEAWAY of a SIGNED copy of it!
Kaitlyn: Thanks so much for joining us today on the Math Is Everywhere Blog.
Jodi: Thank you to the nth degree for having me!
Kaitlyn: Hahaha! I adore the math joke right off the bat, just like I adore your books! How do you create books with SO MUCH in them? Ie. your most recent board book (I Love My Dragon) isn’t just about friendship, but also family, taking care of a sibling, AND adventure.
Jodi: Aw, thanks! As authors, we’re challenged to write honestly, from our hearts, and nothing fills my heart more than family and friends – and sharing life (adventure) with those I love. But I could never do this on my own. Along with the support of (yes!) my family and friends, I have a fantastic editor, Shari Dash Greenspan (Flashlight Press) and a brilliant illustrator, Howard McWilliam, who take my original visions to heights previously unimagined! Then, we invite the readers to bring their own experiences and emotion to the mix. I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing in second person. It allows me to involve “you”, the reader.
Kaitlyn: Teamwork definitely makes the dream work, and it sounds like you have an amazing team. Every scene in your books are so spot on with the illustrations marrying the words perfectly. How did they come about? (ie did you work directly with the illustrator, did you provide directions/art notes, is your art director the bee’s knees?)
Jodi: Sometimes an author lucks out with both an editor and an illustrator who are both the “bee’s knees”, lol. *shouts out more love to Shari & Howard* Here’s the thing: in a picture book, the author only tells 50% of the story. The illustrator MUST be given the artistic license to tell the other half. The interesting thing about this is that in the first book, When A Dragon Moves In, I wanted my readers to decide whether or not the dragon is real or a figment of the boy’s imagination. Shari and I corresponded back and forth for a YEAR on whether it was possible to draw a character that may or may not be there. Thankfully, she decided to take that chance and Howard knew exactly how to make it happen. Editors and illustrators are magical creatures. 🙂
Kaitlyn: Magical indeed! In your newest book, I Love My Dragon, I think it’s absolutely brilliant that you bring in parts from the other books in the series, was that your intention from the start or did it just come about organically?
Jodi: Thanks again. Although parents do purchase both picture books, When A Dragon Moves In and When A Dragon Moves In Again, for their toddlers, I learned the books are kept “on the shelf” for special reading times, for fear the copies will be destroyed by tiny fingers and teeth. A board book seemed like a great option. When I noticed the youngest were particularly drawn to the illustrations of the baby in the second book, I shared that with Shari. It was her idea to mirror and celebrate the first two books in the board book.
I’ve been told it’s a rather “tasty” version. 😉
Kaitlyn: It is scrumptious! And I just keep seeing what an amazing team you all are. You recently wrote a beautiful post about another important member of your team, your dad–I’m so sorry for your loss; he sounds wonderful–can you share with us how he, and any of your family, are a part of your writing journey? (https://kidsinspiringnewdirections.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/confessions-of-a-flop-timist/)
Jodi: Aw, thank you. *hugs* He was wonderful indeed. In fact, the dedication on I Love My Dragon is:
For Mom who placed that first book in my hand, and for Dad who helped
turn the page.
This dedication admittedly has a few different layers. My mom did put that first book in my hands – and so many more after! But she suffered from mental illness. It was my dad who helped our family through some very dark times. I only wish he’d been able to see the dedication. It was going to be a surprise. Please take a moment to hug your loved ones, or if they’re not nearby, call and tell them how much they mean to you. Life is unpredictable.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Great. Now, don’t you feel better?
I’ve also got to send out HUGE hugs, love & gratitude to my husband and our two sons, who support, encourage, and inspire me, while celebrating my “blisses” and hugging away my “misses”. I had actually started submitting picture book manuscripts when the boys were toddlers, but the rejections got the best of me. It’s worth noting here that both young men are creative and chose career paths that are also replete with rejection. We’d tell them, “If it was easy, everyone would do it!” We’d tell them to believe in themselves. We’d always have hugs and chocolate on hand.
When they left for college, Empty Nest hit hard. “It’s time to do what you were meant to do now,” my husband said. “Write those stories.” I sighed. “It’s too hard.” Both boys looked at me, their eyes wide and yes, accusing. “Wait…what? Have you been lying to us all these years?”
Don’t you love it when your kids reverse roles on you?
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t send out more love, hugs and thanks to all my other family members, friends and colleagues in the kidlit world who help me tell my stories. This includes critique partners, other authors, illustrators, organizations such as SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge (to name but a few), librarians, booksellers, teachers, parents, grandparents (and other grownups in kids’ lives), bloggers and of course, readers. It definitely takes a village and I’m glad we’re all in this together.
Kaitlyn: I totally agree; it definitely takes a village, can you share some advice with authors about their road to publication?
Jodi: The road to publication is filled with rejection. Don’t listen to the “no”-it-alls. Keep going! If it was easy, everyone would do it! There’s a story missing in this world…and it’s YOURS.
Kaitlyn: Ha, what a brilliant play on words! Finally, if you could spend the day with your favorite author, would you rather go outside and fly a kite or sit by a fire with tea?
Jodi: What a fantastic question! My immediate answer was the fireside chat – I’d have so much to ask! But after I pondered it a bit, I thought, hmmm…we write for children. What better way to spend a day with my favorite author than to celebrate life like a child? To dig our toes in the sand (yes, this would be a beach trip!), splash in the waves and find creatures in the clouds, all while flying that beautiful dragon-shaped kite.
Kaitlyn: YES! My thoughts exactly! Thanks so much for joining us today!
Jodi: Thank YOU for allowing me to share my book love with your readers, Kaitlyn! And thanks for your sweet review of our newest baby. *adds tons of dragony love & hugs* Happy Valentine’s all!
Kaitlyn’s Review of I Love My Dragon
This board book is fun, entertaining, and sweet all wrapped into one! Amidst the oh-so-entertaining dragon adventures, there’s comedy for adults, too. Also, You can’t get a better story that hits on everything you’d love your child to know about growing up from friendship to caring for siblings. Another super cool feature of this book is that if your kids already love When a Dragon Moves In and When a Dragon Moves in Again, they will LOVE sharing this board book with a younger sibling and laughing at the references to the books they already know and love.
Find Jodi on the web:
Do you want your own SIGNED copy of I Love my Dragon? Are you in the U.S.?
Then, enter the giveaway!
You have three ways to enter:
- Comment on this post
- Share in the comments below that you did a purchase request for I Love my Dragon (or any Jodi’s books) at your library
- Retweet my tweet about this blog post on Twitter
To purchase a copy of I Love My Dragon, go to Flashlight Press’s website: here.
I hope this got you all lovey-dovey excited for Valentine’s day, and don’t forget about Susanna Hill’s Valentiny Contest!
And I hope you’re getting all revved up for the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest!! If you’re an author-illustrator we have a special category just for you this year, and some AMAZING prizes, which will be revealed soon. Check out more about the new category here and about the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest here.
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez