Hi Math is Everywhere Readers,
The holidays are upon us! Tis the season to talk to our friend Dawn Young about her Christmas book with illustrator Pablo Pino, The Night Baafore Christmas (to check out Dawn’s math picture book interview, go here).
Kaitlyn: Hi, Dawn, thanks so much for joining us on the math is everywhere blog!
Dawn: Hi Kaitlyn. Thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be back. I really appreciate this opportunity!
Kaitlyn: Thank YOU for coming back; it’s always a pleasure to chat books and publishing with you. First of all, what inspired this book?
Dawn: The idea for The Night Baafore Christmas began a long time ago, when one of my daughters was having trouble falling asleep because she kept worrying about bad things after seeing the movie Barnyard, in particular, the coyotes. This went on for weeks. Night after night I’d tell her to think good thoughts and imagine herself at fun, happy places like the circus or the zoo. Then, the thought of kids struggling to fall asleep sparked a story, so I wrote about a child who couldn’t fall asleep imagining him/herself going to these same fun places. But the story needed more than that, so I then had the child start out attempting to count sheep to fall asleep, and soon, those mischievous sheep were tagging along on the fun adventures.
At that point, the story was more scattered than Bo’s sheep after they spot the Christmas goodies, and I had to pare it down. I chose to keep the sheep, and had excitement over an upcoming event, like the eve of a birthday or a holiday, be the reason the child couldn’t fall asleep instead. I played around with both a birthday and a holiday, but found myself heading down the birthday path. Then, after seeing the holiday mishap contest on Susanna’s blog, I shifted to Christmas, and wrote a draft of what is now The Night Baafore Christmas.
From there, the story went through many, many, many revisions. I had so much fun revising this story. The sheep came to life in my mind. They were like children on Christmas morning, filled with excitement and wonder, minus the mess (or maybe not). My kids, now teens, were very young then. Looking back, I see that the sheep symbolized the life I was living at the time – crazy and full of good spirited chaos!
Kaitlyn: I love how AFTER we write, we find the true significance of why we had to write it at that time. Now, I have to know, were you aware that publishers might be interested in holiday books before you wrote the book?
Dawn: I did not. I started writing this story early on in my writing career, before I ever even thought about submissions and editor wish lists. Then when it came time to submit, I did my research and found that holiday stories were not highly sought after.
Kaitlyn: That’s true, holiday stories are widely sought after, but there are some imprints who are are ALWAYS looking for great holiday books, and it looks like you found one! Why do you think there was a place in the market for this book?
Dawn: Holidays are full of traditions and reading is one of them. Since The Night Baafore Christmas is about the excitement of a holiday, I thought reading about that excitement we experience would resonate with kids.
Kaitlyn: Excitement is definitely always something kids love! Can you share a bit about your experience working with your editors?
Dawn: I feel very fortunate. My editor is amazing. She’s so supportive. I had a few minor revisions to do on the story and they went smoothly. My editor shared the illustrations early on and gave me the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and offer suggestions. Since Pablo is amazingly talented, I had very little to offer – just a lot of wow, wow, wow’s because his work was beyond anything I could have hoped for. The Night Baafore Christmas couldn’t have been in better hands!
Kaitlyn: That sounds like the best experience with both the editor and illustrator you were lucky enough to be paired with. Can you share some advice for authors considering writing holiday books?
Dawn: If you feel you have a unique spin or angle on a holiday story or a then go for it but prepare yourself for fewer submission opportunities than are available for non-holiday stories. The hardest part about holiday stories is that they’re only out for a short time each year. When Christmas is over, I have a hard time saying goodbye to Bo and the sheep.
Kailtyn: Great advice! It definitely needs a unique spin and there are less opportunities, but as you’ve shown, if you find the write place, it can be absolutely wonderful! Can you share a favorite story from a holiday or dealing with trying to get kids to sleep with us?
Dawn: We have three kids and for the most part, they were good sleepers but one of our daughters had quite the imagination (the coyote fearing one), and at night her imagination seemed to go into overdrive. Luckily, for us, the girls are twins and they share a room so having each other made getting them to sleep a little easier. But…on the flip side, having each other meant more fun and games too. One night, while they were still very young (three years old), they had just moved into their big girl beds. It was pretty late, and the baby monitor (yes I still had a monitor in their room) was making a funny noise. I went in their room to see what the strange sound was and found the girls in their closet. They had shut off the monitor receiver so we wouldn’t hear them playing in the closet. What three year olds think to do that?
Kaitlyn: Ha, sounds like your kids not only got your creativity with their wonderful imagination but also your great intelligence–three and already pulling off that kind of trickery! (By the way, our daughter is four and baby monitor is still up–and useful, might I add ;)). Can you share with us what you’re working on now or what’s coming up next for you?
Dawn: The Night Baafore Easter releases Jan 2021, The Night Baafore the First Day of School releases June 2021 and a new Christmas book (title TBA) releases Fall 2021. I have a few other stories on submission, one being a STEM story.
Kaitlyn: That’s AMAZING, and a great way to make the short holiday story last longer–make it into a series! Can’t wait to read these fun stories as well! Thank you so much for sharing and for joining us today.
Dawn:Thank you Kaitlyn and I wholeheartedly agree – math is everywhere. And thank you for all you do for the kidlit community! Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays!
THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS
Published by WorthyKids Hachette Book Group
It’s Christmas Eve and Bo can’t sleep, so he starts counting sheep.
But when the sheep get a glimpse of the Christmas goodies, they scatter, wreaking holiday mayhem all over the house. “Sheep 4 gnaws the stockings–leaves holes in the toes; 5 swallows some garland, and ribbon, and bows!” With a house full of sheep and a mess to clean, will Bo get to sleep before Santa comes? Find out in this hilarious story of a night before Christmas gone baa-dly wrong.
Author and Illustrator Bio
Dawn graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later with an MBA. For years, Dawn worked as an engineer and, later, as a manager at a large aerospace company, until her creative side called her to pursue her dream of writing children’s books. After reading and writing hundreds of corporate documents, none of which were titled The Little Engineer Who Could or Don’t Let the Pigeon Fly the Airbus, Dawn is thrilled to now be reading and writing picture books instead.
Dawn is also a math enthusiast. When she’s not busy writing and reading, she can be found doing math problems, sometimes just because… In high school, Dawn’s dream was to have a math equation named after her, but now, she believes having her name on the cover of books is a million times better! Dawn lives with her husband, three children and golden retriever in sunny Arizona. Some of her best memories include reading to her kids while they were plopped in her lap, all giggling at silly, clever picture books. Dawn is an active member of SCBWI and many other children’s writing groups.
Pablo Pino was born in August 1981 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He grew up watching cartoons, playing football and drawing a lot. These days, he doesn’t watch as much TV and only plays football once a week, but still has the joy of painting every day. Why? Because, for the last 10 years, he‘s been working as a professional illustrator for different print media. What he enjoys the most is illustrating books for children and teenagers. Besides the 40 published books Pablo’s illustrated, among novels and tales he also do characters designs, board games and collaborate on designs for school books and magazines with various worldwide publishing companies. Pablo is self-taught and his illustrations are mostly computer drawn, but he always adds textures that he makes with pencils, crayons, acrylics and pretty much any material that lets him get messy like when he was a child.
Kaitlyn’s Review of The Night Baafore Christmas
If you need a way to get your kids to sleep on the night before Christmas, this book is definitely the one for you! A fun story about how to deal with chaos when the sheep that are supposed to help you get to sleep, cause havoc instead. This will have kids laughing until they’re so tired, they’re ready for bed, too!
Want to win your own copy of The Night Baafore Christmas? (contiguous US only please)
You can enter in the follow ways (each earns you another entry into the random drawing)
- Comment on this post
- Share in the comments below that you added The Night Baafore Christmas to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Share in the comments that you ordered a copy of The Night Baafore Christmas
- Share in the comments that you did a purchase request for The Night Baafore Christmas at your library
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Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
PS. Next week we’ll resume the Fall Writing Frenzy Winner Analysis, thank you all so much for understanding that I didn’t have time to get it up this week and for always taking the time to learn and grow with me! I hope you all have wonderful holidays.
PPS. The blog interviews will be on hiatus until the first week of January, enjoy catching up on any blog interviews you missed and happy reading and writing over the holidays! Personally, I’m excited to finish The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez!