Hi Math is Everywhere Readers,
Today is full of fun, hope, and inspiration as we get to chat with my friend, and wonderful author, Charlotte Offsay about her new picture book The Big Beach Cleanup, illustrated by Katie Rewse.
Head shot Photo by Natalia L Photography
Cora is excited to enter the local sandcastle-building contest―until the contest is canceled due to litter at the beach. Determined to help save their favorite place, Cora and Mama get to work picking up the single-use plastics that have washed onto the shore. It will take more than four hands to clean up the beach, but Cora is just getting started.
Kaitlyn: Hi Charlotte, thanks so much for being here today!
Charlotte: Hi Kaitlyn, thank you so much for having me and for featuring The Big Beach Cleanup today! It is a treat to be interviewed by such a kind and generous friend and member of the kidlit community!
Kaitlyn: You are too sweet, thanks again for being here. To start us off, can you share how you came up with the idea for this book?
Charlotte: The heart of The Big Beach Cleanup stemmed from a desire to write a story that empowered children to be the change they want to see in the world and to know that they don’t have to be superheroes to take action and make a difference. It took me a while to find the right way into this story but one morning while walking my children to school I stopped to pick up a piece of trash and toss it in a nearby trash can. My simple action sparked endless questions and big conversations around where trash goes when it is dropped on the street and the impact litter has on our beloved beaches, animals and planet. We spoke at length about the importance of doing our part and inspiring others around us to do the same. That day I went home and wrote the first draft of what would eventually become The Big Beach Cleanup!
Kaitlyn: Wow, I love that so much. We talk a lot about being the change you want to see, and this book will definitely spark that for many many kids, I believe! Can you share why you think this book is so important to share with our little ones?
Charlotte: I believe that it’s important to empower our children with the knowledge that they are never too small to make a difference and they have the power to join hands with those around them to make it happen. It is my hope that The Big Beach Cleanup inspires readers to join hands with Cora and help make the changes our oceans and planet so desperately need. I also hope that readers are inspired to think about the changes they want to see in the world, to know that they can make a difference, and are encouraged to join together with those around them to create those changes.
Kaitlyn: Yes yes yes! Working together is so important in the world, especially in publishing. Can you share who helped you bring this book into the world? Who was the editor you worked with and why did you enjoyed working with this editor?
Charlotte: I was fortunate to get to work with Christina Pulles at Albert Whitman. Christina connected with my vision for The Big Beach Cleanup from the beginning. Her comments were kind, thoughtful and essential in making the story what it is today. Christina encouraged me to create more conflict for Cora in her attempts to gather the community to help her and to see the importance of an ending that went beyond the sandcastle competition. She also selected the perfect illustrator for our book, the talented Katie Rewse who is an ocean advocate herself!
Kaitlyn: That’s the best when you find the perfect person to help! (And note to self, readers, more conflict, always!) You have another wonderful partner who helps you get your books into the world. Can you share who your agent is and why you enjoy working with this agent?
Charlotte: I am represented by Nicole Geiger of Full Circle Literary. Nicole is a dream agent. She is communicative, kind and a true teammate. She pushes me to write beyond where I think I can go, she involves and walks me through every step of the submission/publication process, she takes the time to entertain and think out all of my ideas and is thoughtful about my career as a whole. As a former editor herself she also provides invaluable advice well beyond just the book contract!
Kaitlyn: It sounds like you found the best partner! Can we dive a bit into marketing? This book is all about beaches; did the marketing plan change because of COVID? If so, can you share how?
Charlotte: COVID has certainly forced authors to walk a different path in the world of book marketing! Fortunately though, I have been able to do a lot of marketing for The Big Beach Cleanup virtually. From blog tours, to a virtual book launch with my favorite local independent bookstore, Children’s Book World LA, to author panels with NJSAL and UCLA Extension, to virtual school visits there has been a lot to do from the comfort of my own home. That said, I look forward to being back with kids in person and hopefully organizing some in person clean up events with my favorite local ocean advocacy non-profit, Heal the Bay.
Kaitlyn: I can’t wait to hear all about those clean ups and get involved in my community, as well. I’m so glad you’ve been able to continue marketing virtually, too. Can you offer some advice for up-and-coming authors?
Charlotte: I believe that the best work comes from the heart and writing about what you care most about in the world. My advice is to write about what you are passionate about, write the books you want to see in the world and surround yourself with a strong support system – publishing can be a rollercoaster!
Kaitlyn: So very true! Can you each share a bit about your next book(s) and/or projects you’re working on now?
Charlotte: I have two other upcoming picture books. How to Return a Monster is being illustrated by Rea Zhai and is coming out this September from Beaming Books. How to Return a Monster is a story about a child’s attempts to reverse course when a new baby joins the family. A Grandma’s Magic is a picture book celebration of grandmothers and all the ways in which they are “magical.” It is being illustrated by Asa Gilland and published with Doubleday Books for Young Readers in Spring 2022.
Kaitlyn: Oh, those sounds wonderful; I can’t wait to hear more about them soon! Finally, if you could spend a day with your favorite author or illustrator, would you sit by a fireside and chat or go out on an adventure together?
Charlotte: What a fun question! I am a big Julia Donaldson fan and would love to spend the day going on a long walk with her and sitting outside for a picnic while soaking up all her author wisdom/magic!
Kaitlyn: That sounds amazing! Count me in! Thanks so much again for joining us and sharing such wonderful insight today!
Links to buy The Big Beach Cleanup
CHARLOTTE OFFSAY was born in England, grew up in Boston, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two small children. Through her work, Charlotte hopes to make children laugh, to inspire curiosity, and to create a magical world her readers can lose themselves in time and time again.
Charlotte’s debut picture book, The Big Beach Cleanup, illustrated by Kate Rewse will be published by Albert Whitman in Spring 2021, followed by How to Return a Monster, illustrated by Rea Zhai releasing Fall 2021 with Beaming Books. A Grandma’s Magic, illustrated by Asa Gilland will be published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers in Spring 2022.
Learn more about Charlotte’s work at charlotteoffsay.com and follow her on Twitter at @COffsay and on Instagram at @picturebookrecommendations. Charlotte is represented by Nicole Geiger at Full Circle Literary.
Kaitlyn review of the book
Would YOU like to win a SIGNED copy of The Big Beach Cleanup (US only)?
Here are all the ways to get into the giveaway (each one is an extra entry):
- Comment on this post
- Share in the comments below that you added The Big Beach Cleanup to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Share in the comments that you ordered a copy of The Big Beach Cleanup
- Share in the comments that you did a purchase request for The Big Beach Cleanup at your library
- If you’ve read the book, share that you’ve left a critique on Amazon or Goodreads.
- Quote retweet my tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tag three friends.
Thank you all for reading and supporting such a wonderful creator!