Hi Math is Everywhere readers,
Today is Global Hug Your Kids Day, and this is an extra special post because we get to do the first official Team Sanchez cover reveal with the wonderful Sarah Hovorka about her book HATTIE HATES HUGS, illustrated by the amazing Heather Brockman Lee!
So, on Global Hug Your Kids Day, make sure to show your kids how much you care while also listening to them. If they prefer not hugging, tell them it’s ok to say no to hugs. Try a high five or a smile and wave instead, and I hope you all will share how much you care about these wonderful creators and this beautiful cover reveal and DOUBLE giveaway on social media as well!
Hattie loves her family, but she hates hugs!
While at a family reunion, Hattie wants to play horseshoes with Uncle Jake and Aunt Celia, but her boisterous relatives keep hugging her. Hattie’s stomach squirms uncomfortably when she’s hugged, but dodging and hiding from the open arms isn’t working. Great-Grandma is the only relative who understands how Hattie feels. With Great-Grandma’s help, Hattie learns to use simple but clear body language with verbal reinforcement to set boundaries around her personal space and to assert her right to consent to physical touch. And she even wins a game of horseshoes!
This picture book will teach huggers and non-huggers alike the importance of respecting people’s personal boundaries and provides an example of how to advocate for yourself with confidence.
Interview and Cover Reveal
Kaitlyn: Thanks so much for joining us today, Sarah and Heather.
Sarah: Thank you for having us. I’m excited to share about this book.
Heather: Thank you so much Kaitlyn! I am thrilled to be talking with you about our book.
Kaitlyn: I’m so glad you are both so excited because I can’t contain my excitement either! Sarah, without giving the whole cover away, can you tell us your favorite part of the cover for HATTIE HATES HUGS created by Heather Brockman Lee?
Sarah: I instantly fell in love with the expression on Hattie’s face.
Kaitlyn: Instant love is the absolute best! Heather, without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about the cover?
Heather: I have been inspired by Sarah’s manuscript throughout the process, and as a person who is not always comfortable with hugs it is very easy for me to put myself in Hattie’s shoes. I wanted to try and show what an unwanted hug can feel like to a child, while still showing that the huggers are kind and well meaning.
Kaitlyn: It’s so wonderful to know you have a personal connection–I think we’ve all had our fair share of discovering what is comfortable or not, and just knowing that others have these feelings too, can really help others learn to share their feelings out loud. Now Heather is going to give a visual hint so we can start picturing what the cover might look like.
Kaitlyn: So pretty! Now, Sarah, please give us just two hints about the cover so we can try to guess what the cover looks like without giving it all away.
Hint 1: The best (or worst!) kind of dog pile
Hint 2: hills and flowers
Kaitlyn: Dog pile? Best or worst? Beautiful scene?! So intriguing! Readers, are you on the edge of your seat? I know I am!
I think it’s time, dear readers!
Are you ready?
Wait for it…
Here’s the cover of Sarah Hovorka and Heather Brockman Lee’s picture book, HATTIE HATES HUGS:
Kaitlyn: Wow! What a beautiful cover. Heather, can you share some details about this beautiful cover you created that others may not notice?
Heather: Sure thing! I painted this cover a few times, on different papers (that can make such a big difference!) and with different palettes. The first version had a much lighter, washed out background, but then we decided a more saturated surrounding would work better. I’m glad we did because I feel like the foliage emphasizes Hattie’s feeling of being squeezed. This final version is painted with gouache on hot press paper.
Kaitlyn: What an amazing painting, Heather, and I just adore the symbolism of the foliage! Now, on to, Sarah! Can you share why you like this cover so much?
Sarah: I love the soft colors and natural landscape the family is in. They all look so peaceful, except Hattie! Her stance and expression perfectly sums up the way some kids feel regarding touch. Adults, too.
Kaitlyn: Yes! I love how they all have different hug expressions–because we do all feel differently from hugs–and that Hattie’s face does such a great job conveying the main theme of this wonderful picture book! Sarah, can you share how this much-needed story came to be?
Sarah: While I experienced the push to give and receive unwanted hugs from family members as a child, it was when my first child grew out of the baby stage and started resisting hugs that I began to think of this topic. My oldest child struggles to express his emotions, and even though I’m his mother it took us a while to communicate with each other regarding his physical boundaries. I wrote this book from the perspective of a child who is not angry or fed up but who needs a clearly defined, non-confrontational way to establish boundaries with those closest to them.
Kaitlyn: It is so amazing that you’re helping start such an important conversation with so many kids and their families. Heather, can you share why you decided to illustrate this book?
Heather: I was so excited when I got the email from my agent about this book. I immediately connected with the subject, and love that we might help children learn to express their comfort level with touch, and that it is ok to speak up about it. I also adore painting a diverse range of people, and knew that would be a fun challenge as well.
Kaitlyn: It’s so wonderful that you can relate and that you’re able to bring such a wonderful and diverse group of characters to this book to help all kids see themselves in it and see that they too can start a conversation like this. What advice do you have for writers, Sarah?
Sarah: Relax! Write from a place of peace, even when you’re not writing something peaceful. Don’t be afraid to drop or put on hold projects when the words aren’t coming smoothly. They might later or for a different story.
Kaitlyn: So wise, Sarah! Time away is so important, but underscoring that with peacefulness is just brilliant. What advice can you share for illustrators, Heather?
Heather: The advice I give myself every day might help others too – never stop trying to improve your craft, but celebrate the small successes as you go. And above all – be brave.
Kaitlyn: Yes! We were just talking about being brave this weekend at our Kidlit Dance Party! And trying to improve your craft can lead to so many things you never thought of, so that is definitely sage advice. (Readers, I hope you’re seeing the pattern here: Sarah and Heather are both brilliant, and you should definitely pre-order their brilliant book right now! Links below!) Finally, if you could spend the day with your favorite author or illustrator, would you rather go outside and fly a kite or sit by a fire with tea?
Heather: Oh I would love to go outside and fly a kite, and I have so many favorites there would be a crowd!
Sarah: Fire and tea, definitely. Cozy and comfortable, just like my favorite books.
Kaitlyn: Haha, yes, Heather, I love that you’re having a party, and Sarah, cozy and comfortable is just the best! I absolutely adore that you both have your own idea of this fun because it just underscores the whole point of the book–everyone can choose their own way and that’s not only okay, it makes this world even more interesting. Thank you so much, both of you, for joining me today on the Math is Everywhere blog and for sharing your gorgeous cover with us! I can’t wait to get my copy to share with my daughter!
Author bio and social media/website links
Sarah Hovorka writes lots of stuff. Unlike Goldilocks, every genre she tries feels just right. While children’s literature is her primary focus, she can’t resist writing speculative fiction and occasionally memoir for adults. Her three sons provide her plenty of fodder for her children’s books while her reading list influences the rest.
Hattie Hates Hugs is Sarah’s first picture book set to be released by Beaming Books in April 2022. She has also published stories for adults in Etaerio Pamphlet and Kraxon magazine.
Beyond reading and writing, Sarah loves to play games, bike ride, eat chocolate, and enjoy trees…when she’s not too busy homeschooling. You can find out more about her, her books, and follow her blogs at www.SarahHovorka.com.
Connect with Sarah through social media:
Illustrator bio and social media/website links
Heather Brockman Lee is an artist with a passion for children’s illustration. Represented by Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency, and the Grand Prize 2020 RMC SCBWI Letters and Lines Portfolio Showcase winner, you can see her work in issues of Ladybug and Babybug magazines. Hattie Hates Hugs written by Sarah Hovorka (Beaming Books, April 2022) along with A Poem Grows Inside You, words by Katey Howes (Innovation Press, Autumn 2022) will be her first two picture books.
When Heather is not in her studio painting (which let’s be honest, is most of the time) she loves being outside with her wonderful family, the best dog in the world, and the bees in her garden. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where it is sunny almost all of the time.
Say hello to her on
And view more of her work at HeatherBrockmanLee.com
Giveaway! (Two Prizes!)
Heather is offering a free portfolio review to one illustrator. (They can send me a website link, or instagram if they don’t have a website, and I will send them an email with feedback and advice.)
Sarah is offering a free Single Manuscript Workshop Critique for picture book writers. Details are here.
To enter the random drawing, do any/all of the following 6 options, then come back and write all of the things you did in a blog comment. (If you forget something, feel free to reply to your first comment ;)) Each of the 6 earns you another entry!
- Share in a comment below that you added HATTIE HATES HUGS to your “Want to Read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Share in a comment below that you pre-ordered a copy of HATTIE HATES HUGS
- Share in a comment below that you retweeted my tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tagged some friends, librarians, teachers, your favorite indie bookstore, etc.
- Share in a comment below that you signed up for Sarah’s newsletter
- Share in a comment below that you followed Sarah on social media: Twitter:@HovorkaSarah, FB:@SarahHovorkaAuthor, Insta:@authorsarahhovorka
- Share in a comment below that you followed Heather on social media Twitter:@heathertbl, Instagram:@heatherbrockmanlee
Links to pre-order:
Thank you all for joining us today for our first of hopefully many Team Sanchez member cover reveals! Thank you so much for supporting wonderful creators like Sarah and Heather! And I hope you have a lovely Hug Your Kids Day, no matter how you and your kids express the hug!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez