Dear Math is Everywhere Readers,
I’m absolutely honored to be able to reveal the cover of Team Sanchez member, Monica Acker’s beautiful book of her heart: BRAVE LIKE MOM, illustrated by the talented Paran Kim. I hope you enjoy this reveal and book as much as I do!
About BRAVE LIKE MOM from Beaming Books:
As one girl watches her mom battle illness, she sees Mom being strong, brave, and fierce on both good days and bad ones. Mom is fierce as she catches and wrestles a fish and brave as she endures needles from the doctor. The girl wants to be brave like Mom! As she worries about her mom’s health, the girl realizes that bravery comes in many forms and that she can be brave too.
A poignant and sensitive story about a loved one living with a chronic illness, and an important lesson about how being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared.
Kaitlyn: Thanks so much for joining us today, Monica and Paran!
Monica: Thanks so much for hosting!
Paran: Thank you so much for having us today! I’m excited to talk with you.
Kaitlyn: It’s my pleasure. Thank you both for joining me, and I’m so excited to dive in. Let’s start with Monica: without giving the whole cover away, can you tell us your favorite parts of the cover for your debut book BRAVE LIKE MOM?
Monica: When I saw the sketch, I immediately fell in love with the emotion Paran captured. But the final cover is all of that and more! The colors are soft and tender and the mother and daughter have such a clear bond. I must say, my new favorite thing is the little stuffed animal that wasn’t in the sketch. It is such a beautiful, subtle piece of symbolism that I adore!
Kaitlyn: Oh, it sounds so amazing! Can’t wait to see it, but first, let’s get some info from Paran. Without giving too much away, can you tell us and/or show us a bit about how this cover came to be so we can start picturing what it might look like?
Paran: Sure! Here are some rough sketches, which I’ve never shown to anyone before. I started with a lot of drawings of a daughter and a mother and these belong to some of the relatively “clean” rough sketches. However, the final version has a different composition and pose to those drawings.
Kaitlyn: Wow! Even your sketches are stunning. We’ve got to see this cover, but let’s have Monica give us just one more hint about the cover so we can try to guess what it will look like, and maybe a hint about color so we can start trying to picture it.
Monica: Hmmm. One more hint… The moment captured is almost not for us. It is for Mom and daughter. We are privileged to witness. Less abstract clue - pale green.
Kaitlyn: Oh, the intrigue! Readers, are you on the edge of your seat? Are you ready to see this beautiful cover for BRAVE LIKE MOM? I know I am!
On your marks…
Wait for it…
Here’s the cover of Monica Acker and Paran Kim’s picture book, BRAVE LIKE MOM:
Kaitlyn: Wow! What a gorgeous cover. Paran, can you share some details about this beautiful cover you created that others may not notice?
Paran: Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that! At the early stage of the process, I imagined they are sitting in a hospital room, so I did not include many objects in the image. But luckily, my editor - Andrea Hall- gave me some fabulous suggestions so we changed it into a scene with a cozy and homey atmosphere. We put a stuffed lion on the bed and added a pattern to the coverlet. Andrea and I love the lion so much that we decided to make it appear throughout the book. I’m so happy to hear that Monica also likes our little lion!
Monica: Whoa! I love that I just learned something new about the interior illustrations, and it's amazing! I might have to get a little stuffed lion for myself now.
Kaitlyn: This is all so wonderful; I love it so much! Now, Monica, can you share why you adore this cover so much?
Monica: Illustrators are amazing. Paran is amazing! She took the story, bottled the emotion, and laid it all out in a cover image.
Kaitlyn: Yes! Monica, you said it perfectly. Speaking of taking the story and bottling its emotion, can you share how this wonderful story came to be?
Monica: This story wasn’t originally written to share. I wrote it while my sister-in-law was going through the ups and downs of chemotherapy and she was just so tough! Her strength inspired me, so I wrote this for her and my nieces. In just a few moments the first draft of this story poured out of me and into the notes app on my phone. I sent it over text and that’s where the story ended. It sat on my phone in my notes app for over a year. Then treatments stopped working and this story became for me. Toying with it, tweaking it, helped me find my strength as I worked through grief. During the revision process, I was also able to pull from memories when I was a kid and my mom was sick (Dear readers, she is totally ok now). Now this story is for everyone who needs a reminder of how brave and strong they are, especially when faced with a parent with a serious illness.
Kaitlyn: Oh, Monica, I’m tearing up reading this response, just like I tear up every time I read your book. Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories with the world, and I’m so glad your mom is okay now; it’s so hard to see a parent struggling, which is why this book is so important. Now, Paran, can you share why you decided to illustrate this book when asked?
Paran: I have loved this story ever since I read the manuscript for the first time. Since the story takes place in various situations with different emotional challenges, I knew it would be a fun process to illustrate it. Soon after reading it, I was immediately able to imagine colorful scenes with a tender atmosphere and soft light. I’m currently working on the final revisions of the sketches and enjoying the process very much. I can’t wait to share it with you in the near future!
Kaitlyn: That’s just the best, the tender atmosphere and soft light is exactly what this book needs and based on this beautiful cover, we know you’ll do a splendid job. We can’t wait to see the whole book, which will be coming out this November, too! Readers, I hope you all can pre-order it! Now, Monica, can you share some advice for writers?
Monica: It’s important to know the market, but it’s just as important to write for you; follow your heart.
Kaitlyn: Yes! So well.sid Monica, the market helps you learn, but your heart drives your writing. Don’t lose that because you’ll find the right editor for your story. And now that everyone has seen your stunning work, Paran, can you share advice for illustrators, too?
Paran: It’s better to focus on what you’d love to do and the people who like your art, than getting distracted by skeptical people Don’t let harsh critiques discourage you, if you ever encounter one. It’s totally fine that some people have different points of view, but it is more constructive to focus on your strengths than weaknesses.
Kaitlyn: Another perfect answer! This is a very subjective business, and it’s so important to remember that and focus on the positives. Monica and Paran, final question, 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?
Monica: I’m writing this while drinking tea by the fire, lol. Tea and fire for sure.
Paran: Having a cup of tea by a fire sounds nice and cozy, especially with a good friend! We could chat and sketch together for a whole day! Just thinking about it makes me already happy.
Kaitlyn: That makes me happy, too, I’d love to join you all cozied up by a fire reading this beautiful, inspiring book, BRAVE LIKE MOM. I can’t wait for everyone in the world to hold your brilliant book in their hands, and 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!
And check out your local indie, too! If they don’t have it, we’d be delighted for you to request they carry it!
Author bio and social media/website links
Monica Acker is a writer and educator. She holds a BA in creative arts and a MAT degree in childhood education. Monica is a member of SCBWI, the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, and Children’s Book Insider. She lives in Reading, Massachusetts, with her family.
Illustrator bio and social media/website links
Paran Kim grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Tokyo when she was 20 to study fine art. She has traveled a lot and had various jobs including being an art teacher for children and a career at a nursing home.
However she realized her true passion lay in making picture books and became a full-time illustrator. She now lives in Dresden, Germany with her husband. When she is not drawing, she also loves singing and playing the guitar.
Giveaway! Critique and Book!
There will be two winners!
Monica is offering a picture book critique with a ten minute Zoom chat to discuss the critique or anything else writing related.
Paran is offering a giveaway of BRAVE LIKE MOM for US, UK, and EU countries only.
There are 4 ways to enter the random drawing (each one counts as an extra entry). Do the following and come back and leave a comment with the number of entries you received and which of them you did. In your comment, please indicate which prize you prefer.
Share in a comment below that you
- Added BRAVE LIKE MOM to your “Want to Read” list on Goodreads and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Pre-ordered a copy of BRAVE LIKE MOM:
- Did a retweet or quote retweet or retweet about this blog post on Twitter and tagged a friend, a librarian, a teacher, and/or your favorite indie bookstore.
- Followed Monica, Paran, and Beaming Books on social media
Thank you all for supporting such wonderful creators. I hope you get to pre-order this book and share it’s specialness with all your loves ones!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez