Monday, March 21, 2011
Introducing Space Neighbors — My New Picture Book Series!
It is Nonfiction Monday in the KidLitosphere, and I am thrilled to announce that my latest picture book series has officially launched! It's called Space Neighbors, and its 10 nonfiction titles about the solar system were a joy to work on.
The 10 books are Earth, The Sun, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Pluto and Other Dwarf Planets, Saturn, Uranus, and Venus.
This project marked my first time writing for Child's World. The work involved some fast-and-furious research — and even faster/furiouser writing. I signed my contract in July 2010 and by September 2010, all 10 manuscripts had been written, revised, approved, and shipped off to design.
I'm not sure I can even tell you what else went on in my life during the initial writing phase of the project, but let me think on that for a minute. Hmm . . . well . . . oh wait, yes, I do know exactly what else I did: Not a thing. Or, if you like, no other things. Which is, as you know, aka NOTHING.
I was a writing fool. And anyone who talked to me then probably remembers me as a plain-old fool-fool, too. My brain was so focused on the writing that forming intelligible sentences with my mouth was frequently challenging.
In all seriousness, keeping up with the surprising-to-me influx of late-breaking solar system news was a full-time job in itself. I do a ton of nonfiction work, but typically I write about historical figures (dead), landmark events (over) and already-well-understood concepts (long fully processed). The pressure to get it right reminded me of my stint as a reporter back in the early 1990s. With this work, as happened then, my burning desire to provide the most current and the most accurate information possible really made me sweat. And lose sleep. Despite my overall satisfaction with the project — now that the work is but a memory — I can't say that I would ever again consent to working on so many titles in such a short window of time. But I can say that I am quite pleased with how my Space Neighbors babies turned out.
This series is presented in a photo-illustrated format, and each book is just stunning. I've added all 10 covers here, and you can explore the books' innards at the publisher's site. The series page lists the full set — just click on the "Read excerpt" text from any given title's page to scroll through several spreads. It looks to me like a few excerpts actually feature the entire book, so that's a great way to really see what you're getting before you buy.
Space Neighbors titles are currently available individually and in set form from the publisher (*cough, cough* better prices *cough, cough*) and online through Amazon.
Hoping the books make it into eager young readers' hands — and many thousands of libraries — soon!