The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour

The Next Big Thing blog tour started in Australia and has now gone global! The object is to bring awareness to authors & illustrators and their current work. Many Thanks to the lovely and talented Loreen Leedy for tagging me! I’ll answer some questions about my newest book, then pass it on to two other terrific book artists.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
The Year of the Baby, by Andrea Cheng

The Year of the Baby

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’m the illustrator, so we’ll save this question for the author, Andrea Cheng. This is a sequel to The Year of the Book, the first book in the series.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
A chapter book for ages 6-9, grades 1-4

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Year of the Baby1Laura, lighthearted and warm, could be played by Dakota Fanning (age in Charlotte’s Web).
Anna, sweet and thoughtful, could be played by Valerie Tian (played #5 in The Broken Trail).
Camille, open and kind, could be played by Katie Leung (played Cho Chang, first love interest for Harry Potter).
Baby Kaylee could be played by Meryl Streep (because she can play anyone… hee hee!)

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Fifth-grader Anna is concerned that her baby sister Kaylee, adopted from China three months ago, is not thriving so she and her best friends, Laura and Camille, create a science project that may save the day.

6) Who is publishing your book?
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group
Year of the Baby2

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
As far as how long it took for the first draft of the manuscript, that’s another question for Andrea Cheng. However, I can speak about the illustrations. I spent about a month on the sketches, a few weeks for the revisions, then a few more weeks for the final art.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any gentle chapter book about familiar slice-of-life issues facing middle graders.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Another question for the author, Andrea Cheng… however, the inspiration for my sketches came from Andrea’s wonderful manuscript… I fell in love with her characters, they were a delight to draw.
Year of the Baby3

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Oh, one very cool thing is they include a pronunciation guide for Chinese words used in the book. Along with the pronunciation, they show the Chinese character for each word or phrase. Also, at the end of the book, there is a recipe for Steamed red bean bao zi, one of Anna’s grandmother’s special dishes. Yum!

Oh! I almost forgot! The Year of the Baby is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2013. Nice!

Thank you so much for stopping by! 

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues on April 4th with the following book artists – you won’t want to miss them!

My friend and fellow Girllustrator, Emma Virjan, who is as delightful as her artwork!

And another friend and all around splendid guy, illustrator extraordinaire C.S. Jennings!

I can’t wait to find out more about their books!! See you there as The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues!




  1. It’s been fun to find out about the books via this blog tour…thanks for participating, Patrice!

  2. Hi Loreen! I’ve enjoyed seeing all the new books too. Pretty exciting! Thanks again for inviting me to participate!

  3. This looks adorable! I do love looking at your work! Congrats!

  4. Thanks so much, Michelle!

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