Happy Book Birthday and a Whale of a Giveaway! April 8, 2015 23:41 31 Comments

Sound the horns! Toss the confetti! It's finally here!
This book has been a long time coming. I first came up with the idea for this book back in 2009. The idea came to me after spending the day with my six-year-old niece and nephew who were always engaging in a lot of silliness. I ending up dedicating the book to them because they always helped me (and still do) see the silly sides of things. I mocked up a sketch dummy and sent it to my agent Teresa Kietlinski at the end of 2010 with a note saying "I thought it was a fun idea when I first came up with it but I'm sort of unsure about it now." Luckily, Teresa was there to squash those negative voices in my head. She told me she loved it and she helped me work on the book a little more over the course of the year until a book dummy was ready for submission by the end of 2011. A book dummy usually contains sketches of every page in the book and 2-3 finished pieces so that the publisher can see what the final art would look like. In one of Teresa's messages to me during this time she wrote "I always know a picture book is successful when I can describe it in 3 short sentences. WHALE just works. :)" Isn't she just THE best?! I feel so blessed to have Teresa on my team! Here is the cover sketch of the original submission that went out to editors:

I wish I can say the submissions process went swimmingly. The book was rejected (nicely) by more than a half-dozen publishers. It actually got really close to being acquired by two different major publishing houses, making it all the way to acquisition meetings only to have them tell me later they had to pass for one reason or another. The submissions process can be such a roller coaster of emotions! In my heart I know it was for the best because the book found its perfect home at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan. My editor, Janine O'Malley, and art director, Anne Diebel, along with the entire FSG team has been an absolute dream to work with and the book turned out better than I could have hoped!

The book has already received positive reviews from both Kirkus and School Library Journal and is a Junior Library Guild Spring 2015 Selection.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of The Whale In My Swimming Pool, a beach ball featuring The Whale, and a whale squirt toy perfect for bath time fun to THREE lucky winners! To enter, answer the following question in the comment section of this post: What are you looking forward to this summer?

The giveaway ends Wednesday, April 22nd at 8pm EST. Three (3) winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all entries received. Open to residents of U.S. only, please. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winners must provide me with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

Cheers to The Whale In My Swimming Pool! Here's hoping this book swims its way into the hearts of children everywhere!


ps. If you're in the NYC area this Saturday, please come and celebrate the launch with me at Books of Wonder!