Please welcome debut author Katrina Moore today! We are both in New in ’19 debut picture book group! Today, we will be sharing her COVER REVEAL and she will be interviewing her illustrator.
Let’s get started!
Growing up, I spent so many years watching my grandpa cook. We didn’t exchange many words—he spoke Chinese, I spoke English—and the words we did exchange were jumbled and never did justice to what I really wanted to say. But when he cooked, when I watched, and later, when we cooked together, we shared something special. And now, a decade later since he has passed away, I still feel him close to me every time I cook. Some connections are stronger than words.
It was this connection—this strong relationship built on love, and very little words, that inspired me to write GRANDPA GRUMPS. This book is for families, food lovers, and anyone who enjoys a belly full of laughter.
Daisy makes big plans for her week with Yeh-Yeh, her Chinese grandpa, who she’s meeting for the first time. But Yeh-Yeh does not want to party. He doesn’t even like hot cocoa with extra marshmallows! Daisy is determined to make Yeh-Yeh smile by the end of the week. GRANDPA GRUMPS is a humorous and heartfelt picture book about connecting across cultures and generations, for fans of Mother Bruce, How to Babysit a Grandpa, and Drawn Together.
Author Interviewing the Illustrator:
Katrina: Hi Xindi! It’s so wonderful to finally chat. It’s felt serendipitous to create GRANDPA GRUMPS with you and the Little Bee team. We all knew from the start that you were the perfect illustrator for this book.
What made you drawn to GRANDPA GRUMPS when you received the manuscript?
Xindi: The cultural aspect for sure! I was so thrilled to read a story about a Chinese family. And the grandpa in the book reminded me so much of my own grandpas. I remember as a kid, they always didn’t say much but would never hesitate to buy me candies my mom won’t allow, cook delicious meals or play games with me all day. I also see Daisy in my future child, and so many immigrant children growing up in multi-cultural homes. It’s a story that echoes with many people and moved me deeply.
Katrina: This book is beautiful. The lettering on the title is perfect—I really love it! And the cover makes me laugh out loud and warms my heart all at once.
Can you share how you came to create this cover?
Xindi: The cover was so much fun to paint! I like to work on the cover after the interior pages if I have the choice. At that point you would already know everything that’s going to happen visually in the book and have a better understanding of the story.
The job of a cover is to showcase the character relationship clearly without spoiling the content and draws the readers to want to know more about them. The art director told me they wanted to keep grandpa grumpy and have Daisy play around him, kind of like the movie UP. I thought it would be really funny to have a happy Daisy playing with grandpa and totally oblivious to his mood. Grandpa on the other hand, even though it’s not his favorite thing to do, let Daisy dress him up in ridiculous costumes and plays along because he loves Daisy. So it’s funny but heartwarming at the same time. I also took a lot of the elements from the storyline and Daisy’s toys that appeared in the book to scatter around the page. You can see more of them on the title page. I love including narrative in the details!
Katrina: The cat is the absolute BEST! I love searching for it on each page—its expressions are hilarious and really enhance this story.
Can you tell us more about this cat and how you knew it was Daisy’s perfect pet?
Xindi: When I was first reading the manuscript, I kept picturing Daisy with a silent sidekick pet. I thought instead of a dog that follows her around, it would be funnier if it’s a very grumpy cat, kind of like grandpa to contrast and bring out even more of Daisy’s overwhelmingly positive energy. From the beginning spread, you can see from her interaction with the cat that she’s very passionate but not delicate, kind of like me! And the cat also played an important role in the final moment that brought Daisy and grandpa closer. That came to me naturally once the character is solid in my head.
Katrina: You really made Daisy’s world come to life and little readers are going to love being a part of it. There are so many details that create such an authentic, culturally rich environment that makes this really special, too. From the designed rice bowls, to the décor of the house, to the plant choices, and the bowl of oranges on the table…this looks like the house I grew up in—one that blended Chinese culture with American culture. How I would have LOVED a book like this—a character like Daisy and a home that looked like mine—to help me feel seen. So many little readers are going to feel validated from this book. They’ll see their family, their home, and will know that they, too, can be the stars of books! You’ve put so much heart into the art, and it shines through the pages.
Where did you draw inspiration for the illustrations for this book?
Xindi: Daisy’s design is inspired by the classic Chinese lucky doll look. And grandpa is, of course, inspired by my own grandpas. The navy blue cotton shirt is a design from when they were young during the cultural revolution and still is popular among older people these days. My grandpa on my mother’s side is an excellent cook and I definitely put his spirit into those pages. Their home is a mix of my childhood home in China as well as my home now in America. One of the paintings in the dining room is actually my grandma’s painting that’s hanging in my home now. A lot of Daisy’s toys and drawings all came from my childhood as well. These pages brought back so many memories as I was painting them.
I liked that Daisy’s room didn’t start off very Chinese but later on was filled with crafts she made with grandpa. I used to do a lot of these crafts with my grandma, so when we needed a heart-warming moment I knew this has to be it!
What we’ve all been waiting for …
the cover reveal!!!
Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, illustrated by Xindi Yan
“Grandpa’s grumpy, thought Daisy. This will not do. I have to make him smile before he leaves!”
Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like having tea parties and playing in the snow, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?
Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations. Out April 7, 2020. Preorder here.
Katrina Moore writes and teaches in New Jersey. Earning her M.A. in elementary education, she’s been a teacher for almost a decade in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. Her mission is to create books that children will hug for ages. Her debut picture book, ONE HUG, illustrated by the talented Julia Woolf, is a lyrical celebration of the different ways that hugs bring people together, forthcoming from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books in 2019. Her second picture book, GRANDPA GRUMPS, illustrated by the amazing Xindi Yan, is a humorous and heartfelt story featuring a little girl, Daisy, and how she connects with her Chinese grandfather across cultures and generations, forthcoming from Little Bee Books in 2020.
Xindi Yan left behind a small city in China to realize her dream of being a published artist. She has travelled thousands of miles to study, live and work in New York. Xindi received her BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2013 and has since worked as an illustrator for the gaming industry and children’s media. Having always wanted to illustrate children’s books, she buried herself in countless books and drawings, collecting them even today. Her ambition keeps her painting day and night. Xindi currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dreams about having a puppy in the near future.
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