Mar 4, 2014

Lola Schaefer's Back- With ONE BUSY DAY

Disney-Hyperion.  March, 2014

In September I was pleased to feature an interview with the talented and prolific Lola Schaefer. This was in connection with the release of her non-fiction picture book, LIFETIME:The Amazing Numbers in Animal Liveswhich was named a 2014 Junior Library Guild selection, is on the 2014 Orbis Pictus Recommended Reading List, and has garnered plenty of fans.

Her non-fiction titles are as excellent in language as they are in subject matter. That attention to quality writing also distinguishes her fiction picture books, in which lyrical language and original concepts blend to create unforgettable stories.

ONE SPECIAL DAY released in  March, 2012. Just two years later we celebrate the release of ONE BUSY DAY, both illustrated by Jessica Meserve.

My Goodreads review:

One Busy Day follows the siblings from Schaefer's earlier One Special Day into a classic older/younger sibling relationship. Predictably, the novelty of a baby has worn off and the older child is too "busy" to play with the younger one. In this case younger Mia occupies herself creatively, with illustrations mirroring her reality and her imagination. With very young children it provides an ideal opportunity to identify which illustrations are real and which are fantasy. Mia's energetic imagination entices older Spencer to join her in creative adventures.
The concept of a younger sibling resolving her loneliness is very empowering, and Schaefer's charming lyrical text is matched by Meserve's delightful images of Mia's reality and her imagination.

Read what Publisher's Weekly had to say about ONE BUSY DAY here. It was no surprise to me that Kirkus gave it a starred review. 

Author Lola M. Schaefer

The official release date for this new title is March 4, 2014. I'm pleased that Lola found time in her busy life to answer a few questions about these books for us.  
Welcome back, Lola!

Q: Are the characters in One Special Day and One Busy Day based on someone you know or personal experience? What was your inspiration for these characters?

Lola: Spencer, the protagonist, is somewhat fashioned on our nephew Spencer. Of course, my nephew is older now, but he has always been playful, silly, wild, yet compassionate and kind. When I wrote One Special Day, my nephew was my inspiration. But the similarity stops there. Our Spencer is the younger brother of an older sister Leah.

Q: Was this always planned as a series or sequel? If not, how did ONE BUSY DAY come about? Are there more titles to come?

Lola: In today’s present market, I think authors and publishers are hesitant to jump into a picture book series. However, One Special Day sold well and it seemed to beg for a follow-up title. One Busy Day was a natural progression. My editor and I brainstormed those typical moments between young siblings and voilἁ, the plot emerged.  Will there be more?  We will just need to wait and see.

Q: Your language in these books (and your others) suit apparently simple stories, yet involve similes, repetitive patterns, and lyrical word choice.  I know you invest months, even years, in the research behind non-fiction titles. When it comes to fiction, do you spend more time developing the story or the text?

Lola: Each book is dramatically different. One Special Day flew onto the page. It seemed to come from some place deep inside me and there was very little revision or editing. One Busy Day took a bit longer. There’s always the fear that a follow-up book will be weaker, not quite as engaging, and both the publisher and I did not want that to be the case. Once the premise was established, the writing came in a few weeks. And, of course, as with most books, the editor had a few suggestions that truly strengthened the storyline.

For me, I obsess over each and every word whether I’m writing nonfiction or fiction picture books. Language needs to be minimal, but pop on the page. As an author, you want children to participate in whatever you write and word choice, pacing, and content are the hooks.

Q: What projects are in the works now? Anything you can share?
Lola: I just sold another literary nonfiction book to a publisher. I’m hoping they decide to use the same illustrator as an earlier book. In another year, I’ll have a beginning chapter book out that features a kind, yet brazen (in a totally honest-kind-of-way) girl who is starting Kindergarten. The script contains a lot of dialogue and monologue which is something new for me.

Thanks, Lola, for participating. I'm looking forward to reading these and all your future releases. In the meantime, Happy "book birthday" for One Busy Day. I hope families, teachers, and librarians will find and share this pair of books with young readers, early and often. These stories have the rich language, relationships, and layers that improve with each rereading.

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