*BOOK GIVEAWAY* + Interview with Kim-Hoa Ung, Debut Picture Book Author & Illustrator, A GIFT FOR NAI NAI (Feiwel and Friends)
Happy New Year! To celebrate the start of 2024, I’m giving away a copy of A GIFT FOR NAI NAI, written and illustrated by debut picture book creator Kim-Hoa Ung. Scroll to the end of the interview for details on how to enter. Psst: if you have helped boost this book in the past on your socials, your name will be entered in the prize draw twice if you fill out the form by Jan. 27, 2024!
Kim-Hoa Ung is a Chinese American author-illustrator and amigurumi artist. When Kim-Hoa is not creating stories, you can find her crocheting pieces for art shows, sending snail mail, and making arts and crafts with her kids. She lives with her family in Southern California. A GIFT FOR NAI NAI is her debut picture book. You can read more about her on her website and social media: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Bluesky, Twitter, and YouTube.
A GIFT FOR NAI NAI
Author and Illustrator: Kim-Hoa Ung
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Publication date: December 5, 2023
Interest age: 4-8
from Kirkus Reviews:
“Debut author/illustrator Ung’s use of gentle pastel colors paired with soft textures brings an additional layer of cozy warmth to this tale of intergenerational connection. Each stage of Lyn Lyn’s crochet journey, from her initial frustration to her renewed determination and creative problem-solving, is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to pick up a new skill. The book concludes with a crochet pattern for Nai Nai’s hat. Nai Nai is depicted using a wheelchair. A sweet story celebrating the special bond between a granddaughter and her grandmother.”
Synopsis of A GIFT FOR NAI NAI:
Lyn Lyn’s beloved Nai Nai has a birthday party approaching! All Lyn Lyn wants to do is make a lucky hat for her very special grandma, but her crochet skills are not nearly as refined as Nai Nai’s. So Lyn Lyn hatches a plan for the best crocheter she knows to help her make the perfect lucky hat for Nai Nai!
Through perseverance and their special bond, Lyn Lyn comes to realize that the perfect gift for Nai Nai comes from within.
***Buy A GIFT FOR NAI NAI from wherever you buy books. Kim-Hoa’s local independent bookstore, Once Upon a Time, is taking orders for signed, personalized copies.
Q. How was A GIFT FOR NAI NAI created?
A GIFT FOR NAI NAI celebrates the special bond between a girl and her grandma. The story was inspired by my grandma whom I am grateful to have been able to crochet hats for. I did not see picture books involving crochet at the time, so this also inspired me to write one. My back matter contains instructions for readers to create their own hats too.
Originally, my characters were pandas. However, after talking with an editor about there being more animal books than there were diverse characters, I was inspired to redesign my characters as humans, specifically Chinese.
In terms of how my book got published, I am grateful to have won a critique with editor Erin Siu (formerly at Feiwel & Friends) through Kaitlyn Sanchez’s Fall Frenzy Writing Contest. During the critique meeting, Erin expressed interest in working with me. I revised back and forth until it was approved to take to acquisitions. The illustrations were done digitally with Procreate and I used Photoshop to arrange the layouts. I am thankful for my publishing team and agent who helped make this book possible.
Q. What do you hope young readers will take away from your book?
I hope my book can inspire young readers to always keep trying, especially when picking up a new skill. Believe in yourself. Things don’t need to turn out perfect. “Always remember that small things become great when done with love.”
Q. What advice do you have for young creators?
For young creators, keep practicing what you are trying to achieve. I never went to art school, but took classes through Storyteller Academy and watched tutorials on YouTube. Sometimes illustrating is difficult for me, especially when dealing with colors and values. But I test out possibilities and experiment with the different types of digital brushes. I make sure to incorporate different textures so that my artwork doesn’t seem flat.
Writing also requires patience and persistence. It is important to find yourself a trustworthy group of critique partners whom you can depend on. Keep illustrating! Keep writing! I’ve found that critiques from industry professionals have been enlightening in helping to better develop stories that I’ve already spent a lot of time on with my critique partners. I know it is very tough, but I am rooting for you all.
Q. What are you excited about now?
I am excited for my book launch and storytime events with bookstores and libraries. I am also working on a dummy for my second book. The hardest part for me is coloring. Hopefully, I will be able to color well and go on submission for the first time ever with my agent.
Thank you for the interview, Debbie! Your blogs and resources have been so helpful and encouraging, especially when I first ventured into kidlit. Thank you for all you do for the kidlit community, Debbie!
Thank you to everyone who has shown so much love and support for A GIFT FOR NAI NAI!
To enter this giveaway, post a reply below or fill out this form by Jan. 27, 2024. Open to anyone in Canada or the U.S. If you have helped to promote A GIFT FOR NAI NAI in the past, please mention this – your name will be entered twice!
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