TOO EARLY Named an 2024 Oregon Book Award Finalist!

Books tend to be BIG NEWS for a short amount of time and then dwindle into OLD NEWS pretty darn quick, so I haven’t had a lot of updates in a while. But TOO EARLY was published in November ’22, so it just missed the deadline for being considered for the 2023 Oregon Book Awards. A bummer, but the bright side is that I get to have BIG NEWS again a whole year-plus later! Ridiculously thrilled that TOO EARLY is a finalist for the 2024 Oregon Book Awards! And extra cool to share this honor with one of my critique partners, Rosanne Parry! Hooray and congrats to all the finalists!!

https://literary-arts.org/2024/01/announcing-the-2024-oregon-book-awards-finalists/

Another book! Coming in 2025:)

Another book with amazing illustrator Elly McKay and editor extraordinaire Emma Ledbetter at Abrams!

The Margaret Wise Brown Prize

So overjoyed that TOO EARLY has been chosen as the Margaret Wise Brown Prize Honor Book. This is an award given specifically for a picture book text, which makes it particularly special to me. There aren’t many (or any?) other awards given for a picture book text. The Caldecott, the best known award for picture books, is given for the illustrations and other awards look at both. Check out this gorgeous hand painted certificate I received, which is definitely getting framed!

Portland Book Festival

The Portland Book Festival was wonderful and I got to meet some heroes:) 

Powells City of Books Reading

Catching up with posts, so a bit out of order, but had a wonderful reading and signing at Powells City of Books, always a special place to spend a day.

The New York Times Book Review!!

A relative sent me a screen shot of an image from the New York Times that included Too Early as a prop (one of a stack of books on a desk). I was tickled pink! So imagine my excitement when the next day Too Early was more than just a prop, it was actually reviewed by Rowboat Watkins for The New York Times Review of Books! I could hardly believe it, to be honest. I still can hardly believe it! It was a wonderful review as well. One of my favorite bits is when Rowboat refers to the opening spread, where the bunny-toting early riser appears in his parents’ bedroom door “as adorable as it is horrifying.” That made me laugh. When he comments that “there’s a wide world of wonder burbling and beeping within life’s blueberry shadows” you can really tell what a great writer Rowboat himself is! (His picture book, Pete With No Pants, is one of my own kids’ favorite!) Rowboat also has other lovely things to say about Too Early, including this conclusion: “Ericson’s simple sentences, loose rhyme and playful repetitions pulse with the whiffs and whispers of that part of morning most of us miss. And MacKay’s sherbety paintings are the pitch-perfect, predawn partner for this paean to quality quiet time with someone you love.” I couldn’t have asked for a better review, and I’m pretty sure seeing that spread in the The New York Times Boo Review will remain a highlight of my writing career:) If you want to read the whole article, you can find it here, though you may need to be a subscriber (or have not used too many free guest articles already this month) to see it.

My kids holding The New York Times Review of Books

SUNRISE JARS! (A craft for Too Early)

The amazing illustrator for Too Early, Elly MacKay, came up with the idea of making “Sunrise Jars” as a craft to go along with the book! You can make these jars super simple, simple enough for very young kids, or quite detailed, if parents want to try their hand at some complicated scissor work! I like that they are so flexible and that they make great gifts. You can use recycled jars, really any you have around, and only need to find or purchase a battery operated tea light to make the whole thing look really beautiful. Don’t use a real candle, as there is paper inside the jar with the tea light and obvious paper and fire don’t mix! I made a whole collection myself, some simple, some more complex (that I cut out with an exacto knife) and they look beautiful on our piano!

I’ve attached a video I made of me reading Too Early for Green Bean Books’ virtual story time and then demonstrating the craft. You can skip along to whatever section you want to see, and don’t necessarily have to watch the whole thing!

https://youtu.be/oaanNSIRc84

And here are the downloadable templates I mention in the video. You can also just do your own drawing!

tall tree   —   sun  —  small tree   —   moth   —   flower

 

Events for TOO EARLY

Too Early releases on November 8th and I’m participating in/planning a number of events to celebrate!

November 5th: I’ll be reading and speaking on a panel at the amazing Portland Book Festival! My reading is at 9:50AM (clearly intended for the early risers:)) in the Fields Ballroom (Portland Art Museum, Mark Building, First Floor) and is geared toward kids. The panel at 3:45PM in the Portland Parks Foundation Tent is on the process of making picture books and is geared more toward adults or older kids. If you are local to Portland, the whole Book Festival is a fantastic event that I’ve attended as an audience member for many years. This is their first fully in-person festival since 2019 and I’m thrilled to be part of the line-up. Kids attend free! Adults are $15 in advance or $25 at the door, so go get those tickets now! Advance copies of Too Early will even be available for purchase at the festival, even though it is before the actual release date.

November 10th, 11am: Book launch at Green Bean Books. This is going to be a virtual event so you can join in from anywhere! I’ll be reading the book and we’ll also be doing a fun craft (see the post below for craft details!)

November 19th, 5-7pm: Reading/signing at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA! More details coming soon!

December 3rd, 10:30am: Reading at Powell’s City of Books (downtown location).