TWO new books for Deborah Hopkinson!

Today we have a dou­ble delight­ful post, a guest post cel­e­brat­ing not one but TWO new books for Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son!


Letter to My Teacher CoverA Let­ter to My Teacher
Schwartz & Wade (April 4, 2017)
“A valu­able les­son in empa­thy, inter­nal­ized and paid forward.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Hopkinson’s mov­ing epis­to­lary text and Carpenter’s emo­tion­al­ly inci­sive flash­backs chron­i­cle the evolv­ing rela­tion­ship between an impul­sive sec­ond grad­er and her life-chang­ing teacher.”
—Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, starred review 

and then

Inde­pen­dence Cake: A Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Con­fec­tion Inspired by Amelia Sim­mons, Whose True His­to­ry Is Unfor­tu­nate­ly Unknown

Schwartz & Wade (May 9, 2017)
“Down­right charm­ing water­col­or-and-ink illus­tra­tions invite close inspection.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Both bud­ding chefs and those who hap­pi­ly (and patri­ot­i­cal­ly) con­sume their hand­i­work will eat this up.”
—Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, starred review 

I love both of these new books, and high­ly rec­om­mend you check them out. (Be warned, how­ev­er, A Let­ter to My Teacher made me cry!) And now, please wel­come Deb­o­rah back to the blog, this time to talk about the illus­tra­tions in Inde­pen­dence Cake:

Deborah Hopkinson
Deb­o­rah Hopkinson

As a pic­ture book author, I often get asked, ‘Do you choose your illus­tra­tor?’ Peo­ple new to the field of children’s books are often sur­prised when I say the deci­sion is in the hands of the edi­tor, though there are many excep­tions and, of course, well-estab­lished author-illus­tra­tor col­lab­o­ra­tive partnerships.
Some peo­ple won­der how an author can let go of his or her words. The truth is that I rarely have a vision in my head of what the sto­ry should or could look like. In fact, I love the ele­ment of sur­prise as I first see sketch­es, then fin­ished art. But it’s not until the final book is in my hands that I tru­ly appre­ci­ate how the vision and tal­ents of the edi­tor, design­er, and illus­tra­tor have expand­ed the words on the page to cre­ate some­thing entire­ly new.
That’s cer­tain­ly the case with my May 2017 pic­ture book, Inde­pen­dence Cake, illus­trat­ed by Giselle Pot­ter. When I vis­it schools, I always dis­cuss the dif­fer­ence between fic­tion and non­fic­tion. And Inde­pen­dence Cake is most decid­ed­ly fic­tion, as the sub­ti­tle makes clear: A Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Con­fec­tion Inspired by Amelia Sim­mons, Whose True His­to­ry is Unfor­tu­nate­ly Unknown.
I’ve been a fan of Giselle’s work since I first read Gabriella’s Song, writ­ten by Can­dace Flem­ing and pub­lished in 1997. Her style is per­fect for this light-heart­ed sto­ry loose­ly based on the real Amelia Sim­mons, who in 1796 penned Amer­i­can Cook­ery, the first pub­lished cook­book in Amer­i­ca. In my sto­ry, Amelia, an orphan, is sent to live with the Bean fam­i­ly, where she delights six lit­tle boys (and comes to their mother’s res­cue) thanks to her resource­ful­ness, ener­gy, and cook­ing skills. (It’s a safe bet the life of a real “bound girl” in 18th cen­tu­ry Amer­i­ca was much harsh­er than what’s por­trayed here.)
Amelia becomes so pro­fi­cient that the town ladies call on her to bake an Elec­tion Day Cake (sim­i­lar to an Eng­lish fruit­cake) in hon­or of George Washington’s inau­gu­ra­tion. She cre­ates an Inde­pen­dence Cake, a recipe which appeared in the sec­ond edi­tion of Amelia’s cook­book. (We’ve includ­ed the recipe and some back­ground infor­ma­tion on Amelia Sim­mons in the author’s note.)
From the end­pa­pers to the author’s note, Giselle’s art is sure to delight young read­ers (and aspir­ing bak­ers). In a starred review, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly praised Giselle’s work, not­ing that her “sig­na­ture ren­der­ing style is an ide­al match for the sub­ject mat­ter, her flat­tened per­spec­tives, under­stat­ed expres­sions, and creamy col­ors hark­ing back to 18th-cen­tu­ry portraiture.”
Pic­ture book art? Delicious!

Deli­cious, indeed! Thank you, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son, for appear­ing here once again. For oth­er stops on the Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son Dou­ble Blog Tour please check out, and fol­low the #Dou­ble­Blog­Tour hashtag.

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