Thursday, May 26, 2016

Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood and Juli Kangas

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope you're having a terrific day! Author Deborah Underwood dropped by to chat with me about witches, trolls, Juli Kangas, cats, and Hamilton. I wrote the words in orange, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Deborah! 

The book trailer for Good Night, Baddies answers the question, “What do baddies do after their work day is done?” Viewers get a glimpse of Juli Kangas’s gorgeous illustrations, and they might even hear a certain author singing in the background.

The Good Night, Baddies song is a free download, and it’s the exact text of the book (with the addition of a chorus). I thought it would be nice for kids to be able to follow along with the lullaby while they read the book. And it was fun to write and record! I’ve missed doing music, and it was great to get back to it. I’ve had a few people say the song is stuck in their heads, and that makes me kind of crazily happy.

Illustration Credit: Juli Kangas 
Juli Kangas did the most brilliant, perfect illustrations possible for this book. When I saw the first piece of sample art, it took my breath away. I hope every picture book author gets to have a moment like that.

Illustration Credit: Juli Kangas 
Witches, trolls, dragons, and big, bad wolves need love too! When they tell their stories, they are the heroes. It’s all about perspective.

Claudia Rueda and I are working on the next Cat book, Here Comes Teacher Cat. I just saw sketches, and as always, Claudia’s illustrations are spot-on and hilarious.

School libraries will always have a special place in my heart. I spent my elementary school recesses and lunch periods in the library. It was the one place at school where I felt like I belonged. As an adult, when I toured a school library and learned it wasn’t open during lunch, I was horrified. My first thought was, “But then where do the nerdy kids hide?”

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what’s inspired me lately? The answer is Hamilton! All Hamilton, all the time! My dream is to see the show in New York, which seems about as likely as flapping my arms and flying to the moon. But the soundtrack is really making me reexamine my approach to rhythm and rhyme. Thanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda! And thank you for having me, Mr. Schu!

Borrow Good Night, Baddies from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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