Hi, Jodi Kendall! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for dropping by to share the book trailer for The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. What's your book about?
Jodi Kendall: Thanks for having me! In the tradition of Charlotte's Web, Marley & Me, and Because of Winn-Dixie, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is about love, acceptance, and the unconditional bond between a young girl and her pet pig. The main character, 11-year-old Josie Shilling, also faces struggles, both within herself and as a middle child in her big, chaotic, financially strapped family. Both Josie and her pig Hamlet deal with growing pains in their own secret ways.
Please tell us about the ADORABLE pigs featured in the book trailer.
Jodi Kendall: There are actually many different pigs featured in the book trailer. Last summer I filmed two litters at Muscoot Farm, which is located in Westchester County outside New York City. I spent a lot of time in that barn revising The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. Most recently, two piglets from a New Jersey breeder came to my NYC apartment to film the scenes between Josie and Hamlet. The piglets were only nine weeks old, and it was so much fun to interact with them! Madeline Lucy Wilkins, who plays Josie in the book trailer, did an amazing job too.
You actually created two book trailers. How did you decide which one to premiere here today?
Jodi Kendall: After sharing them with my editor, agent, and family, I still couldn't decide which book trailer I liked better, so I went straight to the experts – young readers. I had Skype Classroom visits with 150 fourth and fifth grade students in 3 different states (CT, OH, and SC) and tallied up their votes. It was a close race! I call the winning trailer the one-minute "Teaser Trailer" and the other, longer version the "Director's Cut." I can't wait to share the winning trailer with all of you today!
How will you celebrate The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City’s book birthday on October 3?
Jodi Kendall: In the morning, I'm visiting my local bookstores in New York City and signing stock (and I'll probably cry when I see my book on shelves for the first time). In the afternoon, two piglets are coming over for a fun piggy party with my family and close friends. You can follow #TheUnlikelyStoryofaPigintheCity hashtag on social media to see all the adorable photos and videos we'll be sharing online! Afterwards, I'm swinging by a friend's book launch party downtown (Karina Yan Glaser, her debut novel publishes on the same day) and then I plan to just relax and enjoy a nice vegan dinner out with my husband to celebrate. The official launch party for The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is on Saturday, October 7th, 2pm, at the Books of Wonder Uptown location in NYC. Everyone is welcome to attend!
Please finish these sentence starters:
Josie Shilling thinks about everything, all the time. She's a constant worrier – like me – and that can be really difficult for her as she struggles with growing pains, being a middle child in a big, financially strapped family, nailing her new gymnastics routines, and saving Hamlet the pig's life.
School libraries were a wonderful sanctuary for me as a kid. I loved having the independence to choose what I wanted to read or ask for recommendations from the friendly librarian if I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for. I loved the smell of the books, the sound of pages turning, the worlds I could escape into. School libraries continue to be the heartbeat of the school, allowing all students a safe place where they can investigate, listen, imagine, belong, question, learn, discover, and grow by reading all different kinds of incredible stories.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me how I spent my summer! I love being with animals whenever I get the chance, and during the month of July I spent a lot of time at Rockville Alpaca Farm near Richmond. As a freelance writer I've had my share of animal adventures, but taking care of alpacas was a first for me. I mucked pastures, fed them grain, hosed down wheel barrels, observed a veterinarian administer vaccinations, took lots of photos and videos, and helped transport 136 hay bales from a nearby feed barn to the alpaca farm (this was about a year's supply of hay for the animals). My family was able to help out too, which was a really neat experience. My five-year old son especially loved feeding them hay! Alpacas are naturally curious, peaceful, gentle creatures that make a variety of interesting sounds when they communicate with each other. It was so much fun spending time with them. One day I'd love for my family to live on a big farm with all kinds of animals.
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The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall
Middle Grade Hardback Novel
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
HarperCollins Children's Books
Publishes October 3, 2017
Available wherever books are sold. Purchase now via IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell's, HarperCollins, Target and Amazon – and at your local bookstore! You can also ask your local librarian to order a copy.
In this delightful middle grade debut, a little pig in a big city leads to lots of trouble.
Josie Shilling's family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one's ever on her side.
Then on Thanksgiving Day her older brother, Tom, brings home a tiny pink piglet he rescued from a farm outside the city. Her name is Hamlet. The minute Josie holds Hamlet she feels an instant connection.
But there's no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And who ever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it's up to Josie to find her a forever home.
This modern-day homage to Charlotte's Web is a heartwarming tale of family, belonging, and growing bigger when you've always felt small – perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate and Cammie McGovern.
“The tone and characters are reminiscent of classics... A charming tale, ideal for fans of Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks...”— School Library Journal
“An appealing protagonist figuring out what’s important to her... heartwarming and satisfying.”
— ALA Booklist
“We fell in love with THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY! Jodi Kendall has written a charming book with powerful lessons about family and animal welfare. No matter how big she gets, there’s always room for Hamlet in our hearts. ”
— Steve Jenkins & Derek Walter, New York Times Bestselling authors of ESTHER THE WONDER PIG
“Jodi Kendall’s utterly charming, heartfelt story of the unlikely bond between a girl and a pig just goes to show that sometimes it takes a little pig with a big heart to bring a family together again. Move over Wilbur, there’s a new pig in town!”
— Bobbie Pyron, critically-acclaimed author of A Dog’s Way Home
Jodi Kendall is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work is represented on several National Geographic Channel websites (including Inside Wild, Nat Geo Dogs, Mysterious Science and Inside NGC), NBC Health, ABC News and in Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine. For work, Jodi once followed an eight-hour, overnight secret transport of a manta ray across state lines. On another trip, she was harnessed into an open-door airplane so she could snap photographs of the largest whale shark aggregation on the planet. She faced her fear of sharks by swimming with seven species in an aquarium tank, got up close and personal with venomous snakes along the Kinabatangan River, and motored through a known saltwater crocodile breeding ground. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona and is an active member of SCBWI. Jodi grew up in Columbus, Ohio with her family of seven and a household of countless pets, including hamsters, ducks, dogs, rabbits, an iguana, and yes… even a farm pig!