Cover Reveal: Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story by Susan Tan

Hello, Susan Tan! I am a HUUUUUGGGGEEEE fan of the Cilla Lee-Jenkins series. Thank you for celebrating Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story’s cover with me.

Susan Tan: Hi Mr. Schu! Thank you SO MUCH for having me!! I love the work you do, and your support of Cilla has meant the world!! I’m so excited to be doing this with you!!

I wrote the words in purple, and Susan wrote the words in black

Dana Wulfekotte’s cover illustration for Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story is beautiful! Dana is such a fabulous, talented artist, and I feel like she brings such depth and energy to Cilla. In this book, Cilla is a bit older than the previous ones— she’s now in fifth grade— and I think you can really see that growth in Dana’s representation of her here. I also love how you can see Cilla’s determination through Dana’s work. This book is very much about Cilla working to overcome struggles in an epic, indomitable, very Cilla-like fashion, and I think Dana captures her determination and spirit so beautifully here! (And of course- I can’t not mention the dragon, which is maybe my favorite new thing ever).

Cilla Lee-Jenkins loves stories! One of the joys of writing Cilla is getting to be in the head of a character who thinks stories are the best things ever. It means that whenever Cilla meets new people, or sees something new or exciting, she lets herself be transported by it— asking all the “what ifs”, and going through life wondering: “imagine if that were magic,” or “what would I do if I could do that...”.  It also means that whenever Cilla finds a good new book, she sits down immediately to read it, whether she’s on a school bench or on the library floor. Because a good new story is just that exciting!

On March 26, 2019, the third Cilla book, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story, comes out! There will be a book release at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story takes place with Cilla in fifth grade. She’s terrified of leaving elementary school, and decides to write an Epic (a story about struggles that end in triumph), to make sure she’s grown up enough for middle school next year. The story takes a turn though when Cilla’s Ye Ye has a stroke, which means that while he’s okay, he’s lost a great deal of his ability to speak English. Fearing that this means she and Ye Ye won’t be able to communicate any more, Cilla decides that this is her real Epic quest, and sets off to teach Ye Ye English again in true Epic-hero style. As she does, Cilla has many adventures, encountering playground Villains, discovering undercover super-heroes (one looks suspiciously like her school librarian), and facing down the threat of middle school with her friends and family, old and new. Along the way, she begins to learn that changes and language barriers don’t have to impact how you are with the people you love, as she and Ye Ye learn how to be there for each other in new, but equally heroic, ways.

Explore Susan's website.

School libraries a
re the best!! When I was a kid they changed my life, and I’ve actually based a librarian character in Cilla 3 off of the school librarian who changed my life— her name in the book and in real life is, amazingly, Ms. Clutter. (Though her library was very organized, I feel I have to tell you).  So all this to say, school libraries are wonderful places, full of magic, friends, and incredible people (real and written). I hope you get to go as much as possible!

Story is so important. Stories are how we communicate, how we get to know each other, how we practice empathy and compassion, and how we broaden our imaginations and senses of who we are and who we can be. Telling stories is one of the best things we can do, especially when those stories are ones that are kind to ourselves and to others.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about Chinese food! Food is very important to Cilla and her family— it’s a way they bond, connect, and learn from each other! This is true for my family too (as you might have guessed), and I make sure to put TONS of it into each Cilla book! So keep an eye out for tapioca dessert soup, tzuck sang (bamboo hearts), and SO MANY soup dumplings. And if any of you need restaurant recommendations for Boston Chinatown, you know who to call!

Look for Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story on March 26, 2019. 


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