Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up and an Interview with Dave Eggers

We’re excited to welcome back Dave Eggers to share his new picture book out last month, Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up, illustrated by Laura Park and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

A duck and a prairie dog, respectively named Abner and Ian, are stuck sideways on this book’s pages.  They’ve found the perfect person to help them get right side-up — you, dear reader.  You’d think one hearty, swift shake would do the trick.  But it’s not as easy as it looks!  This odd couple’s conundrum is read-aloud gold.

Abner and Ian are a hilarious duo.  Were they inspired by anyone in real life?

That’s a great question. The quick answer is no, but then I start wondering if there is some subliminal source for these guys. Probably not, but I think there’s something inherently funny about a mismatched duo who have nothing in common but somehow are content to be stuck with each other.

We’d love to hear what’s next for you in terms of upcoming projects.

There’s another book in the pipeline with Little, Brown, called Faraway Things. It’s a more serious picture book about a boy living on a windswept coast who one day finds an old sword among the debris washed ashore. And I’m still hoping to become a professional stuntman.

Any new picture books that have caught your eye lately or favorites that you find yourself re-reading at the moment?

I recently discovered Enchanted Lion Books out of Brooklyn, and I’m kind of obsessed with everything they do. They have great taste and publish books with real attention to the craft of the physical object. There’s a new one called Noodlephant, by Jacob Kramer and K-Fai Steele, that has the right kind of timeless storytelling paired with a very pointed contemporary political message.

Where’s your favorite spot to write and/or do you have certain writing rituals?

I usually write in my office, which is in my garage, and is usually pretty messy. But today I went up into the headlands north of San Francisco and wrote a bit on a larg flat rock while watching a crow float at about eye level, playing with a thermal he’d mastered.

Favorite bookstore in all of San Francisco (existing or closed)?

I can’t quite pick favorites, because there are so many I’m loyal to. One that doesn’t always get enough attention, I think, is Borderlands, a sci-fi and fantasy bookstore on Valencia, just a few doors down from 826 Valencia. They are really kind and helpful in there, and the store is beautifully laid out. Their cafe next door just got priced out, given the insane rents on the street, so I hope the bookstore can survive these irrationally exuberant times.

Many thanks to Dave stopping by!  Also, don’t miss out on his other new picture book which was released in April, Most Likely Tomorrow.  Read more on Dave’s site about his initiatives, projects and body of work as a writer, journalist, artist, philanthropist, editor and founder of McSweeney’s.

Lottie and Walter

Lottie knows a secret — there’s a shark hiding in the pool where she takes swimming class and that’s why she’s beyond frightened to go in the water.  It doesn’t want to eat the other kids — just her.  One day, an enormous walrus named Walter emerges from a nearby puddle and follows her home.  Lottie confides in Walter about not wanting to go in the water next week even though a pool party is planned.  It turns out that Walter, in his quietly funny, slightly loopy, fish finger-eating ways, might just be what Lottie needs to realize that she does indeed have the courage to conquer her biggest fear.

Lottie and Walter was written and illustrated by Anna Walker and published by Clarion Books.  Out soon on May 7 and watch a stop-motion book trailer here!


The Little Rabbit

In this charming story, Ollie and her favorite pal are ecstatic that it’s stopped raining and that spring is officially here.  They step outside and after a curious breeze flies by, something strange and magical happens.  Ollie doesn’t know it quite yet, but she’s in for an afternoon of adventure!

The Little Rabbit was written and illustrated by Nicola Killen and published by Paula Wiseman Books.

P.S. I’ve teamed up with some friends to give away a spring-themed stack of books on Instagram. The giveaway ends on April 10 — click here for details.

Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling

Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling | Avery and Augustine
Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling | Avery and Augustine
Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling | Avery and Augustine
Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling | Avery and Augustine

Harry Potter fans, rejoice!  A new picture book biography about J. K. Rowling was published this week.  It’s geared towards middle grade readers, is illustrated with cut-paper art, filled with details about every stage of Rowling’s life, and includes famous quotes, key lessons from her life and additional resources.  Not only informative, but completely inspiring and perfect for International Women’s Day.

Boss the Bestseller List Like J. K. Rowling was written by Caroline Moss, illustrated by Sinem Erkas and published by Lincoln Children’s Books.

My Island

My Island | Avery and Augustine
My Island | Avery and Augustine
My Island | Avery and Augustine
My Island | Avery and Augustine

A young girl shows us around her island, all of its whimsical intricacies built by the workings of her imagination.  It’s a place without a name where the flowers are always blooming and where thousands of birds roam.  It’s magical.  You’re welcome, too, but only if you’re the hopeful, wish-making, dreaming kind.  A charming ode to children and their endless creativity and inventiveness.

My Island was written by Stéphanie Demasse-Pottier, illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh nd published by Princeton Architectural Press.  Out on April 2.