Debut Review Challenge with Natalee Creech

Welcome, Natalee! Thank you for stopping by to share your debut picture books. You’ve had two in 2019. Congratulations!

Debut By-the-Numbers: WHEN DAY IS DONE

Number of years writing:

4 (Counting from the time I joined SCBWI – which is when I decided to get serious!)

Number of years from contract to published book:

1.5 years

Date your book was released:

February 12, 2019

Number of pages:

32

Number of launch events:

0

Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity:

I figure writing and marketing & publicity are both good so I’m not too concerned if I don’t write because I’m doing something for publicity. What’s not so good is the number of times I go on Twitter to promote something and then get sucked into the feed and waste time instead of writing…  too many to count!

Number of critique partners:

10 – but I actually found them after both my picture books were under contract.

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years:

more than 10

Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out: 

Because I live in South Korea and haven’t seen my book in a store, it still doesn’t seem real. I feel there is some parallel to Schrodinger’s Cat here. My book is both real and not real until the moment I see it for sale in a store and know for sure. Then I will definitely pinch myself! 

Current number of reviews:

On Amazon: 21; On Goodreads: 25

A Few Questions

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  • Why do you write for children?

I believe in the power of words, both spoken and written. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if every child fell in love with reading. I think it would make the world a much better place. Just 26 letters can make you laugh or cry, feel the same things a character feels, make you question your thinking, put yourself in another person’s shoes… Reading is one of the best ways to develop empathy.

  • What does your workspace look like? Tell us about a typical work session. 

I am not a morning person, so I usually write in the evenings or after everyone else is in bed. On the days I’m not teaching I drop the kids off at school then sit down to write. I either work at a table in our living room or on the balcony if the weather is nice. I love to make myself a green tea frappuccino with almond milk, protein powder and sometimes a raw egg. We have a cat named Oreo who frequently deposits her fuzzy butt wherever I’m trying to write – especially if she thinks it’s nearing the time she should be fed. (She seems to have a lot of trouble gauging time.) Recently my favorite thing to snack on while writing is a Korean rice cake called injeolmi. In its usual form, it’s a sticky (glutinous) rice cake but several snack companies have chosen to deep fry it and make it into a light snack that’s perfect for crunching on. 

Natalee’s favorite snack while writing

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

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Think about all the stories you’ve written that have hit a dead end or are hidden away in a drawer somewhere. For each of the items below, lift an element from a different story to create a weird, unexpected mash-up. Who knows? It may even inspire a new manuscript!

Character(s): Big Bad Wolf

Setting: piano recital

Theme: empathy

Problem: a package is delivered to the wrong person

Pitch: Big Bad Wolf wants to prove how good he is at the upcoming piano recital, but when he receives an important package by mistake he has to choose between delivering the package to its rightful owner – thereby missing the recital – and ignoring the package to  receive the accolades he has worked so hard to earn.

A musical Big Bad Wolf that has to choose between being in the spotlight or being selfless. Love it!

It’s time to write some reviews! Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. For every five reviews you write for debut Kidlit creators, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Natalee has generously donated a signed book and a picture book manuscript critique (less than 800 words). Thank you, Natalee!

TIPS: Support debut authors by suggesting their book titles to your local library! Purchase them as gifts for children in your life, a teacher, or a local school. Share book titles or reviews on social media and tag the author/illustrator!

For BONUS ENTRIES, complete this Rafflecopter giveaway!

#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat

Read More About Natalee and Her Books

BIO: Natalee Creech is a children’s author who is equally at home in Canada, (where she grew up) in the U.S., (where she studied education) and in South Korea (where she taught for many years). Regardless of where she lives, she is probably sneaking more children’s books into the house, much to the delight of her children and the dismay of her husband. Oreo, the family cat, remains indifferent. When Day Is Done is Natalee’s debut picture book. (February 2019, Beaming Books) Her second picture book is Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God’s Love. (April 2019, WorthyKids)

Book Title: WHEN DAY IS DONE

Author/Illustrator: Natalee Creech, Robert Dunn

Publisher: Beaming Books      

Year: 2019

Synopsis: Go to sleep my little one. We sleep when day is done.

The sun is setting and it’s almost night. Children from various families say goodbye to friends–including the sun, trees, and flowers–and move inside to complete their bedtime routines. With vivid imagery and child-friendly poetry, each verse ends with the simple refrain, “We sleep when day is done.”

When Day Is Done is a soothing bedtime book, perfect for calming down after a busy day.


Book Title: NOTHING: Nothing Can Separate You From God’s Love!

Author/Illustrator: Natalee Creech, Joseph Cowman

Publisher: WorthyKids  

Year: 2019

Synopsis: Can anything stop God’s love and God’s grace? This uplifting picture book joyfully explores the answer from Romans 8:38-39-nothing can separate us from God’s love. Curious children wonder if God’s love can be stopped by rumbling volcanoes, deep oceans, elaborate disguises, and personal shortcomings, and come to the comforting conclusion that “There is nothing so powerful, nothing so strong-God’s love is too high and too deep and too long!” With whimsical rhyme and imaginative illustrations, this affirming book gives children confidence in God’s unstoppable love.

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