Congratulations! Leila Nabih is the winner of
Nancy Armo’s new picture book A FRIEND FOR MOLE.
Nancy Armo has a new picture book A FRIEND FOR MOLE, that just hit the book shelves. She has agreed to do a book giveaway and include a signed print with the book (Take a look at the bottom of the page). Also, Nancy has include pictures of how she developed her characters. I think you will really love reading this post.
All you have to do is leave a comment to get in the running. Reblog, or tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Please make sure you check back. I will announce the winner on March 15.
A Friend for Mole features an adorable Mole and his experience after he decides to leave his dark and cozy burrow.
Struggling with his overwhelming fear of the unknown, Mole stumbles across a friendly Wolf who is trying to conquer fears of his own. As they keep each other company and learn from one another, the two discover that friendship can be one of the strongest shields against fear.
Through Mole and Wolf’s experiences, young readers learn that differences aren’t necessarily weaknesses, and strengths are most powerful when used to help a friend. With simple but humorous text, and soft, bright illustrations to guide the way, this picture book is a gentle, fun journey through fear to friendship.
Don’t you wish there was a GPS app when writing or illustrating a picture book? A few directions to help you find the right turns on the long wandering journey would be nice. Often you travel down a road that ultimately doesn’t work and end up going in the opposite direction. This was what I experienced with A FRIEND FOR MOLE (published by Peachtree Publishers March 2016).
Many times I develop drawings of characters before there is a complete story. Unfortunately you can fall in love with a character and build a story around them before realizing you are in the wrong lane. The original title of my book was A FRIEND FOR WOLF. I was charmed his “bad boy wolf” image that hurt his ability to make friends. His solution was to hide who he was by wearing costumes. But everyone he met saw through his disguises, except for a mole who had bad eyesight. The story went through many rounds of revisions and critique group vetting until the manuscript/dummy seemed ready for submission.
Rejection emails came back. Many commented that there were already too many misunderstood wolf stories out there, so my story was bringing nothing new to the party. One kind editor took the time to ask if I would consider flipping the storyline. That is, make mole the center of the story.
It was harder than I expected to retool my characters. What was the new arc to the story? Then I remembered something my son had told me: “Everyone is scared of something. Sometimes it helps if you have a friend when you are scared.” I explored the idea of mole venturing outside his burrow and suddenly becoming scared of the light because he had spent all his life in dark tunnels. Wolf on the other hand would be scared of the dark. The two could accidently meet and find that their strengths combined would help them overcome their fears. After many drafts, it was still not right. It didn’t make sense that a big wolf would be scared of the dark and have a friend like mole. Wouldn’t he rather eat him? I realized that Wolf needed to be much younger. This is where research helped. Wolf pups start taking short trips outside their den when they’re 3 weeks old, but don’t start eating meat until 2 months. Back to the drawing board to create a young wolf who might need the help of an unexpected friend like mole.
The road to publication for A FRIEND FOR MOLE has had many twists and turns. There is unfortunately no magic GPS to help guide you in your writing, but if you stick with it, you’ll get it right.
BIO: Nancy Armo is a former art director at Hewlett-Packard. She recently moved to Long Island, NY with her family where there are lots of moles happily digging in her garden. Nancy was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link.
Congratulation, Nancy! Love the book. Wishing you lots of luck with it.