Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 18, 2019

BOOK GIVEAWAY: OLIVER: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute

Author Josh Crute has a new picture book published by Page Street Kids. It is titled, OLIVER: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth and It is available in bookstores now. Josh has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Josh!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This story tackles the familiar feeling of being in someone’s shadow―in a hilarious and endearing way. Readers will be able to relate to Oliver as he stretches his limbs in winter, lifts logs in spring, soaks up the sun in summer, and munches on mulch in autumn, trying to grow big enough to be noticed. Set in Sequoia National Forest, this story will appeal to national park visitors as well as kids who love nature and clever humor.

The bright and playful art brings the giant sequoias to life, and the interactions between the trees and furry forest buddies add subtle―and sometimes not-so-subtle―humor. Readers will want to join in on the fun and visit Oliver, Sherman, and all their friends in Sequoia National Forest.

BOOK JOURNEY:

I first met Oliver while on vacation with my family in Sequoia National Park. We were admiring the General Sherman Tree—famous for being the largest living thing on earth—when I noticed another sequoia, just off to the side, who wasn’t that much smaller, nor that much shorter, yet nobody seemed to notice him as they raced past to see Sherman. A character immediately popped into my mind and I began joking about him with my family. Who was he? Was he jealous next to such an illustrious neighbor? Suddenly, the first eight lines of the book popped into my head and I typed them into my phone before I could lose them…

And there they stayed for several months.

Why?

Because, at the time, I had no intention of being a picture book writer!

I was a film school graduate, living in Los Angeles, trying to make it as a writer and director. After two years of being more “starving” than “artist,” I finally reached a breaking point. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep this lifestyle up in ten years, but my body said, “Bruh, you can’t keep this up tomorrow.” A gnarly anxiety attack put me in the hospital and forced me to change directions for good.

So what new direction would that be? I woke up after the hospital visit and took stock of my surroundings:

1) I was working in the children’s department of a bookstore, and knew it was something I enjoyed doing.

2) I had recently worked as a writing tutor for kids, and discovered I was pretty good at it.

3) My mom often said that I should write books for kids (and moms are usually right about these kind of things).

4) I had already been working on a couple of picture books (including Oliver) for fun.I decided to put movies aside and throw everything into writing children’s books. While I recuperated with my family, I wrote the rest of Oliver.

When I finished the draft, I thought it was terrible! Oh well, I thought, At least I finished it. I set it aside and moved on to new ideas. A few months later, I asked a published friend if I could get coffee with him. He was super generous and even agreed to look at a few of my manuscripts. I almost didn’t take Oliver because I thought it was so bad, but at the last second, I stuffed it into my backpack. After looking at the first couple manuscripts, he was pleasant, but not very enthusiastic. Then I said, “Wait, I’ve got one more.” He read Oliver, and the air changed. “Keep working on this one,” he insisted.

I took his advice, and a few months later, I showed it to an editor friend. She loved it and was kind enough to pass it along to some of her industry friends. It dropped onto a desk at the brand new Page Street Kids, they hired the amazing John Taesoo Kim to illustrate it and bring it to life, and here I am today, stunned and stoked that I get to do this as a career instead of making movies (I wouldn’t change it for the world). I even got to do the launch party at the bookstore I used to work at, to seats packed full of the same friends who had helped me during all the difficult moments prior! Just like Oliver, I learned it’s nice not to be alone.

JOSH’S BIO:

Josh Crute is a debut children’s book author. He was born by the bays of Maryland, grew up on the beaches of Florida, lived on the coasts of California, and now resides in the hills of Alabama. When he isn’t writing at home or making movies with his friends, you can spot him in his native habitats, the public library and local bookstore. He is smaller than most trees, but larger than most squirrels.

Thank you Josh for sharing your book and journey with us. Teachers, parents, and kids should love this book. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Oh my, this is already looks like a favourite book! And I adore the illustrations! Thanks for sharing this story:-)

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  2. this looks so cute and has a wonderful message –

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  3. Amazing that a project like this can change your whole life. Glad you’re on the mend and you have something inspiring to help you through. This book looks like it has a very unique voice. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. This idea. Yay you for writing it. Good luck to you!

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  5. Congratulations on OLIVER’s publication, Josh! He sounds like a well-written, endearing and original character who takes on multiple child-, no, human-centered worries. Plus, his story reminds us of our beautiful national treasures, the redwoods, during a time when eyes and ears are focused far away. Page Street picked just the right illustrator, too. I can’t wait to see your book!

    Like

  6. Congratulations on your debut book! It looks like a really fun, informative and heart-filled story! I look forward to reading it!

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  7. Fantastic book that combines nonfiction and fiction to deliver a great message to kids. Congratulations to Josh, John, and Page Street!

    Like

  8. I love the humor of this and look forward to reading it!! Congratulations on such a fun book, Josh Crute and John Taesoo Kim!!

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  9. Oh my goodness! This sounds like the perfect book for my classroom. Not only does it sound fun, but I LOVE the approach to “creative nonfiction” represented here.

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  10. Kathy – I shared on Twitter and Facebook: https://twitter.com/kpfenni/status/1097558421761675265 /
    https://www.facebook.com/kimpfenni1

    Like

  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. This sounds great! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  13. Thanks for sharing Oliver’s backstory. I’m curious if you included any back matter.

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  14. Fabulous idea! Can’t wait to read this story!!

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  15. This story looks delightful.

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  16. Having been to Sequoia Nat Pk, I think this idea is simply brilliant and inspired. Congrats, Josh! I am looking forward to reading this book.

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  17. Oh my gosh, Josh, I love this premise and can’t wait to read your book. What a fun way to expose kids to sequoias, humor, and friendship.
    Kathy, great interview. I shared on FB & Twitter.

    Like

  18. This book loos fantastic! Huge congratulations to Josh. 🎉🎉🎉 I cant wait to read this to my class! 😀

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  19. Congrats on your new book. Loved reading your road to publication.

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  20. I hear you, Oliver!!!

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  21. […] via BOOK GIVEAWAY: OLIVER: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute […]

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  22. Oliver! I look forward to reading your story and visiting you some day in California. Thank you, Josh, for telling Oliver’s story.

    I shared this post on my WordPress & Facebook accounts. I also shared a tweet on Twitter and a post on LinkedIn.

    Like

  23. Josh, Oliver looks wonderful. Congratulations!

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  24. This sounds like a wonderful PB. I will definitely be checking this out. Thanks for telling me about it and sharing Josh’s journey.

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  25. Hi Josh, your book is on my desk already! I love your funny and unique approach to this topic. It’s dear to my heart because I wrote STRETCH TO THE SUN: FROM A TINY SPROUT TO THE TALLEST TREE ON EARTH which is a nonfiction PB about –you guessed it–the tallest tree. I use your book in school visits to show how a similar topic can be approached in different ways. I’m watching for your next project!

    Like

  26. What a great story! Congrats!

    Like

  27. Congrats Josh! I love the premise and artwork and theme! I can’t wait to read it.

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  28. What a fresh, clever book! And I LOVE the “success story” 😀 Congrats, Josh!

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  29. I love a good anthropomorphic-ed tree, especially a big one!

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  30. I’m pretty sure I met Oliver the last time I was at Sequoia National Forest 🙂 Congratulations, Josh. This sounds like a super great book!

    Like

  31. Cheers to Oliver! Congratulations Josh!

    Like

  32. Oh my goodness! How adorable! And such a great topic!

    Like


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