Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 6, 2021

Book Giveaway: LITTLE SOCK MAKES A FRIEND by Kia Heise & Christopher D. Park

Chris Park and Kia Heise have written and illustrated a new picture book, LITTLE SOCK MAKES A FRIEND published by Sleeping Bear Press. It is available in bookstores now. SBP has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Chris and Kia.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Little Sock lives in a drawer with other socks. But sometimes late at night, he escapes through a secret tunnel in the back of the dryer to go to Sock City, a marvelous place where everything is new and exciting. Little Sock loves to visit Sock City but sometimes it can be lonely, especially when it looks like everyone else has a friend. Is it hard to make a friend? And how does one be a good friend?

When we first set out to write and illustrate a children’s book we had no idea how the process worked. Kia, my wife, was no stranger to writing. As an academic, she’s written and edited countless papers, articles, and books. At the time I had over 10 years of experience as a freelance illustrator. I had done all kinds of work, from infographics and design to character concepts and board game illustration. However, despite our experience I look back and chuckle at how green and naïve we both were.

We started writing Little Sock together almost on a whim. I remember we thought to ourselves, let’s just write and illustrate a children’s book together. If it doesn’t ever get published, who cares, we can cross it off our bucket list. So we sat down together in our cramped apartment in LA and started brainstorming ideas. We really just wanted to have fun and begin with a goofy idea. I’m not sure exactly how or why we decided to write about missing socks, though Kia has a knack for anthropomorphizing objects. We did know that we wanted a strong central character. Someone who exhibited the qualities of a child, both good and bad, but also someone who is brave and fearless and rises above their own fears. Kia claimed, whoever the character, they must have agency, they must show children that they have the power to make their own decisions.

Once the first couple of drafts were revised, I went about creating the look and feel of a brand new character and world.

Little Sock went through various transformations but I knew that he be at least two things: He must be little, and he must be expressive. The first one was easy, the second not so much.

How do you make a sock expressive? How do you take the very non-human shape of a sock and give it human-like qualities and emotions? Luckily I recalled my art school days and the lessons I had learned while taking a children’s book class taught by none other than Mary GrandPré (…she did the covers for the Harry Potter books).

After countless designs Little Sock’s character started to emerge. He was small and tiny but exhibited some very big and complex emotions. In my view he was everything a child seemed to be. I never liked the idea of simplifying the mind of a child. I still remember how creative and complex play time was with my brother as a child and I had also seen this same complexity in my niece and nephew. Now that I have my own children I am constantly reminded of how thoughtful and complex their emotions are.Designing the other characters in Sock City was the most fun I had creating the book. I knew that in order for the ‘sock citizens’ to feel relatable and humorous I needed to draw from real life examples. So I ventured out with my sketchbook to parks, bars, restaurants and started sketching people. I took notice of all the different shapes we have as humans. There is such a beautiful variety of people in the world that I was never bored. I took those sketches home and started exploring various shapes and designs of characters. This was not an easy task. The challenge: How do you take a recognizable shape, a sock, and make it look different but still recognizable? Sketching real life people and studying their subtle and obvious differences was key to me figuring out a solution.

The book was finished and we actually ran a small print run, 20 or so, to hand out to editors at trade shows. At the time, and to give you a sense of how green I was, I had no idea what a dummy book was. Of course, most publishers either passed or were so confused at the presentation of the book that they didn’t know what to make of our proposal. Fortunately I ended up meeting the owner of Cherry Lake / Sleeping Bear Press, Ben Mondloch, at BEA (BookExpo America) in NYC. We had some casual banter and eventually I had enough courage to get a copy of our book in front of him. For whatever reason he liked it and told me he would pass it onto his editors. I was cautiously optimistic as I knew this was not how book deals get made.

But, of course, the editors at Sleeping Bear saw some potential and decided to publish our first children’s book. What a strange ride.

Here is the cover of the first book LITTEL SOCK:

We were eventually encouraged and commissioned to write and illustrate a second book, Little Sock Makes a Friend. It was much easier to write a sequel as most of the heavy lifting, such as concept and character designs had been done. Now the challenge was to make the story work as standalone book and also continue a story. At this point I relied heavily on the advice from the designers and editors at Sleeping Bear. With their input, Kia and I felt confident we could follow up with an even better story than the first.

We loved creating Little Sock Makes a Friend. We thought it was important to continue the themes of SEL (social and emotional learning) that the first book touched on. We also decided that the next challenge for Little Sock was to experience his favorite place, Sock City, with someone new. But first, he would have to navigate his emotions about making a new friend. Kia and I are not the most social people, we tend to spend a lot of time together exclusively, which is great when you’re working on a project together but it makes us very insular. That said, making new friends is scary as a child, but making them as an adult is, in my opinion, equally scary. Especially now after a Pandemic and living in a socially distant world, re-learning how to interact casually seems like a challenge. We hope that our books and Little Sock’s bravery can help children and maybe even some adults to remember to relax, breathe and head out to face a new world and make new friends.

Kia and I would like to thank Kathy for the wonderful opportunity to share this story. We would also like to thank our dedicated editors and designer at Sleeping Bear Press and, of course, our readers both big and little! C + K

CHRISTOPHER’S BIO:


Responses

  1. how very cute!

    Like

  2. What a interesting story behind the story. We enjoyed the first LITTLE SOCK. Congratulations on the sequel. (Share on Twitter. I receive daily emails.

    Like

  3. Congrats, Chris and Kia! (I’m signed up for the emails.)

    Like

  4. Little Sock and Little Sock Makes A Friend sound delightful, Christopher & Kia! Congratulations!

    Like

  5. This sounds so sweet and kid-friendly -congrats! I can’t wait to read it!

    Like

  6. Love the journey you took us on to get Little Sock published. Now, Little Sock is on its own journey. Thank you. And yes, Kathy, I am a long time subscriber.

    Like

  7. This sounds delightfully cute! Congratulations!

    Like

  8. This book looks like so much fun. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1390360912268206083, and shared: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772159191036/
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Like

  9. Sounds so cute!

    I subscribe.

    Like

  10. Congratulations on your new book. A sequel is a wonderful honor.

    Like

  11. This book is so bright and fun. Kids of all ages are going to love reading this, including me. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570620215294279584

    Like

  12. Cute! Congratulations!

    Like

  13. My kind of book. I love inanimate objects!

    Like

  14. This post makes me smile – I can’t wait to read all about Little Sock!
    (follower)

    Like

  15. How cute and creative! Congrats on this book!

    Like

  16. Very cute! We all know a lost sock. Or several lost socks. Congratulations!

    I will Tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂

    Like


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