Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!
Where we celebrate new books by Michigan's children's book authors and illustrators
Q#1: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Like many things in my life, I owe my mom a big thank you for this book. Knowing what a nature lover I am, she asked me if I had heard about what was going on in the tops of redwood trees. She’d seen a National Geographic documentary on tree researcher, Dr. Steve Sillett climbing the tallest tree ever found and thought it was fascinating. I watched it and totally agreed with her. Until he and a team of researchers (including his scientist-wife) began to climb and measure these monster-sized trees, we didn’t know about the coast redwood canopy so high off the ground. Someone said that coast redwood tree canopies are like a coral reef in the sky and after spending many years learning about this ecosystem, I totally agree.
Q#2: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Finding the best way to tell the story! Researching takes time but is analytical and straightforward. Figuring out the right narrative structure for this story added a few wrinkles to my forehead. Ultimately, I wanted something that felt fresh and memorable, exciting but not scary, and made use of as few perfect words as possible.
Q#3: Tell us what you hope readers will experience or learn while reading your book.
I hope this book nudges children into believing they can be stewards of the natural world. Even very young children can learn to care for plants and animals, the air we breathe and the water we drink. This book could be the door opening into that understanding. Susan Swan’s appealing illustrations bring the text to a completely new level and I couldn’t be happier with how she expanded and made real this special world.
Q#4: Who is your author idol and how have they influenced your work?
Hard question, Book Birthday Blog! I have many idols. In the children’s book world, I’ll say Steve Jenkins and Caldecott honoree and wife Robin Page for their ability to appreciate something unique in the everyday natural world and share it with young readers in an engaging format. Their picture book WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A TAIL LIKE THAT? is a great example. In the adult world, Mary Roach, author of STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS (and other oddball nonfiction) for her bravery to choose a complex and in this case, morbid subject and have the talent to write it with enough humor that I chortled aloud many times while reading.
Q#5: What are your marketing plans for your book? Where can we find it?
STRETCH TO THE SUN is available for pre-order now through your favorite indie bookstore as well as online through traditional book retailers. It will be on bookstore shelves on October 9. I’m working closely with the publisher, Charlesbridge, to arrange visits with libraries, bookstores, and schools to share the love. My tours in Michigan and San Francisco are shown on my website (www.carriepearsonbooks.com) with more visits being added. I can’t wait to see how children respond to this world!
A little bit about the book:
The tallest known tree on earth, a coast redwood, is located in Redwood National Park in northern California. More than twelve hundred years old, it is approximately 380 feet tall--and still growing!
The tree in this book sprouted, flourished, and survived ecological threats for over twelve hundred years before being discovered by tall-tree researchers in 2006. Through careful investigation, researchers have learned coast redwood trees provide a unique ecosystem for many plants and animals in their canopies including the endangered marbled murrelet that nests within. Over the years, many people have worked to save old-growth coast redwood forests and this tree barely survived extensive logging nearby. We now know coast redwoods capture more carbon dioxide from our cars, trucks and power plants than any other tree on earth and transform carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe. The tree's location is kept secret to protect it.
Through lush and engaging illustrations and rich vocabulary, readers will learn about the life of this magnificent treeand develop a larger appreciation for the natural world.
A little bit about the author:
Carrie Pearson feels that being a children’s book author represents the best merger of her education, occupations, and passion. She holds a BA in early childhood education, taught at University of Michigan’s preschool and then moved into the business world for 15+ years. From her office in Marquette, she is now a full-time writer for children and owner of a consulting business in the children’s book industry that focuses on preparing writers to connect with the right agent. She is Michigan’s co-regional advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is represented by Kelly Sonnack at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Her first two books were published by Arbordale and are nature nonfiction picture books. Her third, with Charlesbridge, is also a nature nonfiction picture book about the world’s tallest tree. Her next book is a picture book biography about the awesome Dr. Virginia Apgar, the inventor of the most important test ever given, and she has several nonfiction and fiction projects in the works. Carrie would love to connect with you on Twitter- @carrieapearson, Pinterest- carrieapearson, and through her website www.carriepearsonbooks.com.