Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!
Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators.
Congratulations to A. Kidd on the release of Yasuko and the Dream Eater
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I was actually trying to find a cool mythical creature for a novel I was writing. My husband, who is Japanese and grew up in Japan, mentioned the dream eater: an animal made up of different animal parts that eats bad dreams. It sounded so unique that I thought it deserved its own book! My story idea changed a lot over time. I started out with a scary dream eater, like a monster under the bed, but decided that is not what kids needed to help them with their nightmares. Yasuko originally flew kites with her family instead of making origami. But I realized that origami had much more potential for fitting into the theme of one thing changing into another. Yasuko was also originally Japanese and grew up in Japan. But I decided that the story would be much more authentic if Yasuko was half-Japanese, like my own daughter.
What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope young readers will feel brave enough to face their own bad dreams and discover how to turn their nightmares into something positive, with a little help from a lovable dream eater. And for anyone struggling with identity, I hope they can learn to feel proud of their background, especially if it is multicultural.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Getting the cultural aspects right. I really went to great lengths to ensure that I was expressing appreciation and respect for the Japanese culture and its folklore. I also wanted to make sure the story showed that even though Yasuko was struggling with certain aspects of the Japanese culture that were unfamiliar to her, that her grandmother was always a loving and reassuring presence in her life. They just had to learn how to connect.
What are your marketing plans for the book?
I will be reading at my daughter’s Japanese immersion school in Livonia as well as having a book launch at Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 27th at 6:15pm. I will visit Berkley Public Library for summer reading, offering an interactive storytime program and craft on Wed. July 19 at 2pm. I will offer a storytime reading at the Belle Isle Aquarium Koi Festival on Saturday May 6 at 1pm and 3pm (event is 12-4) in honor of Japanese Children’s Day. You can check my website and Facebook page for additional events.
What's next for you?
I’m currently revising a young adult novel, which is an environmental sci-fi in dual perspective. I also have a Valentine’s Day themed picture book about ocean life in the works. Many children have asked for a sequel to The Healing Star, especially if it features more antics from Julia’s farting dog, Pete. How can I not honor such a comical and stinky request?
A little bit about the book . . .
Yasuko loves making paper airplanes with her parents in the US. When she visits her grandmother in Japan, everything seems different, including folding the complicated origami crane. She starts having the same bad dream every night, so her grandmother suggests she call the dream eater for help. The dream eater devours Yasuko’s nightmare but is still hungry. Will Yasuko be able to stop it from gobbling up her good dream too?
Publisher: Quiet Storm Publishing LLC
A little bit about the author . . .
A. Kidd lives in the US but has travelled to Japan many times to visit family and for sightseeing. Japan feels like her second home. Although she dreams often, she hasn’t needed to call the baku yet. A. Kidd is also the author of the middle grade fantasy, The Healing Star. Find out more about her at https://www.akiddwrites.com/.
Facebook author page: @a.kiddwrites