On Friday, I had the privilege of attending KidLitCon 2019 in Providence, RI. It was my first time attending a writing conference of any kind, as well as my first appearance on an author panel. I'm happy to report that the whole experience was absolutely fantastic! The conference had a cozy, intimate vibe as authors, illustrators, librarians and educators packed Hotel Providence, a beautiful boutique hotel downtown. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and it was exciting to meet so many passionate kidlit champions and makers. It was also great to meet (in real life!) many of the authors I've connected with through social media over the past two years. And I had a blast talking science and writing process and books with fellow authors Anita Sanchez, Sara Levine, Heidi Fiedler, and Jason Viola (with moderator Paula Willey!) at the STEM panel. All in all, a truly memorable experience. Thank you to conference co-organizers Charlotte Taylor and Mia Wenjen for inviting me to participate. I look forward to finding out where the next KidLitCon will be!
Tonight, I had the pleasure of joining my fellow Notable 19 authors for our first group Twitter chat. The host? Kidlit luminary Matthew Winner! The hour-long chat was frenetic and exhilarating, a non-stop outpouring of inspiration that taught me so much. I feel very thankful to be sharing this debut-year journey with such incredible talents! Check out what we all said by searching for the #Notable19s hashtag.
With great diversity comes great responsibility. Or does it? What exactly is that responsibility? And am I fulfilling it? I tackle these questions of existential author dread in a blog post for the Notable 19s. You can read my potentially coherent ramblings here!
It’s here: the official cover reveal for Red Rover! I’m overjoyed to finally be able to show off some of illustrator Katherine Roy’s gorgeous art for this book. And believe me, this cover is just the tip of the Martian iceberg of what’s inside. The first pre-order link is now live, so click here to get a copy delivered to your door on October 29. And please continue following us on the journey to Red Rover’s launch!
Book announcements are great fun. But as an author, I'm essentially limited to a palette of plain text. Illustrators, on the other hand...
To wit, I wandered over to Lost illustrator Jessica Lanan's website to admire her incredible art, and was delighted to find her announcement of our book... along with a sketch. And yeah, I'm pretty sure I just fell in love with a cardboard box.
Check out the announcement and the rest of her website here, and be sure to pre-order her upcoming book, Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet. A picture book about exoplanets? Sign me up!
So excited to announce that my second picture book, Lost, has found a home! And it's a familiar one! Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan (the same publisher as my debut, Red Rover) will send this book into the world in fall 2020. The story follows the journey of a lost package through the mail system, and is a heartfelt tip of the hat to my dad, a United States Postal Service veteran who retired a few years ago after a 30+ year career. More great news: incredible illustrator Jessica Lanan will be bringing the story to life! I'm overjoyed to work with my awesome editor Emily Feinberg again, and thanks are due (as always) to super-agent Emily Mitchell for making this happen. Official announcement below, and more details soon!
I'm proud to be a member of Notable 19, a group of super-talented, super-supportive picture book authors and author-illustrators whose debuts are slated for 2019. More information about us, our books, our appearances, and our blogworthy thoughts on all things kidlit can be found at our just-launched website! (Banner art by group member Cassandra Federman.)
Next March, I'll be attending KidLitCon 2019 in Providence, RI. This will be my first writing conference (ever!), and I am off-the-charts excited. I'm also off-the-charts nervous, because I've been invited to participate in a panel! How this newbie author managed to finagle his way onto a panel with such esteemed names as Sy Montgomery, Anita Silvey, Anita Sanchez, and Nancy Castaldo is anyone's guess. But hey, I'll take it! Here's the official announcement.
It's real, and I can finally talk about it: I'm thrilled to announce that I've sold my first children's book! It's a picture book titled Red Rover, to be published by Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan in fall 2019. Most exciting of all: it will be illustrated by the amazingly talented Katherine Roy! I'm so thrilled to work with Katherine, our awesome editor Emily Feinberg, and the whole Roaring Brook team. And of course, I'm grateful to my incredible agent Emily Mitchell for making this happen. Official announcement below, and more details soon...
Henry is the reason I'm here.
Online. Writing a post on my own author website. Basking in the warmth, wonder and wisdom of this wonderful kidlit community which I'm blessed to have recently joined. Henry was the inspiration for it all.
But he's not a child, or a favorite teacher, or a fictional character from some beloved book that shaped my childhood.
Henry was a hedgehog.
I say "was" because—spoiler alert—he died over a year ago. He lived with us for almost four years, a good old age for hedgehogs. My wife and I wanted a pet after we got married, but we didn't think we had sufficient space for a dog or cat. (Mind you, we're still in the same apartment, but now with two kids. Turns out space is what you make of it!) So we opted for a hedgehog because:
Easily one of the best decisions we ever made. Henry joined our family and stole our hearts, and I developed a penchant for showing pictures of him to everybody I knew. One day at work, a colleague approached me and suggested that Henry could star in his own picture book. She should know—she illustrates children's books on the side!
Her words got me thinking. I write for young students every day at my job, but the idea of writing children's books never once crossed my mind. And yet, the timing was right for a creative epiphany. Children's literature had recently stormed back into my life, thanks to a precocious toddler at home who loves being read to.
Toddler. Illustrator. Hedgehog. A perfect storm of inspiration.
So I decided to give it a try. That very week, I wrote my first picture book manuscript, starring Henry. The illustrator even worked up some sketches. That story never progressed further, but it reignited my passion for children's books and set me on the path to where I am now.
Everything that followed that initial spark—dozens of manuscripts; countless queries; signing with a dream agent; having my work considered by editors and publishers I adore and admire—can be traced back to our spiky friend.
So thank you, Henry. I hope to see you again someday, perhaps in the pages of a book that will inspire more than just its author.
Thanks for visiting the official site of Richard Ho, author of books for children. I'll be posting news and information about my books right here, so please feel free to look around, and stay tuned for updates!