Celebrating friends is kinda the best.
Katrina Moore and I opened an elementary school 6 years ago. I still remember going out to lunch with colleagues over the summer prior to the school's inaugural year and being introduced to Katrina as "a fellow author" that I should meet. Little did I know this connection would be so lasting.
Katrina independently published a book with Tate Publishing called So Long, Gnop-Jiye and we actually even talked about it on the podcast (way back in February of 2014 when the podcast was still branded the Let's Get Busy podcast). Have a listen to Episode 38 if interested.
Five years and 450 podcast episodes later, Katrina has a traditionally published book debuting this year and asked if I might be interested in hosting the cover reveal.
Of course I said "YES!"
I invited Katrina to finish my sentences. After reading her responses, scroll down for a look at the cover.
KATRINA FINISHES MY SENTENCES:
The idea for ONE HUG came from.. wanting to explore and celebrate how powerful and transformative one connection could be—how one hug connects us uniquely, yet universally.
At its heart—it’s about one hug connecting us in ways that sometimes words cannot. Like the overwhelming joy that one feels when reunited with their far-away family after a long separation. Or that comforting hug from a sibling that soothes us more than a thousand “it’s okays” ever could.
In the story... a young boy discovers many different kinds of hugs and ways to show love as family members prepare to welcome his immigrant relatives from China. Upon first read, this book is a fun, rhythmic, easy read aloud that’s perfect for bedtime—celebrating summer nights, simple pleasures, and the people we love. The narration is told through the illustrations, which really empowers the reader to make sense of the story. “Who are these characters? What are they doing? Why are they celebrating?” Children, as astute as they are, will notice across-cultural family dinner, an immigrant family reunion, and three generations of a family celebrating love.
Hugging is... the way I can tell my grandma, who doesn’t speak English, how much I love her. It’s the way I can show my kids that they’re going to be okay when they get a boo-boo. It’s the way I can express how much I’ve missed my mom when I haven’t seen her for a while. Hugging is one of the most transformative ways that we can connect with each other. Each embrace can express so many different emotions—excitement, comfort, love.
I love getting hugs from lots of different people, but my favorite hugs... come from my toddler. When I pick him up from school, he topples over toys, runs full speed towards me and bundles me in the biggest bear hug. Knowing *that* hug is coming at the end of a very long work day keeps me going. To me, that hug says, “I love you. I’ve missed you. I’m happy to see you!”
I also love to snuggle up with my pups, one husband, two kids, and three or more books in one big heap by the fire. It’s the coziest kind of hug!
And just like that we have a COVER!
Those fireflies are looping all around and it looks like the children pictured are having so much fun collecting them, but what my eye is drawn to over and over is the juxtaposition of looping fireflies and the loop of the letter "O" in the title. It's as if all of this round and round is drawing our characters closer and closer together. And, in this case, that togetherness is across generations. It will be nice to hug our readers close as we read to them at bedtimes and story times.
I'm looking forward to sharing this one with my own readers this December!
Thanks for sharing, Katrina! And thanks, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books!
ONE HUG will publish on December 10, 2019 from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.