Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Giveaway and Interview with Picture Book Writer Kirsti Call ~ by Christy Mihaly

A big GROG welcome to picture book author Kirsti Call. Kirsti is offering a signed ARC (advance copy) of her forthcoming picture book, Mootilda's Bad Mood ... just comment and/or tweet to be entered in our giveaway (details below)! 

   GROG:  Welcome, Kirsti! I know that in addition to writing, you co-host the new Picture Book Look podcast, and you're a Cybils judge and co-coordinator of Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo). 
    Before we talk about your books, please tell us a little about ReFoReMo. What does it involve, and why should GROG readers participate?

    Kirsti: ReFoReMo was originally Carrie Charley Brown’s idea, and when she asked me to join in on the fun, I was thrilled. We had both judged for the Cybils awards, which helped us understand how reading great books helps us write great books. Paying attention to what I love about a story, and attempting to add those elements into my own stories, is one of my favorite ways to improve my writing. We wanted to share that with others.

Well, thanks to you and ReFoReMo for sharing all those mentor text insights. What more should our readers know about ReFoReMo?
    Kirsti: ReFoReMo is not only for writers, but for librarians, teachers, and kids. Though we post every Tuesday all year long, March is our challenge month. That's when authors, educators, librarians, agents and editors share insights and favorite mentor texts that we can read and learn from. 

ReFoReMo is a great resource for anyone who loves picture books. Now, what can you tell us about judging the Cybils?

A: For the last six years, I’ve read all 300-ish nominated picture books for the Cybils award over a two-month period. This picture book overload totally helps me understand the market, what editors love, and what I love about picture books.

Read, read, read, right? Kirsti, you're also a marriage and family therapist. Does that work give you story ideas or otherwise inform your children's books?

Kirsti: I love using bibliotherapy in my work as a therapist. Reading and discussing books in therapy helps people process and heal. This work definitely influences my stories and what I write. In fact, if you read my forthcoming picture book, Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Sept. 1, 2020, Little Bee), you'll notice a very obvious connection between the story and my work as a therapist. 

Spread from Mootilda: "We're in a bad mooooooood!"
Mootilda's Bad Mood is co-written with Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Claudia Ranucci. It's about a cow in a bad mood. Where did this fun idea come from?

   Kirsti: Corey and I joke about her being in a bad mood and me being in a good mood all the time.  We thought it would be fun to take that dynamic and explore how a cow in a bad mood would approach life ... and overcome all the cow-tastrophes that make her feel worse and worse. 

Uh-oh, cow-pun alert!! Kirsti, how does the co-writing process work differently from solo writing?

   Kirsti: Corey and I have written many manuscripts together. In fact, we have another book coming out in the fall of 2021 with Little Brown. It’s called "Cold Turkey!" Writing together involves lots of texts and messaging in google docs and talking on the phone. It’s a much more social than writing solo.

  Big congratulations on Mootilda, Kirsti (and Corey and Claudia). I'm sorry, though, about the timing.
How have you been promoting your new book in the midst of the covid-19 closures and cancellations?
Book Launch in the Time of Covid (Sept.5)

Kirsti: Little Bee is planning a virtual book tour that we’re excited to participate in. We have a couple of virtual events coming up on Sept. 5 at The Writing Barn, and Sept. 8 at An Unlikely Story. We’re also considering a socially distanced book launch at a farm featuring cows and ice-cream. We’ve created some digital assets that we’ll be offering with pre-sales. In fact ...

** ALERT! GROG Bonus! **  

... if any GROG readers pre-order Mootilda, they can DM me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to receive a signed bookplate, sticker, and mood-o-meter coloring page. 

We’re trying to be creative in these uncertain times. But one thing I am certain of, "Mootilda's Bad Mood" is something that will resonate with many people given the pandemic.

    These days it takes extra imagination and energy to get our books into readers' hands. Good luck with your launch! What else would you like GROG readers to know about you and your books?

    Kirsti: I’m super excited about another book that’s coming out with HMH in March—Cow Says Meow. I’m not certain why all of my upcoming books feature farm animals, but I do have a pair of cow shoes I can wear for each release date! 
Kirsti Call (whose cow shoe [and foot] appears below) is the co-host of the new Picture Book Look podcast and co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She reads, reviews, revises and critiques every day as an "elf" for the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, a blogger for Writer's Rumpus, and a critique group member. She's judged the Cybils award for fiction picture books since 2015. Kirsti has a picture book, MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD (Little Bee) coming in the fall of 2020. COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) release in 2021. Kirsti is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.

For the GIVEAWAY: 

Your name will be entered for a chance to win Kirsti's signed ARC if you: 
(1) comment on this post (below) explaining why you'd like to win the ARC.
(2) tweet about this post, mentioning GROG and Kirsti Call, and tag me (@CMwriter4kids). 
Do both to get two chances!

We'll draw the winning name and post it on the GROG post next week. Good luck!

And remember, if you pre-order Mootilda's Bad Mood, contact Kirsti to get your swag. 

Find her here:
@kirsticall (Instagram)
Kirstine Erekson Call (Facebook)
@kirsticall (Twitter)

Thanks for visiting GROG! 
(And don't forget to leave a comment ...) 
Christy Mihaly


  1. Who knew cows could be so much fun?! Love it! Interesting interview!

    1. Thanks, Beth! And here's to cow power!

    2. Thanks Beth! and Christy, thanks to you Christy for featuring me!

  2. Love this post and MOOTILDA! I already have a copy, so if I win, please pass the book on to a classroom near you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your divine bovine book deets! Congrats!

  4. Wonderful interview - even thought I've virtually known Kirsti for years (and we even met at NEWSCBI a few years back), I learned so much. Kidlit is lucky to have you! Good luck with the MOOTILDA launch!

    1. Yay! Love connecting virtually: ) Thank you <3

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! I loved hearing what Kirsti had to say.

  5. I look forward to any books by this moovelous duo!! Can't wait! Congratulations to Kirsti Call, Corey Rosen Schwartz, and Claudia Ranucci.

  6. Great interview! I love how all facets of your life intertwine. I know my firsties would love this book!

    1. Thanks for your comment! (Please let us know who you are, so we can enter you into our ARC drawing!)

  7. Mootilda is sure to change a frown into a smile if one is having a bad mood day.

    I love your shoes, Kirsti! They mooove me!

  8. Thanks for this, Suzy -- aren't those shoes just the best?

  9. Amazing due "Kirsti, Cirey, Claudia".
    I personally know this beautiful and inspiring person "Kirsti Call". I am looking forward to get 3 copies for my little ones ages 4 to 6. I am sure they will enjoy "MATILDE'S BAD MOOOOOOD". I can't wait to have them, and introduce this amazing characters to my loving family. Kirsti I enjoy your contagious smile and your cow shoes hahaha.

  10. Kirsti - I love the title and cover of your book. I read aloud to second grade students but it will be virtual this year. It would be great to read your book to my students. Stay well and congratulations on all of your upcoming books.

  11. I would love to read your ARC and support your writing journey. Your stories look wonderful. Congratulations!

    1. Jennifer, thanks for reading GROG (and picture books) and good luck with our drawing!

  12. What a fun post! Can't wait to get my copy of this delightful book and know the smiles and giggles will continue. Moo-velous interview! Thanks to all.

  13. Okay, all -- last chance to comment for a chance to win Kirsti's ARC. Drawing will be tomorrow. Thanks, everyone.

  14. Oh, looks like I missed it! But can't wait to read this one anyway! Congrats Kristi and Corey! :)