Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Susan Kralovansky on the publication of two new picture books, the bilingual The Book That Jake Borrowed / El libro que Jake tomo prestado and We Really, Really Want a Dog! Susan wrote and illustrated them both; Katherine Adams served as translator for the former. The two books were released by Pelican Publishing on February 22nd.
The Book That Jake Borrowed / El libro que Jake tomo prestado, the new bilingual edition of Susan’s picture book originally published in 2018, is a cumulative tale about an escalating series of hilarious misfortunes surrounding an ill-fated library book. In describing the process of turning The Book That Jake Borrowed into a bilingual picture book, Susan has this to say: “After putting your heart and soul into your wonderful story, I actually feel like the biggest hurdle is selling the editor on you and your idea. During a presentation at an SCBWI workshop, I told participants to ask their editor to consider publishing a bilingual version of their book—something I hadn’t yet done but was now committed to doing. I believe in the power of a strong persuasive letter. I also believe in the power of believing in your project. I don’t remember the entire letter, but I do remember mentioning the sales numbers of The Book That Jake Borrowed, that librarians need this book every fall, the number of bilingual classrooms across the US, and the necessity of a bilingual version of the book. And luckily, my editor agreed.”
We Really, Really Want a Dog! tells the story of two siblings who want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter. The book “went through several versions and even more revisions before I came up with a format that worked,” Susan says. “When I was finally satisfied with the story, I started on my submission (persuasive) letter. I mentioned the number of dogs euthanized every year and the number of books that only mention breeders as a viable option when looking for a pet. I also mentioned the number of shelters across the US as possible retail options and the number of pet stores. My editor wrote back, explaining that these two books would be coming out at the same time. She was concerned about my ability to support both, which takes me back to believing in your project. And the power to get things done. And the positive side of covid—since I wasn’t going anywhere, I had plenty of time to work, work, work.”