Ruth Kaiser, author of The Smiley Book of Colors, launches her book tour
If you've ever whiled away a sunny afternoon creating animals out of puffy clouds, wondered at the latest potato a farmer swears is the spitting image of George Washington, or enjoy the hidden picture puzzles made famous by Highlights you'll get a kick out of The Smiley Book of Colors. In it Ruth Kaiser illustrates a children's book about happiness with her own special obsession: Smileys.
What are Smileys? Quite simply they're smiley faces: eyes, nose, mouth, just the usual. But the fun part is finding Smileys in unusual places...in the milk in your coffee, the headlights of a firetruck, the leaf of a tree. They're everywhere! After reading The Smiley Book of Colors you'll find you can't stop searching for the next Smiley.
Hardcover: 32 pages
Age Level: Ages 3 and up
Publisher: Random House, Golden Books
Twitter Hashtag: SmileyBook
The Smiley Book of Colors, a children's book that adults will love also, is available for purchase in print form at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local neighborhood book store.
Check out the Smiley Song Video below! It will make you smile! :)
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of The Smiley Book of Colors, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, March 22 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #SmileyBook, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day--Friday, March 23. Good luck!
About the Author:
Although completely allergic to cats, she is also completely enamored with them. So Philbert, Noodle, Rooster and Mr. Simon have the run of the house and Ruth sits on a plastic chair and washed her hands a hundred times a day.
Ruth studied art at the University of California at Berkeley, but really believes that everyone is an artist. With excitement she proclaims, "How cool is it that the Internet has given us all an avenue to share our art!"
Find the Author Online:
--------Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: We have heard of many blogs that eventually became books: Julie and Julia, The PostSecret Project, and Bitter Is the New Black to name a few. Tell us why and when you created your Spontaneous Smiley website and what made you decide it would make a great book.
Ruth: From the very first time I attempted to point out a Smiley Face in an object, there were people who struggled to see what I saw. With advent of the digital camera I was suddenly able to snap the photo and crop it so that finding the Smiley was easy. I started posting my Smileys on Facebook and was delighted when others followed suit. Very quickly it became apparent that hunting for Smileys, is habit forming! That led to lots of press and the creation of the website. Smileys uploads came in from all over the world. Writing a book just seemed like the next step in a quest to share the Spontaneous Smiley Project.
WOW: The Smiley Book could have easily been a coffee table book or gift book targeting adults. What made you decide to write a children's picture book instead?
Ruth: Actually, a few years back I did first attempt a coffee table/gift book working with a big agency in NYC. Although we got a lot of interest, gift books were a hard sell in early 2009. When that didn’t work out, I had a real aha moment. Of course! I should write a kids’ book instead!
I’ve been a teacher for over 30 years, writing for kids came so easily! In that moment, I knew just what I wanted to say. The text of A Smiley Book of Colors, A Child’s Book of Optimism was completely written about 5 minutes later! The poem is all about helping children to choose happiness.
WOW: Your debut book is The Smiley Book of Colors. Are you considering other Smiley Books for children...The Smiley Book of Seasons, The Smiley Book of Weather, etc. or a Smiley Book for adults?
Ruth: You bet! I have a draft all finished and ready to show my editor of a Smiley Book of Numbers, A Child’s Book of Gratitude. In this second book, the poem talks about counting reasons to smile and uses the photos to teach counting. I’ve got several other ideas percolating! I know one thing for sure, I’ll never run out of Smileys; they’re everywhere!
People ask for what age group my book is best suited. I honestly think the book’s message is ageless. So I guess I’m saying it already is a book for adults.
WOW: As a preschool teacher for 18 years I suppose we can consider you a children's book expert. Care to share your expertise and tell us, from your observations with your students, what makes a popular children's book?
Ruth: Repetition is always popular. So is rhyming! Lots of vivid illustrations are a must. But, I have found that kids aren’t as interested in picture books where the people or animals look too far from reality or too cartoony. I know that’s a hard one for authors who often don’t get a lot of say as to the illustration used for their book.
WOW: Children's literature is a tough market to break into. How long did it take you to find an agent/publisher?
Ruth: I got the agent for the coffee table book by Googling my little heart out and sending queries all filled with photos to any and all I could find who posted their e-dress. I had read lots of how-tos about what the standard query should look like and decided to ignore it all. I wasn’t being cocky, it’s just that the standard format seemed so disingenuous, so not like me. Getting an agent took a couple of long days sending the query everywhere I could and a couple weeks of waiting for a nibble.
When there were no takers for the coffee table book and my agent said, “No thank you,” to the children’s book, I turned to another source. I am very active in social media so why not ask my Facebook followers if they had any advice for a novice wanting to break into the world of children’s literature. Right away a bunch of people chimed in. One was an introduction to a friend whom he claimed “knew everything about kids’ books.” I followed up. We had a lively back and forth messaging session at the end of which I asked her what she did. She was an editor! I sent her my manuscript the next day. After a couple of months I got the happiest email, an offer!
WOW: Many books have book trailers, videos to promote their books online. You have several Smiley songs and music videos which are such a fabulous idea for a children's book. How did you come up with the idea for songs and who wrote and performed the songs? Any other unusual promotional events or products planned for the future?
Ruth: I grew up surrounded my talented musician friends. The song “Smile. Be Happy” was a joint effort by songwriter Tommy Dunbar and me. We’ve been friends since we were kids and his band the Rubinoos was a big part of my life as a young adult. Asking them if they wanted to be a part of the Smiley Project was a no-brainer (for either side!). The other songs and videos are a reflection of my love to create stuff! I’m always working on at least a few projects.
I will be doing lots of book events at bookstores, but what I’m the most excited about is how many museums are interested!
WOW: What's next? More children's books? Another genre? More photos?
Ruth: Yes!! Yes!! And yes!! I’m eager and enthusiastic to do more of everything!
WOW: Any last words?
Ruth: Remember, every Smiley photo uploaded earns a $1 donation from The Spontaneous Smiley Community for OPERATION SMILE.
I hope everyone begins to see Smileys in their life and reasons to live with a Smiley outlook. It’s the greatest gift you could give your children!
Smile. Be happy!
WOW: Thanks, Ruth! I can't wait to hunt for smileys for a great cause! I'm sure our readers will want to participate too! Readers, here's more info:
Treasure Hunt Time!Spontaneous Smiley on the "Share Your Smiley" page using "WOW" in your Smiley title.
Just one Smiley makes you a Smiley Captain! Not only will you brighten people's day with your Smiley AND help raise money for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization that helps children with facial deformity receive the surgery they need, but you'll be entered in a contest just for Ruth's WOW friends to win a copy of The Smiley Book of Colors. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 17! Now grab your camera and start searching for Smileys!
--------More for Operation Smile
Ruth is passionate about Operation Smile, so she came up with this great idea for student groups of all sizes and ages! Similar to a Walk-a-Thon, the Smile-a-Thon is a fun and easy way to host a fundraiser. If you want to become more involved with the charity, check out the video below and find more information here: http://spontaneoussmiley.com/smileathon.htm
--------Blog Tour Dates
Tuesday, March 20 @ Pragmatic Mom
Need an extra smile today? Stop by Pragmatic Mom for a review of Ruth Kaiser's children's book The Smiley Book of Colors.
Thursday, March 22 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
Stop by to learn how to teach your child optimism from Ruth Kaiser. And a great way to start would be reading her new picture book The Smiley Book of Colors. Enter to win it today!
Saturday, March 24 @ Devourer of Books
Saturday is Kids' Day at Devourer of Books and today she's reviewing The Smiley Book of Colors by Ruth Kaiser. A book for kids of ALL ages!
Monday, March 26 @ Cathy C. Hall
Ruth Kaiser gives you tips on how to be a rock star in everything you do! Readers can also win a copy of her debut children's picture book--that will bring a smile to the faces of adults too--The Smiley Book of Colors.
Wednesday, March 28 @ Books, Books the Magical Fruit
Enter the giveaway for your chance at winning the fun children's book The Smiley Book of Colors and don't miss the surprise guest post by author Ruth Kaiser.
Thursday, March 29 @ Words by Webb
Jodi's been bit by the Smiley bug. Check out her Smileys and learn more about the book that inspired her: The Smiley Book of Colors.
Monday, April 2 @ Classic Children's Books
Don't miss your chance to win The Smiley Book of Colors so all your days can be Smiley Searches!
Wednesday, April 11 @ CMash Loves to Read
Don't be an April Fool! Stop by to enter to win The Smiley Book of Colors and enjoy a guest post that will perk up your entire day!
Friday, April 13 at Cindy's Love of Books
Find out what made Ruth Kaiser want to write a children's book about the smileys hiding in plain sight throughout our world!
To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar here.
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email Robyn or Jodi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Giveaway Contest:
Enter to win a print copy of The Smiley Book of Colors by Ruth Kaiser! Here's how you enter:
1. For your first entry, just leave a comment on this post! Just leave Ruth a comment or ask a question to be entered in the random drawing.
2. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #SmileyBook then come back and leave us a link to your tweet.
The giveaway contest closes Thursday, March 22 at 11:59 PM PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day--Friday, March 23, and if we have the winner's email from the comments section, we will also notify them via email.
(Also be sure to enter the photo smiley contest for another chance to win Ruth's book. :) Details in the section above under "Treasure Hunt Time!" You'll enjoy capturing smileys. We are addicted!)