Why did you write this picture book?
Kimberly: A Dollar’s Grand Dream, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann and published by Page Street Kids, was announced, and the excitement for the book made me realize there was a want and need for picture books that incorporated financial literacy. So, I began to explore the idea of writing a sequel.
At the time, I was listening to a lot of money-themed music for the promotion of the first book. My mind began reeling with other story ideas while listening to If I Had a Million Dollars, by Barenaked Ladies, and Billionaire, by Travie McCoy (feat. Bruno Mars). With this musical inspiration, I set out to tell Big Bill’s story, with the goals of entertaining kids, leaving them with a life lesson, and teaching them some money math in the process.
Because I already knew my punny money crew, the humor came immediately through their dialogue. Then, with my music on repeat, the heart and message that the grass isn’t always greener and to appreciate what you have emerged simultaneously with the integration of place values as the money math takeaway!
Robyn: There is Always Room For One More, illustrated by Ishaa Lobo and published by Simon & Schuster, began as a celebration of all tables, and the ways in which we engage with our tables. I wrote the first draft during 2020, when we were isolated from our communities. Coming together around our tables wasn’t possible and our most vulnerable population, our elderly, were especially isolated. Tables play a valuable role in our lives. I wanted to show readers that coming together around the table builds connection and empathy.
Suma: In the summer of 2015, I was working with my faculty advisor, the one and only Jane Kurtz in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Children’s and Young Adult literature program, when we both challenged each other to write a story from the cultures we grew up in. The story would be inspired by The Gingerbread Man – a folktale about a man made of gingerbread who runs away from a cast of characters.
Jane Kurtz was an early believer of this story, and I’m thrilled that this book will be available now in honor of the relationship I share with her. She created The Runaway Injera for Ready Set Go Books which is one of the bestsellers of the Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund Program for children in Ethiopia. [See also, a 2017 guest post from Jane about the beginnings of Ready Set Go Books.] I created The Runaway Dosa, illustrated by Kamala Nair and published by Little Bee Books, also inspired by an all-time favorite Tamil rhyme, Dosai Amma Dosai, for dosa lovers all over the world.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Kimberly: I hope readers of all ages will be entertained, have a good laugh, reflect on the things they are appreciative of, learn a little about themselves and money, and be inspired and curious to continue the conversations.
Robyn: As readers follow Clare’s emotional journey, I hope they connect with her story and enjoy her lovable community. Maybe they can relate to Clare’s grief at her changing family dynamic. Or maybe they identify with one of the many emotions she exhibits. In the end, my hope is that her story resonates with readers and that they know all feelings are welcome, around the table.
Suma: For children who are already familiar with the repetitive pattern and tempo of The Gingerbread Man, The Runaway Dosa extends beyond Indian culture to amplify and embrace global food and a South Asian culture. The story also reconnects readers of all ages to a well-enjoyed delicacy and a world of amazing fantastical animal characters from Indian folklore.
Kimberly Wilson is the pun-loving children’s book author of the picture books, A Penny’s Worth, A Dollar’s Grand Dream, and A Credit Card Takes Charge (Fall 2024), illustrated by the cent-sational Mark Hoffmann and published by Page Street Kids. She enjoys combining humor, heart, educational tidbits, and wordplay into her writing.When she’s not writing, Kimberly enjoys visiting schools, volunteering at literacy nonprofits, browsing the shelves of her favorite bookstore and local library, and practicing yoga. Kimberly lives in North Carolina with her husband, two daughters, and their dog. You can find her on Instagram, X, Bluesky, and www.kimberlywilsonwrites.com.
Robyn McGrath writes fiction and nonfiction picture books for children. She believes that books help us navigate life experiences while fostering an understanding of self and others. When she is not writing she works as a Play Therapist helping children and parents regulate Big emotions. Robyn lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two children, a labrador retriever, and a friendly cat they found camping. You can find out more about her work at robynmcgrathwrites.com
Suma Subramaniam’s interests in writing for children are centered around STEM/STEAM related topics as well as India and Indian heritage. When she’s not recruiting by day or writing by night, she’s volunteering for We Need Diverse Books and SCBWI or blogging about children’s books.
Her picture books include, Namaste is a Greeting, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat (Candlewick, 2022), She Sang for India: How M.S. Subbulakshmi Used her Voice for Change, illustrated by Shreya Gupta (FSG Books, 2022), and The Runaway Dosa, illustrated by Parvati Pillai (Little Bee Books, 2023). Suma is also the contributing author of The Hero Next Door middle-grade anthology (Penguin Random House, 2019) and What is Hope? poetry anthology (Pomelo Books, 2023) .
Her poems have been published in Poetry Foundation’s first Young People’s Poetry Edition of Poetry Magazine. She lives in Seattle with her family and a dog who watches baking shows. Learn more at https://sumasubramaniam.com.