Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kevin McNamee What Is That Thing (guest blog)

Today we welcome guest blogger Kevin McNamee, who will be talking about his children’s picture book, What Is That Thing?

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY.   He mostly writes for the children’s market.  Kevin’s published work includes the picture books, If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, Lightning Strikes, The Soggy Town of Hilltop and What Is That Thing?    

Kevin’s poetry has been published in the collection, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems.  Other titles coming soon by Kevin include My Brother, the Frog, Papa’s Suns, Just for Today, and more.

Kevin, what is this book about?

Jenna has a vivid imagination.  When a new baby comes into the house, she uses her imagination to try and figure out this new person in her life.  Finally, she realizes that she doesn’t need to use her imagination.  Things are fine just the way they are.

Why did you write this book?
A new baby is a big enough adjustment for adults and children alike.  There may be children in the house who are struggling with the changing family dynamics.  I wanted to find a child-friendly way to help with that adjustment and to help calm any fears that might arise from having a new brother or sister.

Do you think this book can help?
Yes, I do.  To be unsure of the unknown is a common and normal reaction to big changes.  I wanted to both validate a child’s sense of uncertainty and to show that change, especially when it comes to having a new brother or sister, isn’t a bad thing.  I think this book accomplishes that in a way that children can understand.

What was the hardest thing about writing this picture book?
I had a hard time with this book during the editing process.  This book has three separate imaginary episodes that are completely different from each other.  Yet one scene flows directly into the other.  I wanted to make sure that the reader would be able to follow the story from scene to scene.  This is really where the other half of a picture book becomes so important, the artwork.  K.C. Snider’s illustrations did an excellent job of bridging any gaps.  The artwork blends the real and imaginary worlds together beautifully.  The end result was a delightful picture book that educates, entertains, and hopefully solves a problem. 

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I really wanted to write a book that is both useful and entertaining.  I hope you and your child have fun reading this.  If you find that this book has helped, please let me know.  I love getting feedback like that.

What is That thing?

What Is That Thing?  by Kevin McNamee.  Illustrations by K.C. Snider
Print ISBN: 978-1-61633-141-2; 1616331410
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-142-9; 1616331429
 It’s an alien from outer space! … It’s a strange and smelly creature! … It’s a mysterious, roaring animal! … It’s my baby sister?!
Jenna uses her imagination to understand this new person in her life.  When she finally sees things as they are, will Jenna like what she sees?

What Others Are Saying

 “I recommend the book to any child who has younger siblings or is about to accept the arrival of a new sibling. They will be able to laugh and also accept the little being into their lives, and even be very happy and enriched by the new little baby sister or brother.” – Stories for Children Magazine

“McNamee has done a great job of capturing what the experience of having a new sibling can be like.
Illustrator K.C. Snider provided colorful pictures that show both Jenna's imaginary adventures and the real world in a cute way.” -  Janet Ann Collins - On Words

 “This cute and heartwarming story should be read to all children who already have or are about to have a new addition to their family.  Further value is added by the award-winning artist K.C. Snider, who elevates the story with her top-notch illustrations.” - Blogcritics.org
“In this delightful new story from talented poet and writer, Kevin McNamee, we see him doing what he does best–create a story that youngsters will love … What Is That Thing? would make a perfect gift for the little girl who is going to be a big sister soon.” - Children's and Teens' Book Connection

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, or a book on CD from guardianangelpublishing.com.

Books are also available from amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or ask your local bookstore.

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at http://www.kevinmcnamee.com or visit his blog at http://www.kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com.  

Kevin is also on Linked-In and Twitter, but he doesn’t tweet too much.

For another great author feature please stop http://thewritingmama.blogspot.com tomorrow; Virginia Grenier will be featuring Robert Medak. 


  1. Kevin, your new children's book sound wonderful. It's an occurrence that happens to most children, so having a book to deal with a new addition to the family will certainly be helpful.

  2. I think this is the first book I have heard of from an older siblings POV. Very clever. Its great that you have a talented artist. Have you thought of doing your won art work?

  3. Thank you Karen.

    Stephen: I can barely draw a stick figure, so I am leaving the artwork up to the professionals. I'll just stick with writing:-)

  4. Terrific interview of Kevin. I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin in person at the SCBWI winter conference two years ago (boy time flies) and he is as delightful as his books. Best wishes for your continued success.

    All the best,

  5. This sounds like a great book for kids with a new sibling. Best to you in your book sales!

  6. Thank you, Donna. How kind of you to say that. I'm going to go to the next SCBWI Winter Conference. So maybe, I'll be seeing you there again.

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