Valentine’s Day: For some kids it’s the candy, for others, kisses
Book readings for The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever
4 p.m. Feb. 7, Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave.
Register at (847) 256-5025.
11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave.
Register at (847) 432-0216.
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, Vernon Area Public Library, 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire.
Register at (847) 634-3650.
4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka.
No registration required.
Adults are invited to attend, “Never Let Your Picture Book Character Dive into a Bubbling Volcano and Other Lessons I Learned on the Road to Publication,” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka. No registration required.
For more information, or to purchase the book, visit BrendaFarber.com.
Updated: February 7, 2013 11:11AM
Boys have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day.
For one of author Brenda A. Ferber’s sons, it was all about candy. For the other, it was about kisses.
Deerfield resident Ferber recalled that when one of her sons was in first grade, she saw him sorting his valentines into “good” and “bad” piles. “I said, ‘You’re not even opening them, how do you know that they’re good or bad?’ He said, ‘The good ones have candy attached to them.’”
Ferber’s younger son looked forward to Valentine’s Day each year. “He loves giving love, so he thought it was his special holiday,” Ferber said.
Valentine’s Day means something totally different to Leon, the hero of Ferber’s new children’s picture book, The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever. It offers the chance for him to finally reveal his love to Zoey Maloney, for whom he has a “let-her-cut-in-line-at-the-water-fountain crush.”
This is the first picture book for Ferber, author of two children’s novels, Julia’s Kitchen and Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire. The Valentine’s Day tale started a long time ago when Ferber’s twins (the candy-lover and his sister) were in second grade. (Ferber’s youngest is now a high school junior and her twins are high school seniors. )
“For my daughter, I was responsible for bringing a picture book in for their Valentine’s Day class party,” Ferber related. “I was looking around for a story that would be good for second-graders — that would be funny enough and not mushy. I couldn’t find anything because I knew how sophisticated second-graders were. So I decided to write my own story.”
It has been a long journey between conception and publication.
“It took about five years to find a publisher for the book,” Ferber said. “During those five years, I revised it extensively based on different rejection letters that I received from editors.”
One editor noted that he admired her homage to The Gingerbread Man. That was the farthest thing from Ferber’s mind but she decided “to push that a little further.”
Ferber finally located an editor who loved the book, but then she changed publishing houses. The editor took the manuscript with her but it took her a couple of years to locate the right illustrator. It was worth the search because Tedd Arnold’s illustrations are adorable. Ferber particularly enjoys little touches such as the heart-shaped pupils in Leon’s eyes.
The book was released in 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Ferber considers herself a full-time mom, but still finds time to write every day. Her agent is currently submitting a novel that Ferber wrote for tweens, and she is working on another novel for slightly older kids.
The author is also busy promoting her book, with a half-dozen suburban book readings already scheduled.
“My favorite thing about writing is meeting the kids who read my book,” Ferber said. “They look at you with this wide-eyed wonder that there’s an actual person that created a book. It’s sort of magical to them.”