5 things you didn’t know about picture book Samuel’s Kisses

"Karen Collum"
Karen Collum, author of Samuel's Kisses

Karen Collum is visiting today as part of a tour to celebrate her new picture book, Samuel’s Kisses. Karen is a mother to three beautiful boys, with a baby girl about to join the family in December 2010. Samuel’s Kisses is illustrated by Serena Geddes and published by New Frontier Publishing. To read more about Karen’s work visit her website.


"Samuel's Kisses cover"5 things you didn’t know about Samuel’s Kisses

1.      Samuel’s Kisses is based on a real person.

My eldest son’s name is Samuel and when he was little he used to blow kisses to everyone we walked past in the shops. I was amazed at how much happier people were after receiving a kiss from Sam and thought it would make a wonderful picture book. It turns out I was right!

2.      The illustrations were done twice.

The publisher who accepted my book found an illustrator to draw all the pictures for Samuel’s Kisses, but sadly, she wasn’t able to finish them. So, another illustrator had to be found. I was a little bit nervous as I wondered if I’d like the second lot of illustrations as much as the first, but I’m delighted to say I absolutely adore the illustrations by Serena Geddes. Serena has made the book lively and exciting while at the same time being soft and gentle, which is just perfect for the story.

3.      I had to change one important word.

When I sent my book to the publisher I had each of the kisses landing on people’s cheeks with a loud ‘SMACK’. One of the first things the publisher did was get me to change that to ‘SPLAT’. After all, we don’t want to encourage little children to smack anybody!

4.      There was a poem on the very last page that is no longer there.

When a publisher decides to publish a book they make changes to make it better. This happened with Samuel’s Kisses and as a result, the poem that I had at the end of the book was cut out. I’m glad it’s not in the final version as I think the book is stronger without it, but I’ll share it with you here:

Blow me a kiss, my sweet little one

Blow me a kiss, make it fast and fun

Fly it over your pillow and under your bed

Past your window and round my head

Blow me a kiss with all your might

And I’ll blow you a kiss and say goodnight.

5.      It took nearly two years to be published.

Making a book takes a very long time. I found out in April 2009 that New Frontier Publishing were going to publish Samuel’s Kisses so it’s taken almost two years for the book to be brought to life. There are a lot of things that happen during that time such as signing a publishing contract, organising an illustrator, editing the book and getting it printed, but it’s still a long time to wait. I’m very excited that I can finally hold my book in my hands and read it to my kids.

Here are the other stops on the blog tour:

Dec 1: Kathryn Apel

Dec 2: Dee White

Dec 3: Sheryl Gwyther

Dec 4: New Frontier Blog and Serena Geddes

Dec 5: Alphabet Soup magazine [You’re here]

Dec 6: Susan Stephenson

Dec 7: Katrina Germein


All hands on deck

Some of you noticed that it has been very quiet on the Alphabet Soup front. I had to go to hospital suddenly and then I had an operation. It was quite an adventure! But I’m back at the desk now. And it’s all hands on deck to get the summer issue out as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Be sure to stop back on 5 December 2010. Karen Collum, the author of new picture book, Samuel’s Kisses, will be here on a blog tour. While you’re waiting, you can check out the other stops on her tour:

"Samuel's Kisses cover"Dec 1: Kathryn Apel

Dec 2: Dee White

Dec 3: Sheryl Gwyther

Dec 4: New Frontier Blog and Serena Geddes

Dec 5: Alphabet Soup magazine

Dec 6: Susan Stephenson

Dec 7: Katrina Germein

It’s not long until the school holidays arrive. Enjoy your last days of term and keep an eye on your letterbox for the summer issue of Alphabet Soup—out soon!

~ Rebecca Newman, Editor

authors, teachers' resources

“Lights Out!” (Karen Collum)

Karen Collum is visiting today, to tell us about the books she read after ‘lights out’ when she was growing up! Her picture book, Samuel’s Kisses, will be out in December 2010 (New Frontier Publishing).

"Karen Collum (photo)"
Karen Collum

When I was a kid, I had the perfect bed for reading in late into the night. Made by my dad, it had a bedhead that was a bookshelf for all of my favourite books and included my very own light. There was no need to sneak a torch under the covers or climb out of bed into the cold to switch on the light. I just had to reach up and CLICK! I could read to my little heart’s content. And read I did … until Mum or Dad came in for the fourteenth time and insisted it really was time to get some sleep. (To this day I can’t ever fall asleep reading a book, which means I have way too many late nights … )

I read everything I could get my hands on as a child, but I remember being about 7 years old and developing a fascination with dolphins. I still have two of the books I read and re-read and re-read some more from that time: Nine True Dolphin Stories by Margaret Davidson and Fast-talking Dolphin by Carson Davidson. I also remember reading The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series and I loved the Mrs Piggle Wiggle books too.

Reading was a huge part of my childhood and was something that provided me with hours and hours of pleasure and entertainment. While we didn’t have a lot of money to buy books, I borrowed as many books as I could carry from the library. When I lost myself in a book as a little girl, I could be anyone, go anywhere and do anything.  As an adult I still feel the same way. And I still read way into the night, long after I should’ve gone to sleep …

© 2010 Karen Collum

Visit Karen Collum’s website to find out more about her and her books.

"Undercover readers logo"Alphabet Soup magazine is celebrating the launch of Undercover Readers (our new reviewers club for kids)!  If you’d like to join the Undercover Readers Club, you’ll find an information pack you can download from the Alphabet Soup website. As part of the celebrations, we have a different children’s author or illustrator visiting Soup Blog each day until 29 June 2010 to talk about what they used to read after ‘lights out’ when they were growing up.