How Kim Larson Turned Her Picture Book About a Goat into a Series
On these hot summer days, I hope everyone is drinking something cool and reading a stack of amazing books in the shade. I’m glad to have Kim Larson share her experience writing Goat’s Boat Won’t Float, which is being illustrated by Gozde Eyce. The Little Press will publish Kim’s first picture book in the fall of 2024.
Kidlit Creatives Members: You have an opportunity to win a non-rhyming picture book critique. To enter to WIN this special prize, follow the directions at the end of this post.
Manju: Hi Kim! Congratulations on your new picture book, Goat’s Boat Won’t Float. What happens in your story?
Kim: Goat’s Boat Won’t Float is the first in the Goat and Turkey early reader series. It introduces the friendship between a fainting goat who topples when startled — CLUNK! — and an excitable turkey who can’t help but create trouble. When Goat and Turkey go to buy oats, they load too many oats on Goat’s boat, so it starts to sink. Despite a tugboat’s efforts to help, nothing can rescue Goat from Turkey’s tomfoolery.
Manju: Please share what inspired you to write about a goat, turkey and boat?
Kim: I first saw this breed of fainting goats at my stepson’s hobby farm, and I was enthralled! This American-bred Tennessee goat has a genetic disorder that causes it to faint when startled. Some years later, the idea of writing a mystery came to mind, and a fainting goat seemed like the ideal detective for a humorous picture book. I wrote two P. I. Goat mysteries, and Turkey was the only character other than Goat to appear in both.
After attending an SCBWI webinar on writing early readers, I wanted to write an early reader picture book. So, I purchased the Children’s Writer’s Word Book, which lists words by grade level. Lo and behold, “goat” and “turkey” are both kindergarten-level words! These characters made me laugh, so I used them again. But this time Goat isn’t a private eye, and Turkey is his best friend. I came up with plot ideas based on the same reading level words. Knowing that early readers are usually sold as a series, I wrote two more stories.
Manju: What steps did you take on your path to receiving a book contract with Little Press Publishing?
Kim: In 2022, one of my P. I. Goat mysteries was a finalist in Mindy Alyse Weiss’s #PBParty Showcase. I acquired an agent through this (though I am no longer with her). At the same time, Astra Publishing asked to see my early reader series Goat and Turkey through a pitch opportunity. My agent sent Goat and Turkey to Astra and other publishers, including Little Press. In August, Little Press made an offer through my agent.
Manju: Could you share why you’re no longer with your agent?
Kim: When I was offered representation, I was excited an agent loved my story. I didn’t realize she doesn’t represent rhyming or nonfiction picture books, which I also write. In hindsight, this was a question I should have asked earlier. We just weren’t a good fit.
Manju: How has being a member of Kidlit Creatives helped you in your writing journey?
Kim: Every month I look forward to posting the steps I’ve taken toward getting published. Kidlit Creatives is a place of accountability. Plus, it offers the chance to win prizes! The first prize I won was access to Alayne Kay Christian’s teaching videos. They were very helpful. So was my recent win of a critique from Sophia Gholz. I am thankful for Kidlit Creatives. It is a community that offers help and encouragement, and it celebrates each person’s accomplishments.
Thanks very much, Kim!
Kim Larson’s debut picture book, Goat’s Boat Won’t Float, will be released in the fall of 2024 (Little Press). She won the Ann Whitford Paul Award in 2021, and she was a #PBParty finalist in 2022 and 2023. She’s published a dozen poems and short stories in anthologies, and a devotional-Bible study, Unraveling Fairy Tales: Learning to Live Happily Ever After, (In The Vine Press, 2020). When she’s not writing, you may find her working in her garden or playing Sequence with her husband.
Prize offer: For your chance to win a picture book critique, leave a comment on our Kidlit Creatives page (must be a member) and share this interview on your Twitter or Facebook.
Deadline to enter is Wednesday, July 12th.
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