Three years from now, when KWiL has more than a dozen books under its belt and I am no longer telling people that we are a start-up, I will look back and think about that moment, and that moment, and that moment—those were the moments that got us here.
The moment when I got an e-mail confirming KWiL’s LLC registration. The moment when another e-mail, this time with our publishing agreement attached, showed up in my inbox. It was time to start signing, which lead to that momentous moment when KWiL signed its first author, Sheri Roloff. And the pivotal moment a few months later when she said “yes” to coming on, at-risk, as KWiL’s Creative Director.
My journey to KWiL would not have been possible without the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I joined the Wisconsin chapter in 2012. Through SCBWI I was connected to a critique group, of which Sheri was a member. Through my group and SCBWI events, I grew as a writer and connoisseur of children’s literature and the kid lit industry. I also had the opportunity to meet some of my picture book idols. It just so happened that many of my kids’ favorite books were written by authors living right here in Wisconsin.
When I started KWiL, and especially after we realized that one of our primary niches would be scientific fiction, I immediately thought of one Wisconsin-based author in particular. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could sign Janet Halfmann?”
I am honored to announce that a few weeks ago, we did. Her story, Caterpillar’s Surprise, will be published by KWiL in Fall of 2019.
For any of you who don’t know Janet Halfmann, you can learn much more about her, HERE. Janet has published more than 30 award-winning and starred-reviewed books for children with many houses, including Henry Holt, Star Bright Books, Arbordale Publishing, and Lee & Low Books. Janet’s new book, Midnight Teacher, will be released from Lee & Low Books in Spring of 2018.
If you make it to her website, take some time to really look around. You can read about Janet’s love of nature, which began during her early years growing up on a farm in Michigan. Today, Janet is a gardener and keen observer of the natural world, much like the protagonist in her beautiful book Grandma Is a Slowpoke (Star Bright Books, 2016).
One of our favorite books by Janet Halfmann is Little Skink’s Tail (Arbordale Publishing, 2007). It is easily on the Top Ten Most Read Books List at our house. In fact, just last week I read it out loud to my son’s class during RINGO (Reading Is Now Going On).
On the website you can also learn about Janet’s career in children’s literature, which in addition to being published includes having worked at Little Golden Books, then located in Racine, WI.
There will be more moments. The moment we flip through the pages of our first book (this Spring!). The moment we make our first sale. All of these moments will have defined KWiL, and I am confident that signing with Janet Halfmann will be one of them.
Readers get ready! There is a beautiful book by a beloved Wisconsin author on its way.
Abby reading Little Skink’s Tail to kindergartners.