Thursday, 11 September 2014

Callum's Incredible Construction Kit US fan site

In April this year I made a virtual visit to the 1st Graders at Tuckahoe Common School in New York State. In preparation for the visit, teacher Laurie Verdeschi borrowed 15 of my books from the library. The children had some of the books read to them and read some to each other. Then they voted on which was their favourite.

My virtual visit with the 1st Graders at Tuckahoe Common School.
I read them The Princess and the Pig before they told me the results of their vote. 

The children revealed the results of the vote to me during the virtual visit. The runaway winner was Callum's Incredible Construction Kit illustrated by Ben Mantle. At the end of the visit, several of the children came to the camera, one after the other, to enthuse about their favourite Callum creations. Ben's illustrations of the T-Rex and the big fold-out picture of Callum's house rebuilt with construction kit (shown below) were particularly popular.

I told the children that, while I was delighted that the book had won, I was also quite surprised as the book didn't have a US publisher, so I would not have expected them to have come across it.

I didn't think any more of it, until today when Laurie sent me this email:

Hi Jonathan
It's been awhile since our 1st graders Skyped with you, but I recall it as a highlight of last year. As we discussed, our students love Callum's Incredible Construction Kit. After speaking with you and finding out that Callum doesn't have an American publisher, they wrote letters and drew pictures for a CICK Fan Club website. I finally scanned a selection of their work and put together a small website.
I hope you enjoy it and maybe you'd even like to direct publishers to it!
Thanks again!
Laurie Verdeschi

The fan site the children created.

The slideshow on the site features some wonderful drawings of Callum's inventions …

Two of the children's drawings of Callum's house

… and a collection of the children's letters, most of which are addressed to US publishers asking them to publish the book.

Surely only the most hard-hearted publisher could resist these children's letters!

So if you're a US publisher, looking for a picture book with proven appeal to discerning US 1st Graders, look no further. I'm sure Callum's UK publisher, Egmont, would love to hear from you. Don't all run at once!

Find out more about this book on my web site

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