Hello, wonderful Picture Book Builders people.
I have a treat for you that is as delicious as sweet potato pie! Tameka Fryer Brown, author of Twelve Dinging Doorbells, dropped by to give us 12 facts about this warm and wonderful book that was illustrated by Ebony Glenn.
Get comfortable so we can dig in!
12 Facts about Twelve Dinging Doorbells (according to Tameka):
1. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is a humorous, cumulative tale about Black family gatherings.
2. It’s patterned after a well-known holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
3. I wrote the first draft of this book in 2017, just a few days before Christmas.
4. While the structure was influenced by the upcoming holiday, it was #ThanksgivingwithBlackfamilies that inspired the substance of it. But it’s not a book about Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or any one holiday in particular. It’s about every holiday, celebration, and family get-together!
5. When I was growing up, almost all our extended family gatherings were held at my granny’s house.
6. Granny was a phenomenal cook. She didn’t know how to make anything that wasn’t delicious…but she was especially known for her sweet potato pies.
7. I was extremely close with my granny. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is dedicated to her.
8. There were many aspects of our family gatherings that I wanted to include in Twelve Dinging Doorbells, but I didn’t have room for them. Mentions of barbecue ribs, deviled eggs, and elders teaching all got the literary axe.
9. When Ebony Glenn—one of my dream illustrators—signed on to do the book, I knew it was going to be gorgeous.
10. Ebony used cut paper collage to create the scenes in the book. Which blows my mind, considering the increasing intricacy of each spread. I believe this is the first picture book she has illustrated using this technique. I feel so blessed to have created something so special with her.
11. Publishing with Kokila has been a uniquely collaborative experience. Shout-out to Team 12DD–especially Joanna Cárdenas, Jasmin Rubero, and Lathea Mondesir—for respecting and valuing my voice. Special shout out to my agent extraordinaire, Marietta B. Zacker. Whatever and whenever, she always comes through.
12. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is my first book to have earned three starred reviews, thanks to Kirkus, School, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly! It has also been designated an Amazon Editor’s Pick. I hope children and their families receive as much joy from reading as I had in writing it.
Many thanks to Tameka for giving us some insider information on this joy of a book!
Tameka Fryer Brown is the author of Around Our Way on Neighbor’s Day, My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood, Brown Baby Lullaby, and Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change. She is also a contributor to The Brown Bookshelf, an award-winning website dedicated to highlighting Black children’s authors and illustrators. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tameka is extremely finicky about her sweet potato pie and, admittedly, underbids in Spades. Learn more about her work at tamekafryerbrown.com.
Would you like YOUR doorbell to ring with the announcement that your very own copy of Twelve Dinging Doorbells has arrived? Simply leave a comment and/or share this post on Twitter for a chance to win this book. Please tag me at @SauerTammi and Tameka at @teebrownkidlit.
Congratulations to Linda Hume! She won a signed copy of The Underpants written by yours truly and illustrated by Joren Cull.