Hello, friends! How are you?? Boy, when the world first started shutting down last March, I thought this uncertainty would only last a few weeks, so I left a drawer full of tasty snacks in my desk at work, expecting to be reunited with my gourmet cookies before they began rotting. NEARLY TWO YEARS LATER … those snacks have probably spurred the growth of a fungal forest at my corporate office! Yikes.
Okay, now that I’ve fully revealed my naiveté, let’s turn to some updates…
Remember how I kept hinting at some big news last year?? (I know, I know, I was very annoying with my secretive whispering.) While I still can’t fully disclose the specifics, I can give a big-picture overview: THE PAPER KINGDOM has been acquired to be developed into an animated movie by one of the big 5 Hollywood studios!! The deal negotiation began last April, and finally closed this summer. Via virtual meetings, I got to discuss my book with amazing folks who said things like, “The story provides great architecture for an animated film,” “There’s such open possibility for the middle act” and “It’s incredible how you captured so much emotional resonance with so few words.” I tried to remain calm and I think I responded, “oh cool” and “thanks so much,” but this is how I was feeling:
If you knew who was on the call with me, you would be screaming, too!!
That said, only a small percentage of projects acquired by studios actually make it to the big screen – it depends on a variety factors, like hiring the right screenwriter, getting a viable screenplay, how this project measures up to others in the pipeline, etc. So we’ll see!
Regardless, I wanted to take this time to thank you again for all your book love for The Paper Kingdom! The book’s journey has far exceeded my expectations. As you know, I thought having a book release during a pandemic (with all the production delays, cancelled events, supply chain issues, bookstore & library closures, etc.) meant CERTAIN DOOM, but so many amazing things have happened. I’m so grateful for all your lovely support and encouragement!
Here’s me air hugging you! (I imagine myself to be the guy on stage, because I think I have an outfit identical to his, hahaha!)
Some other great news! Amazing friend & artist Colleen Kong-Savage (who created gorgeous paper collage images for THE TURTLE SHIP) won the Ezra Jack Keats award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators! BRAVA, Colleen!! So well-deserved. Check out Colleen’s wonderful, short video:
And here’s an adorable video of kids in Baltimore who voted for The Turtle Ship as their favorite book. Skip ahead to see their reaction around 4:15 (so cute and hilarious!).
Oh, and did you catch Pascal Campion’s latest cover for The New Yorker, in memory of 9/11? Here it is…
What a tremendous privilege to work with such talented artists. I absolutely love seeing every step of the illustration process, and I’ll have some fun behind-the-scenes glimpses and cool news to share soon.
In the interim, here are some quick updates that have happened since the last time I wrote:
- The Paper Kingdom was featured on Good Morning America for AAPI heritage month. Click below to see fashion icon & Instagram exec Eva Chen presenting the book at around 3:10, and her full list of book recommendations is here. So cool to see the book on the jumbotron!
- I did a virtual event with the San Francisco Public Library & Litquake/Kidquake. The video is below — whenever I’m onscreen, the video & audio don’t sync up very well (likely due to technical issues on my end again!), but I delve deep into the making of The Paper Kingdom and show images that many folks haven’t seen before.
Until the next time, be well and enjoy Sweater Weather (though it’s 80 degrees in L.A. today, ugh!). And have a safe & happy Halloween!
(Btw, if you want to see more frequent updates from me, please join me on Instagram, the social media platform where I’m most active.)
Ciao for now!