Please welcome Rebecca Flansburg, co-author of Sissy Goes Tiny, the latest picture book releasing from Audrey Press this July!
ABOUT THE BOOK: Eight-year-old Sissy loves her life. She loves her toys, her Big house, and her Big backyard. But when Sissy’s parents decide they are going to live in a Tiny House on wheels and travel around the U.S., Sissy isn’t sure that she will like the idea of “living tiny.” But as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, re-purposing, and how “stuff is just stuff” in a positive way, Sissy soon understands that living Tiny has BIG possibilities; possibilities for all sorts of adventures and learning.
Q: What was it like to co-author a book?
Writing Sissy Goes Tiny was kind of a happy accident! Even though I have worked for years in the children’s publishing industry, I was never motivated to write a children’s book myself until B.A. and I created the story-line for our book. B.A. is not a parent, but she brings such a level of authenticity and accuracy about tiny house living to this book via her insight, wisdom and personal experience. She was an amazing co-author and will always be a great friend.
Q: What one word would you use to describe Sissy Goes Tiny?
Timely! I think people are really starting to gain awareness that we are living in a very “stuff orientated” world and how much we own will not make us happy. Meaningful experiences will trump “stuff” every time.
Q: The illustrations for this book were partially paid for with an artist’s grant; can you tell us more about that?
We are lucky enough to have The Five Wings Arts Council (FWAC) in our area. Five Wings is a non-profit that encourages and promotes arts creation, appreciation, and education through grant programs and technical assistance. FWAC believes that everyone should have access to take part in the arts. They have an annual Individual Artist Grant that B.A. and I applied for to help with illustration costs. A quality illustrator can be a costly part of creating a picture book but also completely worth it. The staff at FWAC was wonderful to work with and B.A. and I were awarded a $2250 grant!
Q: Your co-author, B.A. Norrgard, lives in a tiny house … have you ever thought about doing the same?
I’ve always told B.A. she is a braver soul than me! I’ve been in her tiny house many times and it is truly tiny (around 78 square feet). I would gladly live in a tiny home if it was more around the 250-300 square foot range. And my kids and pets would have to live in their own home because I’m not sharing… 😉
Q: What inspired the story?
It actually started as a “what if?” conversation between B.A. and I over a “catch-up lunch.” She currently lives in Texas even though she is born and raised in Minnesota like me. We went to school together and reconnected around seven years ago when I asked if I could do a magazine article on her transition from traditional employment and lifestyle to tiny house living. The new chapter of her life was fascinating to me and I was (and still am!) so proud of her for becoming heavily involved in teaching people about going tiny and empowering them to downsize through leading by example. We stayed in touch ever since and see each other often.
That day in the summer of 2018 when we were lunching, the conversation soon turned to what was new and exciting in B.A.’s lifestyle of “living tiny.” It was during that conversation I wondered out loud what the process of “going tiny” might look like through the eyes of a child and how scary that could actually be. There are many books on the market and several TV shows geared towards helping people “go tiny” but they are all focused on adults. I put myself in the shoes of the kids that may be part of this transition and the perspective could potentially look very different to them. The more we talked about this, the more an idea for a children’s book kept percolating in my brain. I shared this idea with BA and the idea for an innovative children’s book was born.
Q: What makes Sissy Goes Tiny a diverse picture book?
Sissy is considered diverse because the family in the story is biracial. I remember seeing a family similar to the one in our book on TV years ago and was struck by what a beautiful family they were. When we were looking for an illustrator, I happened upon children’s book illustrator Penny Weber’s site and there was an illustration of a little girl in her portfolio that was perfect for the character of Sissy. Needless to say, we felt it was “meant to be” and Penny became the illustrator for our book!
Q: Future plans to write solo or another co-authored book?
I love the collaborative process of creating a book with someone and would do it again in a heartbeat. Even if authors live in different states, the Internet makes it so easy to work together and share ideas. I would like to do another Sissy book with BA about Sissy’s new life on the road in the future.
If you wish to purchase a copy, the pre-sale is going on now (link to buy at the bottom).
To learn more about Rebecca, stop by her website. You can follow her on Instagram: beckyflansburg