Hello, parents, librarians, book fanatics, writers, and readers of all sorts! #SeasonsOfKidLit is pleased to have debut picture book author Malcolm Newsome here with us on Wear A Star Day. Malcolm's Dear Star Baby (illustrated by Kamala Nair) is an important and much needed read as it follows a family suffering the heartbreak of a recent loss. Like those who remember loved ones on Wear A Star Day, the family in Malcolm's book finds a special way to remember their Star Baby (a child that has passed on and become a bright and shiny star in the sky). Want to know more about Malcolm and his debut picture book, PLUS want a sneak peek at some more titles of his that are coming your way soon? Read on...
Q: Hi, Malcolm! Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit. We're excited to have you and hear all about your debut picture book, Dear Star Baby. This book is not only beautiful but it touches on such an important topic. Can you share a little bit about your path to publication and your debut picture book with us?
A: Thank you so much for those warm words, Heather! It’s an honor to join #SeasonsOfKidLit!
In Dear Star Baby a little boy processes the grief he and his family experience after a miscarriage. Written as a letter to his unborn sibling, he tells the baby all about how they were preparing their home to welcome them and the things he was looking forward to doing together. He processes his wonders, wishes, and sadness after this tremendous loss. My heart is in this book. I essentially tried to write the book that I wish I had when my family experienced miscarriage.
Dear Star Baby was acquired in mid-2021 by Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books. An interesting tidbit about the path to publication is that this was actually my second acquired book. But, due to differences in lead time and schedule changes, Dear Star Baby ended up releasing first.
Q: Writing about tough topics for kids, especially in an approachable and relatable way, can definitely be a challenge. How did you make this accessible to younger readers and what tips do you have for anyone looking to write something similar?
A: I can imagine it would be a nice feeling to reach the point where I feel like I know enough about writing about tough topics to be able to provide tips. The reality is that I have TONS more to learn. So, for now, I feel like the best I can do is share the way I approached it. And, if it resonates with others, awesome.
With regard to making this accessible to young readers, I really tried to think through my own experiences of discussing tough topics with my own and other children. I especially thought a lot about what questions they might ask and tried to write the text in such a way to facilitate that as best I could.
But, probably the most important thing I thought about when writing this (and I often think about when writing for young readers, in general), is that young readers are very bright. And, even though they may not have had much experience with the topic, I believed they would be able to understand and conceptualize far more than what many adults often give them credit for. So, with that in mind, I approached the topic more from a standpoint of wanting to supply words that could help encourage healthy dialogue and the processing of grief rather than “teach.”
Q: Beaming Books has such a beautiful list of books - yours is the perfect addition to their list! The illustrations for Dear Star Baby (Illustrated by Kamala Nair) are amazing. Can you share some of your favorite spreads from the book?
A: My favorite spreads are, I knew something was wrong and Now I wonder which star you are (pictured below).
Thanks for sharing those with us, Malcom! I can tell why they're your favorite- they're beautiful and impactful at the same time.
Also, I own your beautiful book and had to share my favorite spread, too. Your words are poetic and Kamala's work perfectly compliments them, which makes Dear Star Baby truly shine!
Q: What makes your book the perfect addition to any home and school library?
A: Well, to my knowledge, there just aren’t many picture books that deal with the subject of miscarriage, pregnancy loss, or stillbirth. But approximately one million people throughout the US experience these horrors each year—many of them multiple times over multiple years. So, I just hope that it helps to fill a void that many homes have.
I think this could also be a great resource for school social workers and counselors who are looking to support students who have a personal experience with pregnancy loss and may be worried, confused, and/or grieving.
Q: Well said. I can see where so many would find your book beneficial and needed.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
A: Hehe. Well, well. I alluded to one book earlier. SYDNEY’S BIG SPEECH, published by HarperCollins is scheduled to release early next year. This picture book follows a young girl who is too nervous to speak in front of her class about what she wants to be when she grows up, until her father teaches her about several great Black women leaders. It’s illustrated by the amazing Jade Orlando!
I also anticipate three more exciting titles to be released over the next 3 years. However, I’m still a bit hush-hush about them since they have not been publicly announced. Keep your eyes peeled!
How exciting - I can wait to hear more! Thanks so much for joining us today, Malcolm. It was a pleasure having you. Congrats again on your new book!
Pssst...Readers, Fun Fact: As I was scheduling this post last night, Malcolm posted a NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMNT! Check out another title of his, coming your way soon!
This sounds amazing - congrats again! Everyone, make sure to leave a comment below and thank Malcolm for stopping by.
About Malcolm Newsome:
Malcolm Newsome is a children's book author from the Chicago area. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology, previously served as the executive vice president of a software consulting firm, and now works in cyber security. He writes picture books with the aim of bringing hope and possibility to as many young people as he can. Malcolm is a married father of five. After the first three children were born, they experienced the loss of two unborn children. He hopes his debut picture book, Dear Star Baby, will bring healing to the millions of other families who experience this kind of grief.
When he’s not writing or spending time with family, you’ll probably find him either reading, spending time outside in his mini-orchard, or being a lumberjack.
For More About Malcolm, visit the following links:
Website: Malcolm Newsome
To purchase Malcolm's books on Amazon, or to leave a review for them, click here.