Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, everyone! Today, we have debut picture book author, C.K. Malone here to share their newly-released book with us, A Costume for Charly (illustrated by Alejandra Barajas). As we know, costumes are an extremely important part of Halloween. We all want to make sure we pick just the right costume that suits us. Charly, C.K.'s MC, is doing just that in the story, only they face a few challenges in the process. Want to know more about C.K., Charly, and Charly's adventure in picking out the perfect costume for them? Read on...
Q: Hi, C.K. Thank you for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I’m thrilled to have you! Your debut picture book, A Costume for Charly, just arrived at bookstores everywhere. We’re excited to hear more about it. First, can you share a little about yourself and how you became a children’s author with us?
A: I’m a teacher, GSA advisor, hockey fanatic, pet loving, food adoring and book reading fierce protector of kiddos who identify since–often–they do not have strong allies in the school system or at home. It is one of my passions. I had only one real ally, aside from my parents, who truly understood who I was on the inside. W often had her own trials to face as a Trans Woman of Color. (I capitalize these words because this is always how she introduced herself to others.) I became a children’s author through a long and winding road no one truly wants to read about, TBH. Fast forward. But I chose picture books because I adore them and saw a need for Bigender representation after facing my own trial by fire during COVID.
Q: In A Costume for Charly, Charly must find the perfect costume for Halloween but faces some challenges. What struggles does Charly encounter?
A: Costumes are a popular way to show one is LGBTQIA+. Halloween is so important to the community. Charly is a bit different in that they identify as both a boy and girl in equal amounts (just MY Bigender identity…I don’t speak for all Bigender peeps). They want to show this to their friends. Though there are unisex costumes and boy or girl costumes, all erase both parts. Charly wants a costume that will reflect on the outside what they feel on the inside. So that’s why they choose both Red Riding Hood since she’s seen as a girl and Dracula since he’s seen as a boy (taken both from literature). Typical drawings of Red show a bodice and some sort of cap sleeves and typical drawings of Dracula are in a tux or suit meaning pants. This outfit fits Charly perfectly. (And me too, TBH, since I might do this NEXT Halloween. This Halloween, I’m a bat because GSA kids decided the costume.) My illustrator, Alejandra Barajas, perfectly captured my vision!
Q: What will readers love most about Charly and their determination?
A: I *hope* readers love the fact that Charly is able to solve their own problem even though I, at a young age when W helped me, couldn’t. But what I REALLY hope, is that readers see this type of kid in their lives. The kid who knows what they want and only needs a small push to achieve it. Charly lives my dreams just as I hope others allow the kids in their lives to follow their own dreams in a way that is right for them.
Q: What makes A Costume for Charly the perfect read for Halloween?
A: It’s not spooky or scary, so it might not be as much fun as some books for Halloween. However, for kiddos, it is about presenting your own identity for a holiday and illustrating that this is the *perfect* time to do so. Kids need an outlet, and what better way than reading a picture book to them showing how one child was able to channel that outlet into expressing their identity in every way, shape, or form?
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
A: I turned in my final edits a bit ago for book two, so I hope it is announced soon!!! I have a couple more items in the works. Moreso, I hope to continue to join panels, offer whatever I can to contests, etc. This community is so wonderful and there are amazing PBs we haven’t yet seen published.
Congrats again, C.K.! Thanks for sharing such an amazing story!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: I’m offering a query + PB critique up to 1,500 words of fiction, nonrhyming. (2 winners)
I’m also offering a signed copy of my book, bookmarks, LGBTQIA+ pins, and stickers. (1 winner)
Thanks SO much for such amazing treats!
Contest Details: To enter to win one of C.K.'s generous treats mentioned above, comment below and let them know why you're excited to read their new title, and which prize you'd like to win! Three winners will be announced on or about November 4th.
*Note: Book giveaways will be shipped in the US only.
Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.
About C.K. Malone:
C.K. Malone (they/them) is a bigender educator and literature coach at the secondary level. When not grading essays or helping students, they're busy helping design culturally and LGBTQIA+ responsive units for the district and working as a climate and culture coach. When they're not writing, they're coaching and advising through alignment with the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network. C.K. continues this work in the literary world by advocating for all to be given the space to tell their own stories. Though they love the many hats they wear, their favorite is as an advocate for diverse voices.
For more about C.K., check out the below links:
Website: carlislemalonebooks.com (Readers, come visit C.K.'s website to meet authors and win prizes!)
To purchase C.K.'s books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.