Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, everyone - including all you zombie lovers! Today, we have an extra special treat for you. Megan and Jorge Lacera are both here to talk about their adorable book; Zombies Don't Eat Veggies! Their book, filled with zombi-riffic fun, follows Mo, a veggie-loving zombie who tries to get his parents to appreciate veggies just as much as he does. This proves to be pretty challenging as you could imagine. Want to know more about Megan and Jorge, and their little zombie pal Mo? Read on...
Q: Hi, Jorge and Megan. Thank you for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I’m thrilled to have you both! My favorite monsters of all are zombies, so naturally I find your book AMAZING! Can you share a little about yourselves and how this cool and unique story came about?
J: Gracias, Heather! As a kid, I was hungry for books that were about things that I liked (monsters, creepy stuff, funny stories) that also featured Latinx characters as the heroes/leads. There were very few, and while it's a bit better now, there is still a long way to go. So creating a book that answered that need was a big spark for Zombies Don't Eat Veggies. Especially because our son also loves spooky, creepy, quirky stories and has since he was very little. We know he's not alone! Our hope was to show a multi-racial zombie family livin' that gutsy zombie life in a fun, age-appropriate way.
M: Another spark was that our son, like many kids, was very picky about food. He was skeptical about nearly everything on his plate. After many uneaten meals, we imagined a story where the reverse were true--what if there were a kid who truly loved everything about veggies and their parents were the picky ones who refused to even look at them? From there, we started to tap into bigger themes...what does it mean to be different from your family? From your culture? How can you assert your true self with people you love and care about? What does it look like when parents accept that their child is their own person with their own preferences? So this zombie story turned into something with much more heart and, hopefully, brainssssss.
Q: Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! follows Mo, a young zombie, as he does one of the most despicable things zombies can do…eats veggies! What fun challenges will Mo and his family encounter?
J: At the beginning, Mo's parents--and really, the entire zombie community--refuses to accept vegetables. They are forbidden. Only zombie cuisine (like armpanadas and chili con ojos) is allowed. So I'd say this is a pretty big challenge for Mo, who is obsessed with veggies and gags at the traditional zombie cuisine.
M: Yep. Mo is desperate for his parents to see what he sees in vegetables--and what he sees is love :) He tries everything to make them appreciate potatoes, peppers, and onions and they are just not having it. My favorite thing that he tries is getting them to read a book entitled "Eating Vegetables" by Jonathan Saffron Gore. Their interest level? Zero.
Q: As Mo continues his savory passion, his family struggles with his cravings. How will adults and children alike relate to Mo and his family?
J: Nearly every parent I know has lived through their kids having phases where they will only eat a few things...pizza, or spaghetti, or dinosaur-shaped nuggets...and you want to pull your hair out when you make a full dinner and your kids won't eat a single bit of it. There you are after an hour in the kitchen and you're yanking out a second dinner, hoping your child will finally eat something.
M: The worst! And I think kids will relate to the truth that they have things they love and they want their families to love them too. They wonder how they fit in if they aren't always the exact same. Plus, they'll laugh at seeing Mo's mom lose her head when she tries his veggie soup :)
Q: What makes this the perfect zombified treat for fall?
J: It's fun, it's funny, it's kooky, and not too spooky. There's a great picture of Mo winning a pumpkin-growing contest. There are three fall-friendly recipes at the end. Also, how can you go wrong with zombies? (Okay, there are ways, but let's not focus on those).
M: We also have an official theme song to go with the book that will get kids singing and dancing this fall. It's great for Fall parties and Halloween celebrations. You can check it out for free here: https://soundcloud.com/user-640537896/zombies-dont-eat-veggies-the-official-theme-song or find it on iTunes, Spotify, or Amazon Music.
Q: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
J: There will be more Mo! But first, we have a new story coming out in the Fall of 2023 called THE WILD ONES. It's a picture book with graphic novel elements and we're super excited about it.
M: It's about a group of four best friends and neighbors whose lives are upended when developers buy their apartment building and decide to turn it into corporate offices. Led by Valentina, Jasmine, Xander and Andy (aka The Wild Ones) set out to save their home and their friendship before it's too late.
Thanks again for joining us, Megan and Jorge! We can't WAIT to check out The Wild Ones!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
J & M: We are offering a treat - one free picture critique--either text or text + art, depending on whether the winner is a writer only or writer/illustrator.
Thanks so much for such a sweet treat!
Contest Details: To enter to win a free picture book critique, comment below and let Jorge and Megan know what you love most about Mo! The winner will be announced on or about November 4th.
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 Jorge and Megan Lacera:
Jorge Lacera was born in Colombia, and grew up in Miami, Florida, drawing in sketchbooks, on napkins, on walls, and anywhere his parents would let him. After graduating with honors from Ringling College of Art and Design, Jorge worked as a visual development and concept artist. As a big fan of pop culture, comics, and zombie movies, Jorge rarely saw Latino kids as the heroes or leads. He is committed to changing that, especially now that he has a son. He is the co-creator (with his partner Megan Lacera) of ZOMBIES DON'T EAT VEGGIES, the illustrator of XO, EXOPLANET written by Deborah Underwood, and the illustrator of PRUETT AND SOO, written by Nancy Viau. You can find him online at studiolacera.com. Follow him on Twitter @jlacera!
Megan Lacera grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, with a book always in her hands. She became a writer and creator of characters and worlds for entertainment companies, and later formed her own creative company with husband Jorge Lacera. After reading many stories to their son, Megan realized that very few books reflected a family like theirs—multicultural, bilingual, funny, and imperfect. She decided to change that by writing her own stories for publishing, animation, and film. You can learn more about Megan and Studio Lacera at studiolacera.com
For more about Jorge and Megan, check out the below links: