What If...Two Best Friends Made a Book Together? - Guest Post & Giveaway

Helloooooo there, Alyson! Hellooooo, Kidlit Frenzy!


Thank you for being a part of our blog tour and for sharing our new book What If….

It’s a story about the indomitable spirit of human creativity to triumph over any circumstance, and we were beyond-beyond fortunate to make this book together.

Many times when you co-create a book with someone, you don’t know the other person, let alone have the opportunity to actually work together. Maybe the writer and illustrator live across the world from each other. Maybe they’ve never met and will never have the chance to meet. Maybe they speak different languages, and never talk during the whole book-making process. It doesn’t mean the book won’t be a wonderful collaboration, it just happens to be the way the process works a lot of the time. Each person does her/his part separately, while the publisher manages all communication.

But in this rare, rare, all-caps RARE example, we not only got to work on this book together, we got to work on this book together in the same room! And together on the phone! And together in New York and California and in Northampton, MA! And together in humor and spirit and sensibility. It was the experience of a lifetime, especially with a book that’s so near and dear to both of our hearts.

We have talked about how, in the case of What If…, there isn’t really a place where the text ends and the illustration begins. Or where the illustration exists without the text. They are holding hands on every page. If you take away one, the whole book changes. The relationship between what you read and what you see is like a harmony. Both Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are amazing to listen to individually, but singing together, their songs become something else entirely. Entirely magical. (*incidentally, Ella and Louie duets are some of our favorite harmonies to sing, but you might be surprised which one of us sings which part!)

So making this book together was an incredibly unique and special experience. When either one of us reads the book, every single time, we both feel our friendship on every page. The book is not only a mindmeld collaboration, but also a memory bank of so many joyous times together creating it.

We remember reading the manuscript together for the first time during dinner at the Mermaid Inn.

Sam remembers each time we brainstormed, each time we had a big AH-HA! moment, and every gasp-worthy image Mike showed her along the way.

YAY! Photo credit: Jesse Klausmeier

YAY! Photo credit: Jesse Klausmeier

Mike remembers when Sam went leaping down the beach when she first heard Little, Brown would be publishing it.

Sam remembers the day Mike called with the tremendous news, “DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN ORDER REAL AUTUMN LEAVES ONLINE?!?!”

© 2017 Mike Curato

© 2017 Mike Curato

Mike remembers when we spontaneously bee-lined it into Shutters on the Beach to celebrate doing the book together, with champagne and oysters...and more champagne and oysters. Sam remembers when Mike’s first sugar cube igloo collapsed and he was SO FRUSTRATED. Mike remembers when he showed Sam how his own reflection can be seen in the metal bowl on top of the rocketship and SHE COULD NOT GET OVER IT (she still can’t!).

© 2017 Mike Curato

© 2017 Mike Curato

Most of all, we will always remember how much we laughed while making this book. We are still laughing, and the book hasn’t even come out yet. We will be laughing all book tour long.

What are we laughing about right now?

We are joking about what the sequel to this book should be called:

  • WHAT THE ----?!
  • AS IF?!?!

We are also joking about alternative author photos we could have used for this book:

Sketch of Sam by Mike, and “Mike-rophone” by Sam

Sketch of Sam by Mike, and “Mike-rophone” by Sam

Mike & Sam Montage.png

And we are also joking about What If...some of our previous book titles had been combined. We might have:

  • Little Elliot, Big New Undies
  • Worm Loves WitchSpa
  • All the Way to Snoozefest
  • Crankenstein: Fall...Friend?
  • Martha Doesn’t Say Big Fun
  • Little Elliot, Bigger Bigfoot

Micantha Berato and Sike Curber

Anyway, you get the point.

Nothing, and we do mean nothing, has been as much fun and as much of a joy as creating this book together.

It is the song of Sam’s soul. It is the beat of Mike’s heart. It is the highest note of our friendship (so far). We really hope you like it.

© 2017 Mike Curato

© 2017 Mike Curato

We’d like to thank our entire team at Little, Brown (all the “Little Brownies,” and particularly our awesome editor Andrea Spooner, her incredible assistant Hallie Tibbetts, constantly clever Designer Saho Fujii, and creative guru, Dave Caplan) for making this magic happen, believing in this book from the beginning, and helping us every step of the way. Much love to our outstanding Literary Agent, Brenda Bowen, for being Queen B (Queen Double B) to BBOTH of us.

And a giant standing O, big bravo, and roses throw, to you, Alyson, for hosting us here on Kidlit Frenzy, and for everything you do in the name of kids, books, and kids and books together.

-Samantha and Mike, Mike and Samantha

photo credit Leo Moreton

photo credit Leo Moreton

Please join us for the rest of The Official What If Blog Tour:

3/26 Nerdy Book Club: WHAT IF...We Told You the Story Behind the Story?

3/27 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast: WHAT IF…Mike Curato Used Mixed Media to Make a Book?

3/28 Pragmatic Mom: WHAT IF...We Used Our Creativity to Overcome Obstacles?

3/30 Watch Connect Read: WHAT IF...We Revealed our New Book Trailer?


Enter here to win a copy of WHAT IF...