The boxes arrived on Friday afternoon, but we were too busy packing for a weekend away to give them the attention they deserved. And so we piled the kids and blankets and toothbrushes and dog food (and dog) into the car and left the boxes behind.
We relaxed a little, celebrated Jasper’s birthday, and tromped in the snow. When we came back, the boxes were still there. We waited another day for good measure, and then we decided to open them.
The idea for Cookie Chronicles took root three years ago this month. Early one morning, I tapped a paragraph about a guy named Stan who liked noodles. The noodles led me to giving Stan a fortune cookie. The fortune cookie led me to wonder what adventures a fortune cookie might set in motion.
I set the paragraph aside and forgot about entirely it for the next six months. And then one day, I returned to the file and started writing again. Stan became Ben. The love of noodles remained. The fortune cookie became the series-driving hook. Our agent pitched the series in November 2018, and by December we had sold the first three books to Katherine Harrison at Knopf Books for Young Readers. I’ve spent at least part of each day since with Ben Yokoyama and his friend Janet, the heroes of these books who have become like family to me.
Over the span of those three years, the books existed only on my laptop screen and Indesign layouts and PDF proofs. The words and illustrations were abstract concepts, but books are meant to be held.
So that’s what we did.
We couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. The design is spot on. The paper is lovely. The finish is smooth yet feels sturdy, like the kind of book that would welcome a subsequent read or twenty.
It felt like the kind of book I would like to have played a role in making.
After giving our two new books a proper welcome, I set them next next to their older siblings. I love our picture books, but there’s something so delicious about the fat stack of pages that makes up a novel. And something even more satisfying about novels side-by-side.
This lineup will continue to expand in years to come. The first two Cookie Chronicles volumes hit bookshelves on March 2, with book three to follow this December—and books four and five on the not-so-distant horizon.
The box is open. The books are heading out into the world. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.