TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Kate McMullan

Kate McMullan on Happy Springtime!

In this post, we feature author Kate McMullan, whose beloved titles include the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, I Stink!. You can hear her speak about her new picture book, Happy Springtime!, illustrated by Sujean Rim, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Kate McMullan and the cover of Happy Springtime!

Happy Springtime!

  • Written by Kate McMullan, illustrated by Sujean Rim
  • Published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: March 9, 2021

All winter, the days grow a little bit longer,
The nights grow a little bit shorter,
until the day becomes exactly as long as the night.
On that day we say…

This bright, bouncy, and deliriously colorful picture book is an ode to the joys of spring, encouraging everyone who waits out the slow lengthening of days through the end of winter. From earmuffed crossing guards to sweater wearing dogs, from painters of flowers to planters of seeds, Happy Springtime! celebrates the burst of life following the thaw of winter.

An interior spread from Happy Springtime!, written by Kate McMullan and illustrated by Sujean Rim, showing ducks and ducklings in the water and then springtime sights: muddy cars, spring flowers, and muddy boots.
An interior spread from Happy Springtime!, written by Kate McMullan and illustrated by Sujean Rim, showing a pond filled with ducks and lilypads and, next to it, a woman playing guitar on a blanket, surrounded by three children and a dog.

Explore Happy Springtime!

Listen to Kate McMullan talking with TeachingBooks about creating Happy Springtime!. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Kate McMullan.

Imagination Activity with Kate McMullan

An old rhyme says: April showers bring May flowers. The rhyme is supposed to help us not mind when it’s rainy in April because rain will help the flowers bloom in May. What else can you imagine that April showers might bring in the spring? Write about what you imagine or draw a picture that shows what you imagine.

Finish This Sentence . . . with Kate McMullan

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Kate McMullan’s response.

As a child, my favorite book was . . .”

As a child, my favorite book was The Borrowers, by Mary Norton. It is about a teeny tiny little British family that lives under the big grandfather clock in the house of a regular-sized British family. Pod, the father of the little family, sneaks out to borrow things from the big family, such as a thimble for a cooking pot. He puts himself in great danger going out, especially from the big family’s cat. Homily is the mother, and she is a worrywart, but of course she had reason to worry. And the teenaged daughter, Arrietty, is very curious about the big family and is always almost getting caught. The book is filled with wonderful details and lots of drama. Luckily for me, there are several sequels, and I read them all. 

“The character I’ve most enjoyed writing about is…”

The character I’ve most enjoyed writing about is Fluffy, the Classroom Guinea Pig. I’d heard some writers say that they could hear their characters talking inside their heads, but I had never personally experienced this until I began writing about Fluffy. When a guinea pig is brought into the classroom, the kids name him Fluffy. But the pig thinks he’s a tough guy, that he should have been named King or Duke or Tiger. I wrote 24 Fluffy books for new readers, and after the second or third book, my inner Fluffy began communicating with me, and I could more or less ‘hear’ his voice inside my head. After that, I just wrote down what he said, and it almost always made me laugh. 

Thank you!

To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Kate McMullen for signing a book for all of us.

The title page of Happy Springtime! signed by the author, Kate McMullen, with the message, "Happy springtime to YOU!"

More Connections to Kate McMullan and Happy Springtime!

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Kate McMullan, Sujean Rim, and Holiday House Books and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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