Book Giveaway: SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA by Candy Wellins
Author Candy Wellins debut picture book titled, SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA, illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan and published by Page Street Kids came out on August 11th. PSK’s has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.
Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Candy and Charlie!
George loves Saturdays.
That’s because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel! Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs.
But one week, his parents explain that George won’t be able to have Saturdays with Stella anymore. Stella is gone. Then George hates Saturdays. That is until his new sister, Stella, arrives, and George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma―while making new ones too.
I first put pen to paper for this story four years ago. My family was in the middle of a big move and we were spending a few weeks holed up in a cabin in the woods in the interim. The break was a nice opportunity for me to get some quality writing done.
I had always wanted to write a grandparents story. My grandmothers were so integral to my childhood and I wanted to convey that love and relationship in a story.
So I began a story that was originally called GEORGE & STELLA: A LOVE STORY. The first draft was a series of love letters between grandparent and grandchild. There were some nice moments, but it wasn’t really complete.
Both my grandmothers died when I was pregnant with my first child. Since they never got to meet them, I have always consciously tried to share their memories, photos and traditions with my kids. That idea of sharing experiences through different generations is important to me.
Because of the age gap between grandparents and grandchildren, death is something that must inevitably be faced. I knew young kids experience this and I wanted my story to address this.
The second draft of the story ended with Stella’s death. It was sad and George moved on knowing he had nice memories to reflect on, but it didn’t feel authentic. No one (kid or adult) can move on that easily (or that quickly) and I knew it. George needed time to grieve.
I sat with the story for a really long time. I wanted George to recover, but I also wanted him to remember Stella because that’s how life works. The wound heals, but a scar remains.
My second draft included the scene where George gets angry and blacks out all the Saturdays on his calendar. As I reread it one day, I was reminded of marking my own calendar with weekly milestones each time I was pregnant. Suddenly I realized what George needed to get through his grief: a new Stella.
Baby Stella gave George a reason to savor Saturdays again as well as chance to share Grandma’s memories and traditions with his sister. We may lose people (whether to death, moves or other life transitions), but we have many ways of keeping them close to our hearts and part of our lives forever.
We sold this version of the story to Page Street Kids almost exactly two years ago. We did not make many changes during the editing process (the biggest change was the title). I am so pleased with how the book turned out. The illustrator Charlie Eve Ryan really did a fantastic job of bringing George and his Stellas to life. I’m excited the book is finally out in the world and I hope it brings closure and peace to readers who need it.
Candy Wellins is a lifelong writer and book lover. A former elementary school teacher, Candy has a BA in journalism and an M.Ed. in literacy education. She’s now a full-time mom to three wonderful children who keep her up-to-date and immersed in kid’s literature. When she’s not reading, writing or mother, Candy loves running, traveling and naps!
Her debut picture book Saturdays Are For Stella (Illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan, PAGE STREET KIDS) earned a Kirkus-starred review and comes out in August 2020. Her debut picture book biography The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space (Illustrated by Courtney Dawson, PHILOMEL) comes out in early 2021. Candy and her family make their home in Central Texas. You can follow her at www.candywellins.com, on Instagram @candywellins or on Facebook @candywellins
Charlie Eve Ryan is as an author/illustrator in Eastern Pennsylvania. Her art brings a sense of intimacy to her work and capture little moments in time. By combining simple designs with memorable characters, rich textures and imaginative storytelling, I strive to leave a bit of wonder behind with each story. She has a fondness for digital watercolor, pencil, pastels, mixed media paint and ink.
Charlie says she lives in a tumbledown cottage with my husband, two little ones, one fluffy cat, and a couple of overly-affectionate fish.
Candy, thank you for sharing your book and your journey with us. I have a copy of the book and the story and the illustrations are exceptional. I like how it explores the complex emotions that come with both the exit and entrance of loved ones. I am sure parents will use this book to help their children get through difficult times. Good luck with the book.