A Map into the World: Saying Goodbye to Bob

by Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books

In fall 2019, we released A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang. In this heartfelt picture book, Kalia and illustrator Seo Kim tell the story of a young Hmong girl who experiences the cycle of the seasons as well as the cycle of life, welcoming twin baby brothers along with watching her across-the-street neighbor Bob grieve the death of his wife, Ruth. The character of Bob was based on Kalia’s real-life neighbor Bob, an unassuming man in his early 90s who certainly never imagined he’d one day be in the pages of a children’s book.

It is with much sadness I share the following remembrance, in which Kao Kalia Yang says a final goodbye to Bob.

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Fly Back, Agnes and the Gift of an Imperfect Protagonist

by Amy Fitzgerald, Editorial Director, Carolrhoda Books

I still see it all the time:

What an unlikeable protagonist.

The main character is so selfish.

This girl makes terrible decisions!

I’ve invented these particular statements, but they’re composites of opinions I frequently come across in discussions about books. I find them particularly amusing when they’re applied to middle-grade and YA novels.

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