(Tundra Books, Aug.). The premise is not exactly standard picture book
fare: a bug’s life changes with the click of a switch when he flies through an
open door and is sucked into a vacuum cleaner bag. Trapped in the darkness, he moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair, and acceptance
as he comes to terms with his uncertain fate.
“This is definitely a departure for me,” says Watt of her latest work. “It
took me in a totally different direction.” The author hatched the story idea
while spring-cleaning her Montreal home. “I realized I had vacuumed a
few bugs, and began trying to put myself in their place,” she recalls. “I fig-
ured they must still be alive in the bag and began wondering what was hap-
pening to them—and if they were upset in there. I ended up emptying that
bag right away for sure.”
As authors are wont to do, Watt decided to turn that quotidian incident
into a story—and was inspired to use Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief as a
model. “I wanted to introduce those different emotions without being too
dark, which was a real challenge for me,” she notes. “I didn’t want to focus
necessarily on grief or death, but to use the concept to make it relatable to
kids, and show them how to deal with life’s challenges or surprises—like
the bug who finds himself in a vacuum.”
Watt also took her art in a new direction in
Bug in a Vacuum, which she created with var-
ious media and assembled in Photoshop. “I
like to challenge myself and do something
visually different with each book or series,”
she says. “My new book has a different look
than the others, and is loaded with layers of
different textures. My files were so big that
the project really strained my computer.”
The author signs ARCs of Bug in a Vacuum
today, 2–2: 30 p.m., at Table 3, and later will
visit the Penguin Random House Canada
booth (3151) to greet fans. She’s looking for-
ward to introducing booksellers to her new
book, which has been long in the coming.
course, with a foodie protagonist like Thorvald and a setting like Minnesota,
props include quintessential culinary delights particular to the region that
will surely warm the hearts of any readers lucky enough to have partaken of
such delicacies: lutefisk, hotdish, and [dessert] bars.
Stradal says that he wanted to hang his story around food because, he
confesses, he has always been intrigued by the “dichotomy” of Midwestern
cuisine and because food is so central to people’s lives. Growing up in the
1980s, Stradal remembers meals from his childhood as bland and boring,
with an emphasis on processed foods from packages. He describes the cur-
rent state of Midwestern cuisine as traditional, but in recent years there’s
been a “confident stride” toward eating local and organic foods. “Minneso-
tans are now conscientious of their food choices in a way that wasn’t true
when I was growing up,” he says. “It’s interesting to me to set this novel in
the context of this culinary revolution.”
In a way, he says, this new emphasis on eating fresh foods hark back to an
earlier era: one of his main sources in conceptualizing the “old-school”
meals prepared by Thorvald in her pop-up restaurants was a spiral-bound
book of recipes compiled by the church ladies at the Lutheran church his
grandmother attended in Hunter, N.D., west of Fargo.
Stradal signs today at the PRH booth (3119) at Table 2, 1:30–2: 30 p.m.
Not a Squirrel or a Cat—It’s a Bug
The author of series starring Scaredy Squirrel and Chester the cat, Mélanie Watt showcases a considerably smaller creature in Bug in a Vacuum
“The Midwest is... so rich, and ignored by people on the coasts. ”—J. Ryan Stradal
Wednesday, May 27
Thursday, May 28
10: 30 a.m.
Meet Rick Bragg
in-booth galley signing
Friday, May 29
1: 30 p.m.
Food & Wine
Weed the People
9: 30 a.m.
finished book giveaway
Fall 2015 Highlights
Our list is headlined by an all-star lineup of iconic chefs and celebrated authors, such as national
television superstar Emeril Lagasse, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, James Beard Award–
winning author Joanne Weir and original Food Network star Sara Moulton! We are also pleased
to kick off our exclusive nonfiction children’s publishing partnership with Animal Planet.
Note: Limited quantities of finished books and galleys are available for giveaways and signings
and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
Don’t miss our exclusive daily signings,
giveaways, raffles and events.
COME VISIT US AT BOOTH 3056
read. brag. repeat. #bookbrag
@bookbrag bookbrag.tumblr.com /bookbrag
View our full schedule online at bookbrag.tumblr.com
Follow @bookbrag for surprise giveaways & special content
*Please note: Only a limited quantity of galleys are available for giveaways and
will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. Author signings are ticketed,
and tickets will be handed out starting 30 minutes prior to start time on a
first-come first-serve basis.
Galley Giveaway: Made to Kill by Adam Christopher ( Tor Books)
Galley Giveaway: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))
SUSAN DENNARD SIGNING
Truthwitch Galleys ( Tor Teen)
Galley Giveaway: Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall (Flatiron Books)
MIKE CURATO SIGNING
Little Elliot, Big Family Advanced Finished Books (Henry Holt and Co. (BYR))
Galley Giveaway: Keep Calm by Michael Binder (Henry Holt and Co.)
Galley & Poster Giveaway: Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
2: 30 PM:
3: 30 PM:
4: 30 PM: