My First Picture Book MINE!
As with many picture books, MINE! was many years in the making. I sketched the very first dummy over a couple of years, inspired by memories of playing in the snow with my big sister. After revising the story at least a dozen times, I tucked the draft away in a drawer for a whole summer to "incubate." Then in November 2013, I had an opportunity to share my MINE! dummy at a children's book portfolio event. There I met cool art director Lucy Ruth Cummins who chuckled while reviewing it. That reaction alone made my day, and it just got better from there! She took it Simon & Schuster "with no promises" but, happy ending/beginning, I was offered a book contract the following January. This is not the usual way a book gets acquired, I later learned, but what a wonderful New Year's gift! By June 2014, revisions were looking good, and I completed the interior book art that summer. Cover art was finished at the beginning of 2015, and the last set of proofs arrived in July 2015... And as of January 2016, MINE! is available to readers– YAY!!
I am so thankful to the amazing Simon & Schuster team. My editor Justin Chanda and art director Lucy Ruth Cummins brought my original sketch dummy to its fullest potential. Also a big thanks to editorial assistant Alexa Pastor for all her kind help during production and marketing.
* Click here to read my interview with amazing children's author/illustrator and my wonderful teacher Monica Wellington.
"A minimalistic, humorous tale about competitive bunnies, a carrot, and the notion of sharing. During a nice morning in wintertime, two bunnies riding on a red sleigh encounter a black top hat with a carrot inside. Through a series of illustrations, they are shown shouting "Mine! Mine!" to each other while fighting over the carrot. After a vigorous action sequence in which each fights for the carrot, they lose it, and a big bunny and five little bunnies appear to add competition over the much-desired carrot. It is when a morose, noseless snowman enters this scene of covetous chaos that bunnies and young readers are challenged with the concepts of possession, sharing, and ownership. In this debut picture book, Jin tells the story with only three words: the possessive pronouns "mine," ours," and "yours." The textual simplicity results in a story that is heavily reliant on the pastel-hued acrylic illustrations, the emotions conveyed with crystalline clarity through facial expressions, page composition, and pacing. This nondidactic story is a natural for collections about sharing, effectively softening the natural tendency toward possessiveness of most living things through its sweet illustrations." – Kirkus
"This comic but meaningful story about selfishness and generosity contains only three words: mine, ours,
and yours. Center stage in a wintry forest is one very big carrot. Two bunnies sled down a hill and spot this
carrot, just visible within a stray top hat. Together, they tug it out of the hat, but once the carrot is out, a
double-page spread does a close-up of the bunnies at either end of the prize, both saying, “Mine.” Chase
scenes and tugs-of-war ensue, with the grab fest expanding to the two bunnies pitted against a very large
rabbit, each laying claim to the carrot. Then a group of tiny bunnies intercepts the vegetable, shouting,
“Ours!” The epic fight ends beneath the shadow of a sad snowman, who has lost his carrot nose. The
resolution, in which the bunnies give the snowman back his nose—“Yours!”—hits a joyous note. The
illustrations feature bright acrylics and emphatic typefaces for the three words. Jin’s debut is a ridiculous
romp and a positive lesson in sharing." – Booklist