I’m definitely dancing today! It was just a year ago that I featured author/illustrator Benson Shum on Will Write and Illustrate for Cookies. We were celebrating the release of his picture book, ANZU THE GREAT KAIJU. And guess what? Today is the launch of the sequel: ANZU, THE GREAT LISTENER! Hold onto your hats, dear friends…Benson shares a bit about his path to publication for this book…and at the end of the post, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of the new book, plus some book swag!!!
WOW! I love the title! I love the cover! I love everything about this book!
Here’s a little bit about the book from the Amazon sales page:
In this follow-up to Anzu the Great Kaiju, created by Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum, we follow sweet and well-intentioned Anzu as he learns a valuable lesson about patience and empathy in the face of sadness―perfect for fans of The Rabbit Listened.
Anzu the kaiju loves to tend to his bonsai.
Whenever he feels overwhelmed or unsettled, it helps him pause and reminds him to just . . . breathe.
One day, when Anzu hears crying in the distance, he’s eager to help! The flower-power that makes his bonsai bloom has a way of making others smile.
But when Anzu’s flowers seem to lose their power, hurting more than they help, he’s not sure where to turn―until he remembers some valuable lessons he learned from his bonsai tree.
In Anzu the Great Listener, creator and Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum illustrates the importance of patience, empathy, and above all, taking the time to listen.
And here’s Benson with a little bit about how the book came to be:
BENSON: After Anzu the Great Kaiju, I started to pitch some ideas for the second book. What if we introduced a new friend? Or maybe we keep focused with Anzu and grow with him more? We decided to go the second route. What would Anzu do if he was put in a situation he’s never been in. We talked about the importance of patience and empathy. How would he react if faced with sadness? That’s how we came to the story of Anzu the Great Listener.
I love stories for children that encourage empathy, kindness and patience!
Here’s a little bit about author/illustrator Benson:
Benson Shum is a children’s book author and illustrator. The idea that an image or painting can evoke emotions and movement is what brought him to the world of picture books and animation. Benson uses watercolor, ink and digital tools to create his illustrations. His book, Anzu the Great Listener was selected for the Kid’s Indie Next List recommended for Jan/Feb 2023 by (ABA) American Booksellers Association. Anzu the Great Kaiju received a starred review from School Library Journal. His book Alex’s Good Fortune was also selected to be part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library 2023.
Aside from writing and illustrating, Benson is an Animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he was a part of such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Frozen 2 and Encanto. Originally from Vancouver, BC, he now lives in sunny southern California.
And if you’d like to connect with Benson and/or learn more about his work:
bensonshum.com. Instagram/Twitter/Tiktok: @bshum79
We always love to support local bookstores.
For signed copies of Benson’s books:
Once Upon a Time Bookstore:
Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of ANZU THE GREAT LISTENER – and Benson is including a postcard and sticker for the winner!!!! Sharing the post on your social media helps spread the word about new books…so I hope you will do that!
Thank you all for stopping by and spending your precious time here. I hope your New Year unfolds with unexpected blessings and magical moments. Helping lift up authors and illustrators and their beautiful books is a mission of mine – as is encouraging writers – I can’t believe that #50PreciousWords is only a month and a half away – are you writing something new? Or are you trimming an older manuscript that might blossom with only 50 words or less? Stay tuned for more info – if you follow my blog, you’ll be sure to receive the heads-up-its-almost-time-for-the-contest post. I’ll be continuing the Literacy Initiative which, thanks to the generosity of contest participants and others, provided 410 brand-new children’s books to local schools in need.