Cover Reveal: BABO: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day Plus Giveaway

I’m so happy about the new books that I am posting about recently. Whether it’s a Book Birthday or Perfect Picture Book Friday or a Cover Reveal, I’m seeing a lot of beautiful diversity. And today’s post is such a lovely example of that. Get ready! Get set!

TA-DA!!! Here is the Cover Reveal for Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day – written by Astrid Kamalyan and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan.

I love covers that invite me in like this one does! And I love covers that are fun and full of action…this one checks all the boxes on those two counts. I can’t wait to turn the pages of this book to see how Anait brings Astrid’s words to life!

And guess what? We are so fortunate! Author Astrid Kamalyan stopped by the blog to chat with us and share her inspiration and her hopes for her debut picture book. She also told me that she’s offering a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY! A giveaway for writers: winners choice of a picture book critique or a 30-minute Ask-Me-Anything Zoom chat. Plus, a giveaway for teachers: The first 3 teachers to pre-order for their class (12 or more) will get a free author visit. How generous…and what a wonderful idea! In-person author visits costs many hundreds of dollars – some authors charge thousands for a full day of presentations. And even a virtual visit can be difficult for teachers to fund. This way, the money goes to buy books that the children will own…AND they get an author visit that could have a life-changing impact on students.

BÁBO is the story of my heart and a dream come true on so many levels.

My writing comes from a place of happiness, warmth, and an unwavering, unbreakable joy that a childhood spent in Armenia has planted in my heart. My lovely babo (grandmother) and the memories of washing rugs with her and my siblings were the inspiration for this book.

The sunny Armenian memory-vignettes poured on a page as I was cozied up on the couch on a particularly cold autumn day in Chicago. Writing from the heart sounds like writing without a challenge, but that is not the case: how do you take that light and transfer it to the page? How do I share a childhood memory in a way that has a story that others will relate to? And as I was working on the backmatter, I was hit with the realization that I carry a big responsibility representing my culture to the world: this is the first time in the past 30 years that a picture book on Armenia is traditionally published in the US. How do I gather the courage to represent a culture that is so ancient, so rich and so deeply cherished? It was a lot to think about. Several critique rounds, a lot of work with an Armenian carpet-weaving expert, and a lot of love were weaved together to create a book that eventually resonated with an agent who signed with me, and a dream editor who is publishing my debut. After that, the most magical of the layers was added–Anait Semirdzhyan’s gorgeous illustrations, and the result is a little message of love towards our heritage that will hopefully resonate in the hearts of the readers.

Thank you so much, Astrid! I’m so grateful you shared this with us. I think that some people feel the stories of one’s culture must be so easy to write…but in fact, they are all the more difficult.

Sadly, we’ll all have to wait – we cannot find this book in bookstores yet because it launches September 19th…but we CAN pre-order it – and I definitely think we all need to! The book is already a Junior Library Guild GOLD selection!
Here are some links to do that:

Preorder from Volumes bookstore to get a signed copy
Preorder from Penguin Random House:

And if you’d like to find out a little more about this wonderful new author:
Astrid Kamalyan comes from a big, happy Armenian family where she is the oldest of five siblings. Childhood summers spent in Artsakh are what inspired her to paint with words. Astrid is a member of SCBWI and 12×12. She loves globetrotting with her husband and two sons. Astrid currently shares her time between Chicago and Yerevan, Armenia.

And here is a little bit about the illustrator:
Anait Semirdzhyan is an illustrator with a passion for children’s books. She grew up in a multicultural family and has lived in several countries with diverse cultures. Now she lives in the Seattle area with her husband and twin daughters. Anait enjoys afternoon walks with her four-legged shaggy friend.

Dear friends…isn’t it fun to get a peek at new books that will be launching this year? And it’s really special when the author stops by to share their path to publication AND offers a super cool giveaway. Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win the critique or the 30-minute Zoom chat with Astrid – maybe you can tell us what your favorite story is from your culture. Or perhaps you can share what folk tales you loved the best when you were a child. I loved Baba Yaga. If I close my eyes I can see the cover of the well-worn book that I read over and over again.
And teachers, if you’d like a FREE virtual author visit with Astrid, please pre-order at least 12 copies of the book for your class – the first 3 teachers who do this will win that author visit. Author visits can have a life-long positive impact on the children in your class.

Please stop by this weekend for Will Write for Cookies with Ellen Leventhal, author of DEBBIE’S SONG.

38 thoughts on “Cover Reveal: BABO: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day Plus Giveaway

  1. I can’t wait to see this sweet book! It’s obvious that Astrid has filled its pages with the joyful warmth of family and the beauty of their everyday life together. On the cover, Anait has captured their delightful closeness through life’s rhythms, with Babo (love her already!) and the child’s precious faces! Becky Loescher

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I recently met my daughter’s friend’s mom and learned that are Armenian! She had just gotten her American citizenship as well over the summer. I loved learning about her home country as we chatted. I’m so glad this book will be available for all children this fall.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am happy to be able to share some Armenian joy both with Armenian readers and with everyone else! I hope your friend’s mom enjoys the book when it’s out!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Jessica! It’s such an honour to be able to introduce my culture to the readers, and such a special feeling to see people interested in learning more about it! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “Happiness, warmth, and an unwavering, unbreakable joy…” describes perfectly the grandmother of one of my Armenian-American friends when I was growing up. By example she showed me how to live with grace and love and not let sorrow ever defeat you. So happy to see an echo of her in what you’ve written, Astrid. All the best and looking forward to seeing your BABO-debut in September!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Awww, Toni! This also describes my own babo….How connected we all are…. I always strive to live like her, she was born with this wisdom, it was just a part of her. I try to learn it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I LOVE that cover! The look of warm humor and acceptance from the woman to the girl chasing the chicken is so lovely to see. It makes me smile immediately. This sounds like a wonderful book, and September will be here before you know it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Jilanne! ❤
      "Warm humor and acceptance" is how my precious babo used to look at me (and the world), and by some magical connection Anait illustrated that so perfectly!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. ASTRID: The cover of your book has PULLED my heartstrings! This is DEFINITELY a book I MUST read! The cover illustration alone evokes SUCH a SWEETNESS. It calls out that there is an IMPORTANT story inside the covers of this book–a story about a culture I’d LOVE to learn more about. You and Anait have created a work of JOY! THANK YOU for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Natalie, thank you SO much for these kind words! Spreading joy though telling about our culture is what we are hoping to achieve with this book! I hope you enjoy it once it’s out ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the cover of this book. It just oozes with enthusiasm for the reader to dive into Babo’s story. It’s important to share other cultures with children and your book is a great addition to that list. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.