My husband Eric is one of 12 grandchildren on his mother’s side alone. TWELVE. Now, you have to understand – I come from a very small immediate and extended family. One brother, four cousins (and I rarely saw them, except my brother of course). So, when I married my husband, I inherited 9 cousins and a couple of extra brothers plus their families plus the aunts & uncles. I was on cloud 9! Although it did take me a while (and a spreadsheet) to remember who went with whom. One of Eric’s cousins is none other than the focus of our author interview today – Brian White! (cue the applause sign) I invited Brian to stop by the blog today and chat with us about what’s new with I Love Lunch Notes (full color pages of lunch notes for you to snip and share with your own kids) and his latest book Counting With Robots.
Brian M. White loves God and his family, and he likes robots. He’s an award-winning UI brand identity designer and illustrator who enhances big brand presence and breathes new life into businesses. He has worked in art, design, and communications arts for over 25 years and is the founder and Creative Director of Brian White Design. Brian lives with his wife Jenni (also an artist) and their three kids in Lawrence, Kansas where their studios reside.
I LOVE LUNCH NOTES by Brian M. White
GENRE: Notecards / Children / Encouragement
RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2013
When designer and illustrator Brian White sends his kids to school, he packs a little something extra in their lunch. They sit down to eat and find a creative bit of quirky fun—lunch notes.
Now you can share the whimsy with your kids. Brian has collected five years worth of lunch notes, ready for you to snip and share.
COUNTING WITH ROBOTS by Brian White
GENRE: Children’s Picture Book / Mathematics
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2015
Counting with Robots is a fun way to get your toddler to count to ten using robots.
You can count the different pieces and parts of the robots as you read! Bright and cheery with fun hand-drawn illustrations.
Fun for both boys and girls.
Hi Brian! Welcome to the blog!
Brian: Apples. Because of my mom’s apple pie. Crumb crust, perfectly cooked. Fuji’s are my favorite for eating straight. Almost all ways the apple is served up works for me: dried, sliced, baked, fried, microwaved, dipped in caramel, honey, etc. It’s the perfect food.
Carrie: Mmmm… I have never tried your mom’s apple pie. This must be corrected at the next possible opportunity!
Brian: M&M’s. Chocolate is better darker and purer than M&M’s. Skittles and all sorts of candy like that are just nasty. I would wear a shirt that campaigned against shock tarts or anything sour like that. Actually that gives me an idea…
Carrie: Uh oh… why does that phrase “Actually that gives me an idea…” sound so familiar? Oh, I know! Because your cousin Eric says it all the time! LOL.
Brian: Coke. It’s less sweet (seriously), and is perfection. Pepsi tastes like you are trying too hard. Diet Pepsi is less chemically laden than Diet Coke, but they both make me feel sick. I like water with a flavor squirt of strawberry and watermelon (stevia). I do like that the closer you get to Atlanta or the South, the better the coke tastes. In Atlanta it’s seriously amazing. (Extra flavor maybe?)
Carrie: Agreed! Coke rules, Pepsi doesn’t. Or something like that. And you are right about Atlanta having the best flavored Cokes. Maybe since that’s where it all started? It gets worse the farther away from Atlanta it gets? lol I don’t know but I just spent almost two weeks in Atlanta and very much enjoyed the sodas there. Even though they were the *gasp* diet ones.
Brian: A Dat would be great. (hybrid) A cat smells better than a dog, is small and easy to pick up, cleans up after themselves, poops in a box that’s easy to clean. A dog is loyal and loves you most of the time and has a better personality. I think if you could put the nose of a dog on a cat and it could give you the love of a dog, that would be great. My dog died last year and I’m not ready for a new one, but my cat is doing fine for the time being. I think she respects me. 🙂
Carrie: Or you could just train a dog to go in a box like a cat. That would be easier than the whole nose/love transplant thing. Now… Zuzu does not really care for your answer because all cats must be banished, in her opinion. BUT she is willing to give you a pass because you are still missing your dog. And because she’s sorry that she always tries to kill you when we visit Kansas.
Q: What or who inspired you to publish your first book, I Love Lunch Notes?
Brian: My kids are great. I made a few crazy lunch notes on napkins for Ellie when she was in Kindergarten or 1st grade. She really liked them and so did her friends at her lunch table. This pushed me to make more and more and after 4-5 years I had a huge stack of notes! I launched a kickstarter campaign to get the first printing going.
Our kids are 5 years apart so I am halfway through elementary school with our second daughter and our son has a few years before he starts kindergarten. I have a long line of cards ahead of me still! I enjoy doing the cards, and also had fun doing custom cards for people off the web site. I love getting pictures of kids holding my books and fun notes from the parents about reading to them.
Carrie: You are such a great dad!! I know that getting these notes in their lunches makes your kids feel so special and loved – and it’s something they’re going to remember their whole lives.
Q: We can now buy I Love Lunch Notes series books! Yay! Tell us a little more about those.
Brian: Some people didn’t want to jump full into the 130 page $20 book so I broke out the master file into three separate books. I had the original book broken out into multiple sections, so this worked out well to take 2-3 categories and put them in a series book. The three series books make up the main “I Love Lunch Notes” book. These sell from $5 – $7 and gets people’s feet wet. The puzzle and games one seems to do really well for some reason. The “boyish” / “girlish” one didn’t sell well and I changed the name. It’s really all affirmation, which works great for all kids! That one has some of the best notes so I was surprised it didn’t sell as well.
Carrie: Those look so great! What a fun way to get started on lunch notes!
Q: You also have another book called Counting With Robots, a really fun counting book for toddlers that uses different pieces and parts of robots to teach counting and numbers. How was this writing/illustrating process different from I Love Lunch Notes?
Brian: I had the book idea in my sketchbook and have made so many robots in the past that I thought it would be fun to make a full fledged children’s book that Silas (my 3 year old) would love to read. It took me about 3 months to finish the book. I would work on it at night and on the weekends and whenever I was waiting for a client to get back to me. I became better at the spreads as I went on, and feel like this next book will be done a lot faster. I really liked the idea that younger kids look at the pictures and colors and what the robots are doing. The older they get they realize they can count the different pieces of the robots, so the book grows with the kids a bit.
Carrie: I can’t wait for my nephew to get just a tad older (you know, more than two weeks… lol) so I can read this with him.
Q: What’s next for you in the book world? (Zuzu wants me to ask if we can expect a Counting With Zuzus book in the future?)
Brian: No dog books yet, but I did draw zuzu though and it was fun. 🙂 Right now I am doing a book called “40 days of Psalms” which is 40 spreads of a psalm with one verse and my visual interpretation of it in watercolor. (For Adults) It should be published on amazon by the end of July. I am also starting “Colors with Robots” this summer. I have been collecting enough cards for “I Love Lunch Notes 2” which I should have available about 2 weeks before school starts. It will be a fun and busy summer!
Carrie: Yay!!! If these are the same watercolors of Psalms that you created during Lent, I am very much looking forward to that book!
What about you? What makes you want to get I Love Lunch Notes and/or Counting With Robots for a little one in your life?