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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hacket

The Backstory: MOO HOO & A HAT FOR HOUSE

I am ecstatic to welcome another Kidlit Clubhouse member to The Backstory. Audrey Perrott is here to dish on her two upcoming books, MOO HOO (Scholastic) with illustrations by Ross Burach and A HAT FOR HOUSE (Putnam) with illustrations by Druscilla Santiago. You don't want to miss either of these fantastic stories. Keep reading to learn the inspiration behind each and for your chance to win a signed copy of MOO HOO and a virtual classroom visit.


AH: Welcome to The Backstory and thank you for joining us and sharing the inspiration behind MOO HOO and A HAT FOR HOUSE.


First off, please tell us a little bit about MOO HOO.


AP: MOO HOO is the story of a bull named Milton who has very big feelings that almost always come out in tears, which has earned him the nickname Moo Hoo. He thinks there’s something wrong with him and tries to stop crying. He eventually realizes that his deep feelings are just the way he sees the world in all its wonder, beauty, sorrow, and joy. He finds a friend that “gets” him and together, they accept each other and themselves – tears, fears, feelings, and all.


AH: I LOVE Milton and his feelings! There are so many children (and adults) who will be able to relate to him. This is a perfect story for normalizing that we all of a variety of feelings and express them in different ways. Moo Hoo will be having a permanent place in my social emotional curriculum.





AH: What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea come from?


AP: MOO HOO is the first picture book manuscript I wrote with the intention of pursuing traditional publishing. The original spark of the idea came from my two kids: my son, who is an incredibly empathetic soul, and my daughter, who unknowingly coined the title as a toddler pretending to cry to make us laugh. She would giggle while saying, “Boo hoo! Boo hoo!” but like many little kiddos, her Bs sounded like Ms, resulting in “Moo hoo! Moo hoo!” I, myself, am also a crier – I get overwhelmed with emotion in moments that might otherwise not affect others, such as waterfalls, sunsets, baby animals being born, football games (when they win and when they lose), music, etc. 


AH: What a moment that must have been seeing your first manuscript as a book! And what a great way to transform that spark of inspiration.


How did you approach going from this seed of an idea to what is now MOO HOO? Was it something undeniable you had to write immediately or did you need to sit with this idea and let it grow for a while before it found its way to the page?


AP: I attended the 2017 New York SCBWI conference with the idea for MOO HOO in mind, and filled with inspiration and motivation, wrote the first draft upon returning home. It came out of my head pretty quickly as it had marinated for months. (I believe I was sitting by a lake drinking a milkshake from Shake Shack *not sponsored haha). I then subsequently queried that FIRST DRAFT way too early to agents and editors – a rookie mistake – but a right-of-passage, in my opinion, in the traditional publishing journey. 


AH: Is there anyone who hasn't queried too early? Despite the endless warnings against it, I am fairly certain we are all guilty.


Conferences and kidlit events that organizations such as SCBWI put on are a fantastic way to connect with fellow creatives. I am not surprised at all that you left that conference feeling primed and ready to get words on the page.


Did MOO HOO undergo any major changes/revisions from the original version? If so, what led you to make these changes?


AP: While the original premise remained the same throughout its revisions, there were multiple drafts with varying storylines, mostly changing in the middle. My inexperience at the time in trying to incorporate every piece of feedback eventually left me with what I call a Frankenstein manuscript. It felt nothing like me or the story I wanted anymore. So, I scrapped all of them and rewrote the story from scratch, taking the champagne passes and brilliant notes from resonating critiques, like the life-/line-changing one from Heidi Stemple, and mooooooved forward. That version won an honorable mention in the Rising Kite awards and the 2019 National Beaming Books Picture Book award, eventually helping me land my agent.


AH: You bring up such a good point about critiques. A writer can easily lose themselves and their inspiration if they take every piece of advice that is offered. I feel that as we become more experienced we also begin to feel more secure in our voice and the stories we want to tell. This can help us know what advice serves our vision.


Can you tell us a bit about A HAT FOR HOUSE?


AP: A HAT FOR HOUSE is about a house whose roof, or “hat,” gets blown off during an impending storm. The kind critters and community come together to protect him as the storm gets closer, but as the rain starts to fall, House wonders if he’ll ever feel like himself. It’s about the storms in life and the community who helps you through them, and how on the other side of it, you’re a different version of you in some of the most beautiful ways. 


AH: This sounds beautiful! I love books about self-acceptance and embracing change. Add to that a personified house and I am sold!




AH: Where did this idea come from?


AP: It all started on Instagram. A friend posted to her stories about a walk she took with her toddler in their neighborhood. As they passed a house being built without its roof, her son said, “Hey, that house doesn’t have his hat on yet.” This was the spark, but it grew into something much bigger and more personal than I ever intended or even realized at the time. I was diagnosed with cancer on my 33rd birthday, and this story is very much a metaphor for that. The way our friends, family, and complete strangers came together to take care of us during those very scary and stormy years is something I will never forget. 


AH: Thank you for sharing that inspiration, Audrey. It is a very powerful message and I love how this emotionally heavy moment in your life combined with this cute, off the cuff comment from a child were able to blend together to give us A HAT FOR HOUSE.


Are there any books/authors that you feel influence your work?


AP: I love to laugh… and cry… and all the in between. There are SO MANY books and authors I admire and look to for inspiration, but here are the books on my desk right now: 

SONG IN THE CITY by Daniel Bernstrom/Jenin Mohammed

SYDNEY’S BIG SPEECH by Malcolm Newsome/Jade Orlando

THE RABBIT LISTENED by Cori Doerrfeld

OFF-LIMITS by Helen Yoon

REAL TO ME by Minh Lê/Raissa Figueroa

MR. S by Monica Arnaldo


AH: That is a great selection!


Where do you tend to find your inspiration or your sparks for ideas?


AP: From my kids and social media reels to news articles and song lyrics – I feel like story ideas are everywhere, you just have to allow your imagination to run with it. 


AH: You are so right! Inspiration can be anywhere and everywhere. I think the trick is being open to receiving it and having the creative capacity at the time to recognize it.


Do you have any upcoming projects or news you would like to share with us?


AP: Yes, but alas, I can’t share details yet! I am super excited about my recently announced early reader graphic novel series with Charlene Chua called ONCE UPON A TAIL coming from Abrams in 2026, as well as the Kid Lit Community project I’m co-leading with the incredible Gennie Gorback called The Joys of Booking. If you like food and picture books, come join us at thejoysofbooking.com or on Instagram!


AH: These are two projects I am looking forward to. I can't wait to get my hands on the graphic novel series and I don't know if there could be a more perfect pair than you and Gennie. What a treat the kidlit community is in for!


Where can people connect more with you?


AP: I am most active on Instagram at AudreysBooksAndBakes, and I send out a Short & Sweet monthly newsletter, which you can find on my website at audreyperrott.com


AH: Readers be sure to connect with Audrey over on Instagram and sign up for her Short & Sweet newsletter to be the first to hear about her latest publishing news. While you are at it please consider supporting Audrey, MOO HOO, and A HAT FOR HOUSE in any way you can.


This could include:


- ordering Moo Hoo from your favorite indie


-ordering A Hat For House from your favorite indie


- marking Moo Hoo as want to read on Goodreads  


- marking A Hat For House as want to read on Goodreads  


-leaving a review


- making a library request


Audrey thank you so much for sharing all about MOO HOO and A HAT FOR HOUSE. I loved learning a bit more about each of them and I look forward to getting my hands on them when they release on 4/16 and 11/12!

 

GIVEAWAY!


Audrey would love to give a signed copy of MOO HOO and a virtual classroom visit to one winner. If the winner is not a teacher, librarian, or homeschool parent, they can donate the visit to a classroom of their choice!


Ways to enter:

1. Retweet my tweet about this blog post. Additional entry for tagging friends!

or

2. Leave a comment on this post.

or

3. Post about this interview on social media and tell me in the comments that you did.


Each method earns an extra entry!

 

ABOUT AUDREY PERROTT


Audrey has dreamed about a career in children’s books since she was six years old. She studied English and Children’s Literature at the University of Florida and after an award-winning career in communications, she is now a full-time author and freelance copywriter. She believes funny books are just as important as serious books and writes both in her North Carolina home. You can find more about her and her books on her website at audreyperrott.com.








 

ABOUT ANDREW HACKET


Andrew Hacket  is a writer, second-grade teacher, and father of three. He is also the author of the upcoming Ollie, the Acorn, and the Mighty Idea,  Curlilocks and the Three Hares, and Hope and the Sea. Andrew recognizes that being a kid is hard and he writes to create ways for kids to see themselves in stories and characters, to accept and overcome their insecurities, or to escape for just a little while through the power of their imaginations. 

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10 comentários


Thelia Hutchinson
Thelia Hutchinson
10 de mar.

That was awesome. Congratulations, Audrey. I'm looking forward to your wonderful books.

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Sarah Skolfield
Sarah Skolfield
10 de mar.

It's a rainy Sunday morning, my house is quiet and work is leaving me alone so far. I am going through my email and just got to The Backstory. Moo Hoo and A Hat for House both sound wonderful. Looking forward to 4/16 and 11/12!

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Ann Harrell
Ann Harrell
09 de mar.

Congratulations, Audrey! What fun backstories! Can’t wait to read your delightful books!

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Laura Roettiger
Laura Roettiger
09 de mar.

Moo Hoo is such a fun name and I love anything related to cows! You mentioned being diagnosed with cancer, I hope your health is okay now and all is going well for you with more than just your publishing career which sounds like it's doing great. Congratulations!

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Stephanie Maksymiw
Stephanie Maksymiw
08 de mar.

I love the inspiration behind these stories. Moo Hoo is such a great title! Congrats on these books.

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