I'm thrilled to unveil the illustrated edition of The Contenders! This fun, feisty, and suspenseful middle-grade novel was written by me, Peg Cheng (I'm on the left), and illustrated by the talented Erin Kubo (that's her on the right). It's kid tested and plaid frog approved. So glad you're here!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Have you ever wondered, can enemies become friends?
Me too. That’s the question I tackle in The Contenders, a novel featuring two fifth graders who couldn’t be more different or hate each other more.
Here's more about the story...
Eunice Yang wants just two things in life: to win The Contest and to beat Thad Warfield.
Only fifth graders can compete in Soap Lake’s annual Brawn and Brains Contest. Winning first place means Eunice will finally get the bike she’s always dreamt about: the Rainier Cruiser. But what she wants even more than her dream bike is to beat Thad Warfield, supreme dumbhead and her archenemy since first grade.
But this year, The Contest’s hundredth anniversary, the rules change. Now, students have to compete in teams of two. Eunice’s worst nightmare comes true. She’s partnered with—Thad.
Together, Eunice and Thad careen through a year filled with cutthroat competitions, vicious squabbles, tetherball death matches, and visits to the principal's office.
It’s a close race to the very end, when Eunice discovers that being a contender takes more than just brawn and brains—it takes heart—and there are some things more important than winning.
WHY I WROTE THE CONTENDERS
I wrote The Contenders because I didn’t have the chance as a kid to read books that featured an Asian-American girl as the main character (or really, as any character). I thought that all characters were white because every single book read to me in class, or assigned as homework, featured white characters (with the occasional person of color usually portrayed as a stereotype). Growing up, I read a lot of books by Beverly Cleary, and especially loved her Ramona books. I didn’t realize until I was deep into writing Eunice’s story in The Contenders that I was essentially writing the Asian-American Ramona.
WHY I WANTED THE CONTENDERS TO BE ILLUSTRATED
When I published The Contenders in 2015, I was so excited to get it out in the world that I didn't even think about hiring an artist to illustrate it. But since then, I've thought more about it and realized that I want the book to look like the middle-grade novels that I read while growing up. Classics such as Charlotte's Web, Harriet the Spy, Little House on the Prairie, and Ramona the Pest wouldn't have been the same without their illustrations. I loved the art in these books almost as much as the stories themselves!
When I found illustrator Erin Kubo through a chance encounter on Twitter, and then saw her portfolio, I knew I had found the perfect artist to bring The Contenders to life. Not only does Erin love to draw tough girls (yaas!), she's also mixed-race Asian American, understands Eunice's struggles and point of view, and lives only 15 minutes away from me. It was a match made in writer-artist heaven.
The Contenders, second edition, will feature a full-color cover and 18 black-and-white interior illustrations by Erin Kubo. The book is 148 pages and will measure approximately 5.25 x 8 inches. It's great for kids aged 8-108.
I've put together a series of EXCLUSIVE goodies as rewards for my backers!
Several rewards include a limited-edition vinyl sticker of the cover and of one of my favorite illustrations from the book of two mouth-watering lime rickeys.
I'm also offering seven premium pledge rewards that include original illustrations! These are the exact illustrations hand-drawn and inked by Erin Kubo that were then scanned and used in the book. Each illustration is an one-of-a-kind piece of art.
* all images are mockups and are subject to change*
I've planned this timeline taking into account manufacturing delays and other potential factors that may cause delays. It's possible that the books will get to you sooner than the provided estimates.
- Early October 2019: Kickstarter campaign begins.
- Mid-to-late October 2019: Kickstarter campaign ends.
- Late October 2019: Book is made print ready.
- Early November 2019: Book is sent to printers.
- November 2019: Books are in my hands.
- December 2019: Books are in your hands!
I hope this gives you some insight into my very first illustrated novel project! I'm thankful for each and every one of you. Every pledge helps and no pledge is too small. I hope you love this book as much as Froggy, Erin, and I do. Thanks so much for your support!
Risks and challenges
Your pledges will go towards paying for the illustrations, design, and printing of the books and stickers. Currently, the book is in its final formatting stage and once the campaign ends, we will finish the final touches and send it off to the printer. I've done my best during the planning of this project to minimize any potential risks; however, there are some factors that are out of my control including delays in printing and delays on the part of the postal service. I've prepared myself for these delays by allowing plenty of time in providing shipping estimates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!