Updated: Sep 28
BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
SAM WU is NOT afraid of SPACE (available here) is the brilliantly funny final book in the series, starring the bravest scaredy-cat in the world!
Sam Wu is not afraid of many things. Definitely not ghosts, sharks, the dark, spiders or EVEN zombies! But space, well . . . When Sam gets the chance to go to Space Camp with his friends this summer, he has never been more excited. He is desperate for everyone to love it as much as he does - and together win the Space Camp Challenge trophy! But not everybody at Space Camp is ready to be a team player and for Sam it's starting to look like winning the trophy might be as difficult as landing on the moon!
This is a wonderfully funny and reassuring read for every child staying away from home for the very first time and is perfect for reluctant readers and fans of STEM.
with Katie & Kevin Tsang, authors of the Sam WU series
Your latest book is the final part of the series. How does it feel to see the Sam Wu series come to an end?
So bittersweet! We always hoped for and envisioned six books in the series, so it is really satisfying to be able to write all the books we imagined when we first came up with the series and the characters. While the books are designed to be read individually and in any order, there is an overarching character arc for Sam from the first book, GHOSTS, all the way to the last one, SPACE, so we’re really happy we got to finally take Sam to Space Camp, which is what we hoped for from the start of the series.
- What has been your favourite part about working on the Sam Wu books?
Getting to know Sam so well as we wrote his adventures, and getting to meet real life readers too! It is the best feeling in the world when a young reader tells you that they love your book. And we also really love writing together too.
- How do you work together to collaborate on your books?
It took us a while to hammer out the best way to work collaboratively, but now we’ve got it down! First we talk through everything to make sure we are on the same page (pun intended!) for the book and the concept, and then we do a thorough outline. When we’re ready to start writing, we connect our laptop to a bigger screen so we can both see, and one of us types and the other one oversees and gives feedback, and we switch back and forth. When we get our edit notes back from an editor, we read them separately and then discuss them, and then go through the edits together to make sure we’re making the book the best book it can be.
- Ghosts, sharks, the dark, spiders zombies - you’ve picked some pretty cool themes for the Sam Wu books. Did you choose these because they are personal fears - and if not, how did you come up with each book theme?
We thought ghosts would be a really fun one to start off the series with, so that is where that one came from. Kevin is genuinely terrified of sharks, so we had to include that. The dark felt like an interesting one to explore because it isn’t the dark itself that people are afraid of, but what might be in it. And we knew if we chose the dark we could use it as an opportunity to send Sam and his friends on a camping adventure in the woods. Zombies actually was inspired by all the school visits we did, lots of kids said they wanted a book about zombies. Plus, in the first book, we have a running joke about Sam’s friend Regina believing she has a zombie werewolf in her basement, so we wanted to explore that more. Spiders made sense because so many people are scared of spiders in real life, and for Space, well we knew we wanted Sam to finally get to go to Space camp!
- Are any of the characters in the series based on people you know in real life?
Sam is loosely inspired by how Kevin was as a child, he was afraid to go down into his basement, and as we mentioned earlier, was terrified of sharks. And a few experiences that Sam has are based on experiences Kevin had. We also have stolen real life names of people we know for the books too. Our agent, editor, siblings, and a few friends all have their names snuck into the books.
- We know a lot about what Sam Wu is not afraid of…but what are Katie and Kevin not afraid of?
Kevin is terrified of sharks. Katie is scared of falling off of things! Not heights, she’s fine with airplanes and roller coasters, but step ladders and cliff edges make her extremely anxious.
- Finally, we’d love to know - what are you own favourite children’s books right now?
There are so may wonderful children’s books out right now! We recently read and loved My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak as well as The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery (publishing in November). We also are big fans of Pamela Butchart, Catherine Doyle, Robin Stevens, and Jason Reynolds. Katie’s all-time favourite children’s book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and Kevin loves Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.
We have a toddler so we read a lot of picture books and boardbooks too. We especially love The Storm Whale by Benji Davies, Never Show a T-Rex a Book by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Diane Ewen, and Banana by Ed Vere.
Many thanks to Katie & Kevin for answering our questions!
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