Shannon Hitchcock has published four middle-grade novels, but today she’s celebrating her picture book debut with a cover reveal of SAVING GRANDDADDY’S STORIES. Actually, it’s a DOUBLE cover reveal because she’s sharing both the jacket cover and the inside cover…

You’re pretty lucky to have TWO covers, Shannon!

That’s my favorite thing about the illustrations! The more kid-friendly image of Ray as a little boy is on the jacket, but when you remove the jacket, there is an image of Ray with his wife, Rosa, on their front porch.

That makes sense since your story features Ray in both stages of life. Can you tell us a little about the book and why the subject is special to you?

SAVING GRANDDADDY’S STORIES is a picture book biography about oral storyteller Ray Hicks. It starts when he’s a little boy listening to his grandfather tell stories and follows his journey to becoming a champion storyteller who was known as the “Voice of Appalachia.”

I grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near where Ray lived, and like Ray’s family, mine loved to tell stories, too.

How did you find your publisher?

I read a Publishers Weekly article about a new publisher called Reycraft, and since one of the editors quoted was from West Virginia, I thought my story set in Appalachia might appeal to him.

I love the 3D quality of the title lettering and the sculpture of young Ray. Who’s the illustrator?

Sophie Page is a mixed-media illustrator originally from Conway, Massachusetts, and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She crafts images in two and three dimensions. Her illustrations for SAVING GRANDDADDY’S STORIES are made from clay, paper, fabric, wire…and a handful of Jack’s magic beans.

It looks like your book has a lot of STEM…haha! But seriously, what about this story makes it a good choice for school libraries and classrooms?

Teachers and librarians can use SAVING GRANDDADDY’S STORIES as a tool for teaching figurative language, for analyzing how Jack and the Beanstalk has been retold by different cultures, and for exploring the Appalachian Region and its traditions.

Shannon, congrats on your debut picture book. Do you have any advice for aspiring PB authors?

Write what you’re passionate about and never give up!

Shannon Hitchcock was born in North Carolina and grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of four middle grade novels, Flying Over Water, One True Way, Ruby Lee & Me, and The Ballad of Jessie Pearl. Her books have been featured on many state award lists and have received acclaimed reviews. Saving Granddaddy’s Stories is Shannon’s debut picture book, releasing October 22, 2020. She recently moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where she can see the mountains every day. For more about Shannon and her books, visit her at