Sari Karplus

Author of the Robotastic! series and Squirrels in Antarctica

Please give a warm welcome to my new book Squirrels in Antarctica

Coming out on World Imagination Day 2024 (March 14th for you numbers folks), is a very special new award-winning picture book that is so much fun. You’re going to love Squirrels in Antarctica!

Squirrels in Antarctica Book Cover

It’s written by yours truly, Sari Karplus, and illustrated by the multi-talented Todd Wilkerson. We worked super hard on this book, and I’m so proud of how it turned out.

It’s a fun romp of all sorts of animals in their not-so-natural habitats. And here are some of the lovely words critics are saying about it…

Top shelf humor at its very best!

Readers’ Favorite Five star review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book isn’t just a reading experience; it’s a journey into a world where the unexpected is the norm, making it a brilliant choice for inspiring young minds to learn, laugh, and dream.

Literary Titan Five star review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

So incredibly honored by these accolades the book has received so far!

Thank you to everyone who has ordered Squirrels in Antarctica already.

If you haven’t yet, you can order an author signed copy or purchase it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Mark your calendars for an
in-person event!

I am super excited to announce that I will be doing a reading and book signing of Squirrels in Antarctica at the Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble on Saturday, June 1st at 2pm.

Worth noting it’s right next door to Sprinkles Cupcakes. Just sayin’.

Robotastic! Sleep Mode Makes its Debut 3/28/23

Photo Credit: Lindsey DiLoreto

Look who’s joining the book world this month in hardback and paperback: It’s Robotastic! Sleep Mode — Book #3 in the Robotastic! series. This picture book for 4 to 8 year olds stars a little girl named Hazel and her robot, Ada Marie. Hazel has an aversion to sleep. When bedtime would come, “Hazel would stall like a snail on the wall,” and Hazel’s frazzled mom is all of us exhausted parents. But instead of keeping up her nighttime shenanigans, Hazel reaches out to her friends to help problem-solve her sleepy challenges.

Available at all major online retailers on March 28, 2023. Read more about the book and what readers are saying on the Robotasic! website.

The story behind the story of Robotastic!

The story of writing Robotastic! is a special one. In fact, as a long-time screenwriter and storyteller, I can assure you that the best stories have a great story behind that story. And I’m here to share with you how Robotastic! came to be.

Author Sari Karplus holding her first book: Robotastic!

It was fall of 2018. My family had just moved to the suburbs of Los Angeles earlier that year. My kids were all born in Santa Monica, and I imagined we would stay in Culver City forever. But with baby number three, my husband insisted we ditch our townhouse and see what having a little more space would do for us. And so we hit the road to Thousand Oaks, CA.

After living in one place for 5 years, I had to prep my 5 and 3 year old for a new home, new preschool, and new routine. Our newborn seemed ready for a move though. Part of our routine, which we carried over from the old house into our new life, was my improvised bedtime stories. Most of my stories were about a superhero family much like ours. But many stories were just whatever the heck my tired parent brain could come up with. And what I found is that I would try and drop a lot of lessons about making friends in my stories. They had never really had to do much of this before when you’re in the same class with most of the same kids for years. One fateful night, I told the story of a boy who wished for a best friend. This would be the basis for Robotastic!

After I had told this story, I shared it with some other family members. They were all incredibly moved by it. My mom loved it so much she remarked, “That’s a bestselling idea!” I wasn’t confident, but I was honored and delighted to get this positive feedback. I wrote up the story I had told and walked away.

For months I thought, “Could this be a short film? How would I build and design the robot character? Who would play the boy? Where would we shoot this?” I have always loved making short films, but I had never written a children’s book before. As I bounced the concept off of friends, they were supportive and gave some version of, “You should definitely do something with this!” But I sort of waffled on the idea of doing it as a film. My bandwidth as a working parent was low, so I had to be choosy about what big creative projects I take on.

I let the project go. I forgot about it for a year and a half.

March 2020, a big moment for all of us, I remember hearing my kids would be off of school for two weeks due to the coronavirus. I thought I would never survive two weeks. My husband laughed at me and said, “Get comfortable.”

“How dare he suggest this last longer than two weeks?!” I thought. But as we can all attest to, this would be a life-changing experience for all humans that lasted waaaay longer than two weeks.

Not much further into March, my dear friend, Aadip, asked if I wanted to join an Artist’s Way Group with him online. I didn’t really know what that was to be honest. It sounded intriguing, but I didn’t know how he was going to pull this off let alone me with three kids at home 24/7 that were 7, 5, and 2. That, plus no babysitters, and 8 client projects I was on the hook to code their websites. I couldn’t say yes to this group. I couldn’t. But after Aadip sent me a workbook to join him, I kinda just shrugged and thought, “Meh. What’s one more thing?! Pile it on, universe.”

Me with my new workbook gift

So I ended up doing The Artist’s Way for 12 weeks with a group on Zoom who became my pandemic friends and confidants. We still text chat regularly to check in on each other and share the best Ted Lasso memes. Half of the process of The Artist’s Way felt arduous– I felt like Daniel-san waxing Mr. Miyagi’s car. Occasionally, I would do artist dates while my husband finished putting the kids to sleep. I would barely get morning pages out. I would have upwards of 14 interruptions while trying to do them most days.

But I think I took more from the whole Artist’s Way process than I realized. When the 12 weeks ended, pretty soon after, I finished all my work projects. Come June 2020, I decided to try and revisit my robot story and attempt to write it as a book.

What hit me was that I always loved rhyming, so I thought, what if I rewrote my story in rhyme? And with that, suddenly I had a project that was off to the races! Things took a turn just moments after I re-started on this journey. Just a couple weeks into this inspiration, on a walk with my kids, I was attacked and bitten by a dog. I ended up in the emergency room to treat the bite. I was in bed for a few days. And while I was recovering, my grandfather passed away. He had a good long life. The man escaped the holocaust as a teenager! What a life story. But this time became very surreal for me.

I was lucky, though, because all of this paired with the fact that my aunt and uncle started giving me the gift of time. I would be allowed to have Saturdays off from the kids and husband and get a rare day of quiet with my own brain. It was the perfect weird storm that allowed me to really go for it with trying to write my first children’s book.

I barely even told my friends and family I was working on the book. Because truth be told, I had no idea what I was doing. I still didn’t know if I was going to be able to see this crazy idea through. I was making it up and learning as I go. I adopted a very strong beginner’s mindset. No obstacle was going to stop me, and there were so many!!!

In November of 2020, I was at the dinner table with my husband and I told him, “I really want to get this book out before Christmas.” His response I could tell wasn’t meant to be negative but he countered, “Seems ambitious.” But I shrugged it off and kept my own pace. And sure enough my first book was sent to distribution just after Thanksgiving for a December 11th, 2020 release date. Glory be!

I started sharing the news, and it was so fun having people get excited with me. All the folks with and without kids in their lives buying copies warmed my little heart. This book was a major ray of light in an otherwise tough year.

I didn’t know where to set my expectations with sales since I was not only new to this, but I understood that self-publishing relies massively on your ability to market. I cautiously set my goal to sell 150 copies in 1 year not even sure if that was possible. And somehow, by some grace of the universe, I sold more than 300 copies in just the first 3 weeks!

The moral of the story is, if the universe is telling you to focus on something, you listen and you do it. It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what you’re doing– One foot in front of the other is all you got. Bit by bit and byte by byte, something special will come about.

If you truly want to tell your story, don’t let the challenges hold you back!

Go for it.

To get your copy of Robotastic! you can snag a signed copy from the Robotastic store or on Amazon, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

Hello beautiful world!

Step one taken to having an author blog! Check. More posts about my author journey coming soon.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and here’s hoping for some delightful things ahead in 2022 for us all.

Photo by Jane Almon on Unsplash

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