My Favorite Bit: Mary Robinette Kowal Talks About MOLLY ON THE MOON

Today the author joining us is me! My first picture book, Molly on the Moon, is out today. Here’s the publisher’s description:

A big sister finds that even in a place as lonely as the moon, all you need is a little creativity—and someone to play with—in Molly on the Moon, the debut picture book from award winning sci fi author Mary Robinette Kowal, and illustrator Diana Mayo.

When Molly and her family move to the moon, they can only pack the essentials—just one toy each for Molly and her baby brother, Luke.

Luckily, Molly has a big imagination. A packing crate becomes a fort, a tarp becomes a witch’s cape, and some cans become a tea set. Baby Luke, on the other hand . . . has blocks.

Molly doesn’t want to share. At first. But then she realizes that when you’re on the moon—or anywhere else—a big imagination and being with someone you love can be infinitely better than all the toys in the universe.

What’s my favorite bit?


Molly on the Moon is my first picture book and the funny thing is that I should really know this audience. I spent years touring to elementary schools with puppet theater. But trying to come up with a plot stumped me for ages. So, I mined my own childhood.

One of my earliest memories is when my brother was pre-verbal. He’s two years younger than me, so I’m maybe three or four in this memory. I had a stuffed lamb, Lassie, that I carried with me everywhere. (Yes, really.) She was made out of a flowered washcloth and very soft.

One day, Steve took her. I took her back. HE BIT ME so I pushed him. He fell down and started crying. Mom came in and got mad at ME for pushing the baby.

The injustice! It hurt! I had teeth marks. ON MY ARM. And I was the one who got into trouble. A half-century later I’m STILL mad about it.

This sense of injustice is, I think, a very familiar one to little kids. So I took that memory and set it on the Moon. What makes me geekily happy is the way introducing low gravity changes the story. Instead of pushing him down, Molly accidentally flings him over her head. The line “Molly, what did we say about tossing the baby” takes this angry memory and turns it into something that makes me giggle.

I still have Lassie. She looks pretty disreputable to the casual eye. She’s covered in patches that were sewn by child hands with uneven stitches. I was fascinated with red velvet, so used that for some of the patches because it was fancy and which… I have to admit that now looks more like gaping wounds. But as we know from the Velveteen Rabbit, she’s not ugly, she’s Real.

I also have the lamb that I made for my brother using my Lassie as a pattern. When I let Steve read the book, he recognized the toy I made for him, even if he doesn’t remember biting me.


Molly on the Moon Universal Book Link




Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, and the Lady Astronaut Universe. She is part of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, four Hugo awards, the Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’sUncanny, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary Robinette, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit

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1 thought on “My Favorite Bit: Mary Robinette Kowal Talks About MOLLY ON THE MOON”

  1. Colonel Snuggledorf

    I am so, so, SO excited for this book! My first (and likely only) grandchild just turned six months old last week, and this is the book I most want to give her in the world. And my great niece turned two years old in February, and she needs a copy, too. This is the book that I did not have – and that I really needed – six decades ago, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that it is in the world now.

    Thank you, Mary Robinette, for bringing our daughters and granddaughters into the Lady Astronaut world, too!

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