January 11, 2023

Birth Stories for Books: SUPER PIZZA & KID KALE, by Phaea Crede

Welcome to a new year, dear readers, and welcome to a new series of Birth Stories for Books interviews and guest posts. Today's guest, author Phaea Crede, last visited the blog to share her path to publication experience for her debut, Jet the CAT (Is Not a Cat)

In today's post, Phaea serves up another inspiring behind-the-scenes look, this time for her latest book, SUPER PIZZA & KID KALE (illustrated by Zach Smith, Viking Books, September 2022),  a silly and heartwarming story that piles on the puns. 

Take it away, Phaea!  

by Phaea Crede and Zach Smith


The origin of wood-fired warrior Super Pizza and their side kick, the lean, green roughage machine Kid Kale is as twisty and turn-y as a waterslide coated in olive oil. Here is a thyme line of how all the revisions, heartbreaks, and ultimate publication of Super Pizza & Kid Kale (Viking Books, 2022) went down.

June 2018

While playing a brainstorming game we learned at a recent library visit with author Josh Funk, my then 3.5-year-old daughter invents a character: a piece of pizza that wants to be a super hero. WOW! I immediately wonder what it would be like to be a hero that everyone wants to eat. 

With my kid’s permission, I start to work on a story about Super Pizza. 

July 2018 

So far, the story is just food pun nicknames for Super Pizza. Some examples are:

The Savory of Bravery
The Anchovy Ace 
The Loaded Legend
The Star Scrapper of the Sauce
The Muscled Mozzarella 
The Crusty Contender 
The Crust You Trust
The Lion Pie of Liberty
The Slice of Justice
The Garlic Guardian

(None of these made it into the final draft FYI.)

September 2018

Finally, I have a draft. Well, a 12th draft. After vetting the story with my critique group, I feel ready to try and DO something with the story.

October 2018

NESCWBI Agent/Editor Day, a lovely event that allows aspiring authors to get feedback from colleagues, agents, and editors. I bring two stories to read. At my second table with an editor, I share Super Pizza & Kid Kale. It goes okay! I send a follow up email to said editor.

November 2018

Said editor writes back! He says he likes the story and thinks it has potential, but feels it’s missing something. He recommends I add a side kick or a villain. If I do that, he says he’d like to read it again.

I revise immediately. Just kidding! I felt like the story conflict was PERFECT. A piece of pizza who wants to be a hero but can’t because kids keep eating it! Where would a side kick fit in? Nowhere. I move on to other projects, content to have written a brilliant story that no one understands.

May 2019 

The New England SCBWI Spring Conference. I love this conference. I always learn new skills and make new friends. I’m checking in when I see a familiar face – the said editor! I greet him and HE ASKS ME IF I’VE REVISED SUPER PIZZA YET!  I'm taken aback that he not only remembered my book, he was still hoping to read a revision. I try to not throw up all over myself and I tell him I will get the revision to him soon.

June 2019

I revise. I decide to combine the idea of a side kick and a villain into one character. A food that is the complete opposite of pizza: kale! In the new story the conflict comes from Kid Kale’s jealousy of Super Pizza’s popularity. KK turns against the townsfolk and causes weed-like kale plants to destroy everything!

Late June, 2019

I resubmit the revision to said editor. I feel great. This is really going to happen!

July 2019

The revision is rejected. Beep boop. I cry some marinara tears, then stuff the manuscript into a virtual pizza box and shelf it.

May 2020

I’ve just sold my first book, Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) have an amazing agent, Moe Ferrara and I’m out on sub with a new book, Asparaghosts, a story about a kid who is haunted by the ghosts of the veggies she rejects only to team up with them and rebel against the narrator. I feel great!

June 15 2020

Asapraghosts collects mass rejections. But, one rejection catches my eye. An editor says that while she doesn’t connect with this story, she likes my writing, and that food-related books are a personal favorite of hers. 

Hey! I have a food-related book! I send Moe a copy of Super Pizza & Kid Kale. She likes it, but has notes.

July 2020

I revise Super Pizza & Kid Kale again. Moe likes it! She sends it on to the editor and a few other houses for good measure.

August 2020

The editor passes. But the publishing house doesn’t! She says while she personally has a full list, she showed Super Pizza & Kid Kale to another editor who loved it. They wanted to make an offer, as long as I was open to some revisions.

I am now always open to revisions.

Still August, 2020

I have a call with my future editor Aneeka Kalia. She’s amazing. She has a few ideas for the book for me to consider including making the conflict between Kid Kale and Super Pizza less dramatic and centering the action at a school and not all over town.

She also has the idea of a huge double spread food fight. She is an awesome editor. I think all these revisions are great and will take the story to the next level. I say, heck yes.

Late August, 2020 

Viking Books officially acquires Super Pizza & Kid Kale

December 2020

I deliver the final draft of Super Pizza & Kid Kale to Aneeka.

March 2021

Aneeka sends me the first sketches from our illustrator, Zach Smith. They are amazing. This book is going to be amazing.

Sketches by Zach Smith

Summer 2021

Aneeka, Zach, and I work on some small edits to better support the layout and art. The book is coming together!

September 2022

Super Pizza & Kid Kale is a real book! I’m so proud of this graphic-novel style story that celebrates friendship frustrations and food puns. As Super Pizza & Kid Kale like to say, “with great flavor comes great responsibility.” I could add “with great patience and the willingness to revise without ego comes publication.” 

Grab a copy of Super Pizza & Kid Kale anywhere books are sold and check out my website to learn how to get a personalized, signed copy from my local indie book store Word on the Street.

Thank you for sharing a slice of your Birth Story for SUPER PIZZA & KID KALE, Phaea. You've shown us that persistence, flexibility, and a generous appetite for revision are key ingredients in the path to publication. 

Friends, the best way to thank authors whose insights have been helpful and/or inspiring to you is to support their work. Buy their books for yourself and as gifts. Request them from your library. Read and share them with others. SUPER PIZZA & KID KALE is available everywhere books are sold, including from your local, independent bookstore (which you can access online via


Photo Credit: 
Phaea Crede loves writing silly picture books for silly kids. Serious kids, too! She is the author of the picture books Jet the Cat (is Not a Cat) and Super Pizza & Kid Kale. Phaea lives outside of Boston with her husband, two kiddos, two kittens, one puppy, and a slightly stinky dog named Gus. 


Birth Stories for Books is an occasional feature of Dawn Babb Prochovnic's blog. Dawn is the author of multiple picture books including, Lucy's Blooms, Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?, Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?, and 16 books in the Story Time With Signs & Rhymes series. Dawn is a contributing author to the award-winning book, Oregon Reads Aloud, and a frequent presenter at schools, libraries, and educational conferences. Contact Dawn using the form at the left, or learn more at  


  1. Thanks for sharing your book journey. It's reassuring to hear that a no (or several) doesn't always have to mean never. I just sent it in for a book request at my library. Congratulations! I can't wait to find out what happens.

  2. Thanks for reading Ashley! I hope you like the book :)

  3. Love this book. And you are an amazing writer, Phaea. I can’t believe you kept detailed notes about the process along the way. Kudos to you!!