Kid Lit Village Review: How to Say Hello to a Worm

Hello Kid Lit Village Readers! Today, I’d like to review a book I absolutely love for sharing with my nature preschool class. HOW TO SAY HELLO TO A WORM is by Kari Percival, published by Rise x Penguin Workshop, 2022.

In one sentence: this book will inspire you to get outdoors and garden with the little people in your life.

It begins with saying hello to a worm and continues with the things you can grow in your garden that are simple and loved by children. lettuce, strawberries, and peas that grow into a natural garden tent are all part of this picture book that meets children exactly where they are.

Highly recommended for your home or classroom library!

Another book that goes well with this one is Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals. A great way to learn about worms, composting and gardening!


Hello Readers! * I’m glad you stopped by the blog today. For our first blog post with the brand new shiny name, Kid Lit Village, I’m featuring the fiction picture book, I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE by Deb Adamson and Anne Zimanski which is coming out in February, 2021. And here’s the preorder link for a personalized signed copy shipped free anywhere in U.S. 

*Reposted from 2021

I Miss Your Sunny Smile

“I miss your sunny smile. How’d you lose it? Where’d it go? Let’s go searching for a while.” Having a bad day is never fun, but it can be especially difficult for young children to understand that sad feelings are temporary. Through gentle rhymes and warm illustrations, we see a mother helping her son find his smile again. 

Book Trailer

The book is also available for pre-order from Amazon

And now I’d like to welcome Deb Adamson to the blog. Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your book, Deb! And thanks for taking the time to do a blog interview and share your creative energy with the Kid Lit Village.

Deb Adamson

Can you start by sharing some advice for children’s book writers?

My advice for children’s book writers is to read as many recently published children’s books as possible. It is impossible to write without reviewing current mentor texts that inspire. Write routinely, but not necessarily every day. Some ideas need to percolate before sitting down to write.  And revise all work until you cannot imagine it getting any better. Between revisions, be sure you let the piece sit for longer than you think, then look at it with fresh eyes and revise again.  Be prepared. If it gets accepted for publication it will no doubt be revised even more! Be sure to have a critique partner or critique group to offer feedback. And don’t give up. Finding an agent or editor who connects with your work is so subjective. If you have put in the hard work, and know you are submitting your best manuscripts then persistence will eventually pay off. 

Thanks for the reminder of the subjective nature of children’s publishing. This is so important to remember when submitting your work.

Can you tell us about your path to publication?

My path to publication has been a long and winding road. My first picture book was published by Millbrook Press 20 years ago. And my second by an independent publisher one year later. Shortly after that, I put a long pause on my quest to see my books in print. The decision was spurred by, at the time, scary health-news for me, and also for my mom. But the interlude also involved something more joyful— me finally being able to have the child I longed for and wanting to just enjoy my days with him, not putting my heart and soul into trying to get published, and all the angst that goes with that. I wrote picture book manuscripts during his younger years and of course read so much to him. (We also homeschooled.) I just didn’t query. No regrets. And now that he’s grown, being back in the pursuit to publication feels like just the right time.

It is true that there’s so much angst that goes along with publishing. It must have been a challenging time for you dealing with your own health issues as well as your mother’s and what a wise choice to focus on your child! That is a good way to maintain positivity in your life.

Please tell us about some of your other books.

I was published again last year (2019) by independent press, Little Red Tree Publishing. My nonfiction picture book biography, Florence Griswold The Keeper of The Artists was my love song to my favorite museum- The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. It tells the story of Miss Florence, who made art history by establishing the most famous Impressionist Art Colony in the U.S. I donate proceeds from sales of that book to the museum. I Miss Your Sunny Smile is being published at time when small children are struggling with the isolation caused by the pandemic. It is my hope that this story will help really young children ages (0-3) in some small way understand that bad days come and bad days go and that frowns eventually turn upside down!

As you may know, I am a preschool teacher and I Miss Your Sunny Smile reminded me right away of our difficult decision this year, deciding to wear masks at preschool. We struggled with this because we didn’t want to hide our faces as we believe young children benefit from seeing our facial expressions at a time when they are learning to understand emotions. We also know they are learning speech and articulation of sounds and how much being able to observe others speaking can be aid in learning to communicate. Our early childhood educators do wear masks but we find opportunities to show children our smiles underneath when we are at a safe six foot distance. What a timely book to be coming out this year and as you say, it will be timeless in the understanding that bad days do come and go.

Thanks for the interview, Deb! You can learn more about Deb and her books by visiting her website or on Twitter!

Website link-

Twitter @DebAdamsonBooks

Feel free to leave your comments below. And for U.S. residents, take the opportunity to pre-order Deb’s book and get a signed copy! 

Thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Village this week! I hope you’ll find ways to support these authors any way you can: request their books at the library, share on your social media, add their book to your Goodreads to-read list, or leave them a review.

I hope you’ll come back on Mondays and discover new children’s books being released this year. Sign up for email notifications on the right side of the page. Or sign up for my newsletter.

Kid Lit Village Book Review: Mia Moves Out

Dear Kid Lit Village readers,

Welcome to my Friday book review! This week I’m featuring MIA MOVES OUT by Miranda Paul and Paige Keiser.

Children and adults will love this heartwarming story! Mia is a determined child who wants a place of her own. Sharing a room with a sibling isn’t easy. In the process of finding a place of her own, Mia also finds new value in having a sibling. Mia is a genuine, likeable character who expresses real emotions.

4.5 Stars

I wish Amazon and Goodreads allowed half star ratings! Do you agree?

If you have a book about siblings you love, please share in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by Kid Lit Village today.

Kid Lit Village Review: Every Shiny Thing

Hello Kid lit Village Readers,

I’m happy you’re here for a Friday book review! I’ve been loving novels in verse so here’s my review of EVERY SHINY THING by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison.

I love the unique way this book was written with two authors each taking the voice of one of the main characters and alternating chapters in that voice. Each character’s story was equally engaging in its own way. Lauren and Sierra came to life, I felt their struggles and found it to be a compelling read.

4 stars

Stop by on Fridays for more picture book or MG novel reviews. Have a great day!

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Wednesday’s Inspirational Quote

It’s not going to be published until 2024, but my debut picture book, IF A BUMBLEBEE LANDS ON YOUR TOE, deals with fear. I’ve always believed it important to not allow fear to take over when making decisions. Hopefully my book will help people overcome fear. I truly believe if we foster our connection to nature, that can be a great starting point to moving beyond fear and gaining courage. Add mindfulness to that nature connection, and you have a powerful combination. May you face your fears with courage.

Have a wonderful day!

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Kid Lit Village: MIA AND NATTIE: One Great Team!

Happy New Year to all my Kid Lit Village readers! I’m excited to share this picture book at the start of the year as it’s all about love, which is what we could use more of throughout the year. The book is called MIA AND NATTIE: One Great Team! by Marlene M. Bell with illustrations by Grace Sandford.

In a read aloud picture book for children who love animals, award-winning writer and sheep breeder, Marlene M. Bell presents Nattie the lamb’s true story. A charming book devoted to problem-solving, teamwork, and love.

A little girl dreams big to save her lamb and form a forever friendship ~

Mia and Nattie: One Great Team!

Mia rescues a newborn lamb from the cold and raises the orphan in the laundry room. She bottle-feeds tiny Nattie even though its fate on the farm is uncertain. Sheep must raise babies, but Nattie will never be big enough to have lambs of her own. When Mia’s grandmother demands that the inferior lamb be sold to a neighbor, Mia sets out to devise a plan to keep the lamb she loves on the farm.

Young readers will cheer Mia’s efforts and root for the tiny lamb to change its future.

illustrator, Grace Sandford

Welcome to the Kid Lit Village blog, Marlene!

author, Marlene M. Bell

Q. Why I wrote Mia and Nattie: Natalie, the inspiration for my book

I didn’t set out to write a children’s book, having no experience in that genre. Writing novels is where my heart lies— and raising sheep. When we lost our Natalie the horned Dorset sheep after thirteen years, I felt so empty not seeing her among the oaks that surround our home. The idea to write a book for kids came to mind because little Nattie had taught us plenty about caring and kindness toward others. Many books for kids today are built solely for entertainment purposes. I wanted the Nattie book to share an old-fashioned belief system any child could carry with them into adulthood.

Natalie was tiny at birth. The only way she survived was round-the-clock care in an unorthodox place for livestock. In thirty years, no sheep had ever stepped foot inside the house. The plan was crazy but necessary because the freezing temperatures and her mother without the milk to feed her, gave us no choice. We had fed oodles of bottle lambs in the barn, but a three-pounder raised inside or outside would be a challenge. Our track record for saving premature lambs in below freezing weather wasn’t good, so while my husband slept, I brought the little lamb into our laundry room, gave her a warm bath to bring up her temperature and dried her off. To our surprise, she thrived.

Natalie eventually grew strong enough to walk the tile floor and wait for her warm bottle of milk while I made it at the kitchen sink. For eight weeks she stayed indoors, and finally transitioned outside as our sheep guardian for the rest of her life, from California to Texas, where we live now. She actually had a job on our ranch as caretaker for all of the new bottle lambs each season. Sheep like having other sheep around. What better way to keep an orphan lamb company than another sheep for warmth and companionship? Mia and Nattie is Natalie’s true story.

A. Marlene, I think readers will enjoy the fact that this is a true story.

Q. I’m curious to know if you found any different challenges when switching from novels to picture books?

Because I began with non-fiction, writing a children’s book like Mia and Nattie: One Great Team, came easily. Natalie lived with us for thirteen years from a newborn bottle lamb in the laundry room. Even though we don’t have children of our own, we have raised many, many lambs over the past forty years. Mothering all of them including the ewes and rams. Natalie was a help to us, providing company for the bottle lambs each season— her story as our Nattie is compelling. When you experience things first-hand, it’s unforgettable and easy to put to paper. I felt that children, parents, and grandparents alike would enjoy the subtle messages left in the text of Mia and Nattie— from Natalie’s lifetime on the ranch with us. 

Q. How I build myself up in the face of rejection.

~My advice to novice writers ~

Every writer faces rejection. It’s how you deal with the rejection that determines whether you can survive and go on to become an author, independent or otherwise. Publishing houses are accepting so few books from non-personalities. Indie authors have honed their craft and are steadily gaining traction and a larger share of the reader market because they are excellent writers. Never give up on a dream.

Have I had my share of the dreaded rejection letters from agents and publishers? Yes, tons of them. The only way NOT to receive a manuscript rejection is to not pitch your book at all.

In the early days of my debut novel, I made a folder to print and keep letter correspondence. With a growing folder and my inbox filled with dreaded rejections, I came to the conclusion that saving them was a sad reminder of my failures. I later understood that receiving a response, any response, was a positive thing. Agencies receive so many manuscript submissions, they don’t have to respond at all. (Many are so bold they include a disclaimer on their website stating they only respond to those with work they’re interested in.) Be courteous in a return reply, and thankful they took the time to drop a note about your submission. Just because they didn’t like one storyline doesn’t mean they won’t like your next book. If writing a series and pitching book one, it’s best to wait for a future standalone before pitching again. If an agent turns down the first novel, that same agent won’t look at the next in the series.

Writing is subjective, just like editing. Pleasing all readers is nearly impossible to do, so stop trying! Authors have to write for themselves with the reader in mind. Understanding genres before you start your book will save you lots of rewrites and bad reviews. Before I began, I didn’t read other authors, which was a terrible mistake I made. That’s why it took me eight long years to polish and publish my first novel. Trust me when I say this; reviewers will let you know if you haven’t learned your genre, so prepare to get hammered if you haven’t done your genre homework.

Listen to your critics, especially if the complaints are repetitive. If you hear it once, pass it off as a personal preference for that reader. If the same criticism is heard twice or more, there’s work to do in that department. Critiques, editors, and reviewers will make you a better writer. Listen to them. As long as you surround yourself with professional editors, a solid formatter, and cover art that’s eye appealing and suitable for your genre, your book will get the jumpstart it needs— and many glowing reviews will follow.

Rejection is nothing more than a frame of mind. What doesn’t work for some agents may be perfect for another.

A. It’s true that whether you are an indie author or traditionally published, rejection is part of the business. As you say, the critiques, the editors, the reviewers can all make you a better writer if you listen.

Marlene, thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview. It was. pleasure to learn of this true story!

Connect with Marlene and learn more about her books!

Cynthia Mackey

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy new year!

2023 – A Year of Reviews

Dear Kid Lit Village Readers,

Thank you so much for supporting my blog! I appreciate you for being here through the ups and the downs life throws at us all.

Looking ahead to 2023, I plan to repost a bunch of my author/illustrator interviews with the hope of freeing up time to focus on book reviews and my own writing/querying. It will be a look back at some past book releases over the last couple of years.

My goal for 2023 and fresh content includes regular book reviews of children’s literature. Some will be picture books and some will be middle grade novels. I’m most attracted to novels in verse and nature themed picture books. Posts will appear on Fridays. I hope you’ll find some good reads over the year and maybe share some of your favourites in the comments.

And of course, I will update you on what’s happening with me.

Here’s to 2023!

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.

The Dragonfly: A Good Omen

Hello Kid Lit Village Readers! Welcome to the blog. Life tends to speed by for me and every now and then I get some moments to reflect. It’s December now and I’m thinking back to last spring.

In May, we took a little exploratory trip to the Sunshine Coast, a part of our big beautiful province neither one of us had visited before. We stayed at a lodge by the sea, got a free room upgrade, and had a peaceful weekend admiring the view, walking on the trails, and eating delicious food.

When we arrived in the room, and I saw the dragonfly pillows, I felt good right away! This was a sign of something positive to come. I didn’t know what, but I felt it!!! Do you ever get that kind of intuition? Maybe not, and that’s okay, but for me, there are some moments in my life where I feel deeply some good news is coming. The dragonfly was my sign. It represents transformation. This could be the transformation from writer to published author that I had been working towards.

You see, I had been (and am still) working on a dragonfly picture book, and this gave me renewed hope for that story. Feeling encouraged about ALL my writing, I sent a few follow ups to queries I had been waiting on. It was shortly after this that I heard from Yeehoo Press that they were interested in IF A BUMBLEBEE LANDS ON YOUR TOE. Was it the dragonfly pillow or was it my extra efforts? I’ll never know for sure, but I’m glad I sent that follow-up. As a result, I’ve become a champion of the professional, well-timed nudge!

Will my NF dragonfly picture book sell? I don’t know for sure, but now that I’ve sold my first picture book, I believe in the possibility.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Come back any time! I wish you the best on your reading/writing journey.

Cynthia Mackey

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.