Kid Lit Village: JUST A WORM

Welcome to the Kid Lit Village blog! I’m super excited to have a freshly pressed interview with Marie Boyd, author of JUST A WORM, published by Greenwillow, an imprint of Harper Collins. Marie is an author/illustrator and she has a unique process called quilling that she uses to create her illustrations. This book is a great fit for Kid Lit Village with its nature focus and I’m honoured to interview Marie and share more about her book with all of you.

JUST A WORM by Marie Boyd

After being called “just a worm” by two children, Worm embarks on a journey around the garden to prove them wrong. Debut author-illustrator Marie Boyd seamlessly incorporates concepts of nature, natural selection, habitats, and interdependence in this picture book beautifully illustrated with a cut-paper technique called quilling.

Kid Lit Village Interviewer and Children’s Author, Cynthia Mackey

Who am I? My name is Cynthia (Cindy) Mackey; I’m a nature preschool teacher by day and a picture book writer by night. Early mornings are great for writing too! I started this blog in 2020, hoping to help picture book authors who couldn’t get out in person during the pandemic and have just kept going. I want to give back to the writing community that has given so much to me since I started a regular writing practice in 2017. It has been my pleasure to interview and share new book releases for children and I’m honoured that so many authors and illustrators have been guests here on the blog – Kid Lit Village.

Author/Illustrator, Marie Boyd

Marie Boyd studied chemistry in college and is a law professor. An expert in cosmetics and food regulation, she loves spending time outside, whipping up new creations in the kitchen, and quilling! Just a Worm is her first book for children. Marie lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her family. Connect with her at and on Instagram 

Welcome to the blog, Marie! Tell us about the inspiration for your books. 

When my son was little, I frequently told him “It’s just a worm” when he saw worms on the sidewalk after the rain. I imagined how a worm might respond if it could understand my words. This led to my debut picture book, JUST A WORM. In the book, after being called “just a worm” by two children, Worm embarks on a journey through the garden to prove them wrong. Along the way, Worm encounters several insects and other creatures, each of which has important qualities. But what can Worm do?

I used a cut paper technique called quilling to make the illustrations for JUST A WORM. The garden in JUST A WORM was inspired by plants I’ve seen on walks, plants from my and my parent’s garden, and flowers from local farms.  

I encourage readers to check out Marie’s paper quilling video for inspiration to make your own art at home.


What appeals to you about writing books for children?

I have always loved reading picture books. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve books. Now that I’m a parent one of my favorite things to do is to curl up on the couch with my kids and read aloud to them. My oldest likes to challenge me to make up stories for him and I love it when I make something up that he enjoys. I hope kids will find joy in my stories and that my stories will help them as they learn to navigate the world. 

Tell us about your path to publication.

When I was in first grade, my teacher gave each kid in our class a beautiful blank book in which to write and illustrate a story. I spent so much time working on drafts that I never finished mine, but I knew then that one day I wanted to publish a book. 

Can you recommend any resources for developing your talents as a writer?

I’m so grateful for my writing and illustration critique groups, and for friends and family members who are willing to discuss ideas, read drafts, and give feedback. I have learned so much from other writers, illustrators, and readers, many of whom I have connected with through SCBWI, libraries, bookstores, and my agent. Participating in regular critique groups has also helped provide me with the push I need to get my ideas down on paper. 

I also participate in three picture book groups, which have given me a deeper sense of community on this journey. It has been so much fun to celebrate other authors’ books. I very much appreciate having people I can ask questions about planning for a book release. 

As Marie says, writing is best done in connection with others. Sharing ideas, incorporating feedback and celebrating one another’s work is all part of the process.


Take a moment and connect with Marie through her website, instagram or facebook! Share her book with others who might enjoy reading it. That’s what Kid Lit Village is all about.


Instagram: @artistscholar

FB: @MarieBoydAuthor

And now a little more about me, the face behind the blog!

I am a children’s author too… with two self-published books and my debut picture book in traditional publishing, IF A BUMBLEBEE LANDS ON YOUR TOE, coming in 2024 with Yeehoo Press!

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey (me), please subscribe to my newsletter.

I hope you’ll stop by again soon for more interviews and book reviews!

Published by cynthiahm

I am a preschool teacher/music teacher who loves to take photos and write stories in her spare time. My dream is to become a published author. Follow my journey as I work towards turning my dream into a reality.

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