Kid Lit Love: SHE LEADS: The Elephant Matriarch

Hello and Happy Monday! Today, we welcome author, June Small to the Kid Lit Love blog with her memorable picture book, SHE LEADS: The Elephant Matriarch, released May, 2020, published by Familius. Illustrations are by Yumi Shimokawara. This is a lyrical nonfiction book that follows the matriarch as she teaches, cares for, and protects her family.

She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch

She is the Queen. The matriarch.

She leads her daughters and their daughters.


Inspiring text and striking illustrations follow the empowering journey of an elephant matriarch as she leads her family through the wilds of Africa. With facts about African elephants on every spread and a message that will encourage young girls to be the trailblazers of their generation, She Leads offers an incredible story and an unforgettable tribute to the strength of a true leader.

Open your eyes, princess. One day you will lead.

*Kirkus starred review*

Interview:

I was able to connect with June through the Kid Lit 411 facebook group and it is a pleasure to have her as a guest on the blog!


1. Tell us why you write books for children.

I love reading! In kindergarten reading the Mr. Men and Little Miss books in the library bean bag chair, crushing all the Boxcar Children and Saddle Club books I could get my hands on in late elementary and middle school, mysteries though high school, I couldn’t get enough books. 

When I got serious about writing, I wanted to build readers. I wanted children to fall in love with books. I wanted to create non-fiction that pulled a kid in and made them curious and hungry for more and fun fiction for them to escape into. I write for children to spread joy.

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book.

I had done some elephant research for a chapter book series. On International Women’s Day my agent retweeted an elephant fact and said she’d love a book about elephants. I had an AHA moment. I had the research for a larger book, but maybe this could be perfect for a picture book!

The structure I chose was unlike anything I’d ever written. It has a short lyrical story and in addition to that the story goes deeper with non-fiction sidebars on each spread. I did this mainly because I couldn’t decide if I wanted a beautiful story or one with the cool elephant facts, so I did both, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

3. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

Study different books with different structures and styles. If a piece isn’t working for you, step out of your comfort zone and try it a different way. Approach your problem from a different perspective. 

Yes, it can be time consuming and yes it may fail fabulously, but artists should always be learning and practicing their craft. Time consuming is not the same as time wasted. It will teach you something and expand your writing toolbox. You may not like the POV change or structure change for this book, but it may work perfectly for your next book. Be brave and don’t fear failure.

Thank you for the interview, June. Your comments about the inspiration for the book really spoke to me and I have revisited one of my works in progress after considering how I might incorporate non-fiction sidebars. It is a beautiful way to make a book that is both lyrical and educational at the same time.

You can connect with June Smalls via her website www.junesmalls.com or through Twitter @June_Smalls

Look for more Kid Lit Love posts on Mondays! Want to have your book featured? Send an email request to authorcynthiamackey@gmail.com

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Thank you for stopping by my blog. You are welcome here any time!

Kid Lit Love Picture Book Giveaway! Still time to enter!

Hello and welcome! We’re celebrating so many lovely picture book releases this year and to help us do that we have a summer picture book giveaway for you!

Giveaway Prizes:

  • TULIP AND DOUG by Emma Wood and Carla Martel
  • THE LULLABY MONSTERS by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith
  • BENJAMIN’S BLUE FEET by Sue Macartney
  • LULLABY MONSTERS book swag (stickers, book plates, etc.)

I can’t wait to send out prizes to the lucky winner. Have you entered the giveaway yet?

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment here on this blog and you will be entered into a random draw. You can also retweet the Twitter post for a second entry. You must be 19 years or over to enter. Winner will be chosen by random draw. Contest closes July 15, 2020 at midnight Pacific time. Good luck!

Kid Lit Love: Rescuing Mrs. Birdley

Happy Monday! Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series where we spread a little love around our small and friendly writing community! Thanks for stopping by. Today, we feature illustrator, Emma Reynolds and her book Rescuing Mrs. Birdley, written by Aaron Reynolds. It is published by Simon and Schuster Young Readers and the release date is July 9, 2020.

Rescuing Mrs. Birdley

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (June 30, 2020)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534427044
  • Grades: P – 3
  • Ages: 4 and up

Synopsis –In this wildly charming and fantastically imaginative story by the New York Times bestselling author of Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear, a young animal expert knows just what to do when she spots her teacher in the wild.

Miranda is an animal expert. Or at least, she watches a lot of Nature Joe. Nature Joe is incredible. He rescues animals, returning them to their natural habitat.

Mrs. Birdley is a teacher. The natural habitat of a teacher is a classroom.

So when Mrs. Birdley escapes school and ends up wild, loose, and confused at the local grocery store, Miranda knows just what to do: she must use her brain, her guts, and her extensive knowledge of Nature Joe to rescue Mrs. Birdley—at any cost!

This delightfully over-the-top picture book illustrated by newcomer Emma Reynolds explores the weirdness of seeing a teacher outside of school and will have young readers laughing out loud every time they read.

It is a pleasure to feature Emma Reynolds, illustrator of the book here on the blog. Emma took the time to answer a few questions for you.

QUESTIONS –1. Tell us how you came to illustrate books for children –
It’s been my dream to illustrate books since I was 5 years old! I’ve always loved drawing since I can remember, and I used to make little books and staple them together when I was a kid. I studied art at University, and fell in love with the puzzle solving aspect of planning a picture book. I signed with my agent in summer 2018 and have my first illustrated book coming out this summer, it’s so exciting! Aaron’s manuscript was such a joy to work on, and I’m so happy to have been able to illustrate Miranda and bring her to life – an adventurous, outgoing and wildly hilarious little girl!

2. What is your favourite part about illustrating a book?
My favourite part is thumbnailing the book, and coming up with the characters and portraying the hilarious moments! Plus, I got to draw lots of animals which I love doing (Including ring-tailed lemurs, which are adorable!) Miranda was so much fun to design, I wanted to give her this BIG mane of hair, that would fly behind her when she was feeling proud like a cape, and droop down when she was sad. It is a great way to have another part of her that accentuates her emotions 🙂

3. Share a piece of advice for children’s illustrators. Draw what YOU want to draw! Be authentic to yourself and what you’d like to create – rather than making a portfolio out of what you think people want to see. The work you really care about and comes from the heart will be your best work – and other people can tell 🙂

Emma Reynolds


Emma Reynolds is passionate about storytelling and creating unique characters. She is based in Manchester, UK and is currently working on her author-illustrator debut Amara and the Bats about bat conservation and overcoming climate anxiety. Emma is the founder of KidLit4Climate, a campaign bringing together over 3,000 children’s illustrators and authors in solidarity with the youth climate strikers. She is inspired by nature, animals, exploration, and seeing the magic in the everyday.

Emma Reynolds 

Aaron Reynolds



Aaron Reynolds
 is a New York Times bestselling author and has written many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, and Carnivores. He lives in Chicago with his wife, two kids, four cats, and anywhere between zero and ten goldfish, depending on the day.

Book Website link –https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Rescuing-Mrs-Birdley/Aaron-Reynolds/9781534427044

Thank you to readers for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find more new children’s book releases, both fiction and non-fiction. You are welcome here any time!

Sign up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Book News, and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

Did You Have a Problem Ordering THE LULLABY MONSTERS?

Hello to my 2.5 Readers! I’m doing this post because THE LULLABY MONSTERS has been showing up as ‘currently unavailable’ on Amazon.com this week… which is my release week. YIKES!

Cookie plate
Tea service in the park

Live and Learn

I got tipped off and discovered the problem, which was that my Canadian pricing was rejected by Ingram Spark. All I had to do was change the book price by 1 penny and voila! Problem solved. I have no idea why it is so finicky but live and learn, I guess.

It still shows as unavailable on Amazon.ca but Canadians can order through Amazon.com and it will ship to Canada. They’re saying only 3-5 days! Yay for that! I’m hopefully that by July 10th it will show as available in Canada as well as it takes about 5 days for the new pricing to take effect.

If you’ve had any problems ordering, please let me know! Local people, I’m waiting for my box to be delivered but you’ll be able to buy them from me soon.

Giveaway!!!

And you can enter my giveaway to win 3 fabulous new children’s books including THE LULLABY MONSTERS up until July 15th. Can’t wait to send out the prize package to the lucky winner!

Happy Book Birthday: The Lullaby Monsters with a Summer Reading Giveaway!

Happy Book Birthday !!

THE LULLABY MONSTERS written by me and illustrated by Paula Nasmith, is now available for you to order. And to celebrate, I’m doing a summer reading giveaway! You’ll receive these 3 books plus THE LULLABY MONSTERS book swag:

Here’s how to enter. Simply leave a comment on this post between June 30 and July 14. You can receive an extra entry by retweeting the post on Twitter and by tagging a friend. You must be over 19 years to win. Winner chosen by random draw. Contest closes July 14 at midnight, Pacific time. Winners will be contacted within 7 days and announced here on the blog!

THE LULLABY MONSTERS is great for children who love a little suspense and are just beginning to read/listen to longer stories. It is produced in a larger format to make it easier to read to a group of children so it will be an excellent addition to your classroom or library.

Spoiler alert: These monsters love to read!

Meet the Characters

Left to right: Kelsey and Thomas; Flon (on ball); Edwin (starry background); Gunther (with ice cream cone); Trixie (on tricycle); Jazz (in paper boat); Brio (with puffy clouds)

Synopsis:

In this night time adventure, Kelsey is always her brother’s hero. She bravely helps with lost teddy bears, scraped knees, and favourite picnic foods. But when Thomas can’t sleep because of the lullaby monsters, Kelsey isn’t sure she can help.  Then Thomas’ precious lullaby box is stolen and Kelsey must face her monstrous fear. In doing so, she discovers that the lullaby monsters are a lot like Thomas.

This book a hybrid between an early chapter book and a picture book and will appeal to those who love Frog and Toad, Charlie and Mouse, or Jack and Annie (Magic Treehouse). Divided into 6 short chapters, it is ideal for children aged 5-8 years who want a slightly longer read-aloud story or are beginning to read for themselves. If your child enjoys ghost stories with a dash of suspense, this will be for them.

Release date: June 30, 2020

How to order:

Go to Indiebound to find a local independent bookstore. Request the book through them. You’ll be supporting a local business at a critical time! Or choose from the list below.

Getting the word out about a new book is challenging for indie authors, so feel free to share this post! Or add the book to your Goodreads list. Requesting it at your library helps too.

Did I mention how much I love book reviews? If you loved the book and you get the chance, I would love it if you could post a review of the book on Goodreads or Amazon. In fact, I will be your new best friend!

Thank you! Have a wonderful day and maybe go and have a piece of cake to celebrate with me. I’d love that.

Coming Soon on Kid Lit Love!

Oh my! There are so many wonderful picture books about to be released over the next few months. Check out these books being featured soon here on the Kid Lit Love blog.

I hope you’ll stop by on Mondays to read interviews with these creative and talented authors. Pour a cup of tea and find out about the new books that will keep your children interested in reading all summer long. Get tips from the authors on writing for children and meet some people from the most welcoming and kind community ever…the kid lit village!

And did I mention, my summer reading giveaway starts tomorrow? Visit the blog between June 30 and July 15th to find out which three children’s books I’m giving away and enter yourself to win!

One More Day Until Book Release: The Lullaby Monsters

Hi Guys! This is it…just one more day until the book release. Thanks for stopping by and getting the back story on each character. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know them before your book arrives. If you have a favourite, please tell me in the comments.

Meet Kelsey!

  • Name: Kelsey (means fierce and brave)
  • Age: 8 years
  • Birthplace: Fern-wood
  • Hobby: Magic tricks
  • Greatest Fear: Monsters
  • Favorite Food: Cherry Pie
  • Favorite Lullaby: Goodnight Thomas because I sing it every night and Thomas loves it so much.

Meet each character as we do a countdown to the book release! Sign up for my newsletter to find out how to get book marks, book plates and stickers while supplies last.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is front-cover.jpg
THE LULLABY MONSTERS by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith

Synopsis:

In this night time adventure, Kelsey is always her brother’s hero. She bravely helps with lost teddy bears, scraped knees, and favourite picnic foods. But when Thomas can’t sleep because of the lullaby monsters, Kelsey isn’t sure she can help.  Then Thomas’ precious lullaby box is stolen and Kelsey must face her monstrous fear. In doing so, she discovers that the lullaby monsters are a lot like Thomas.

This book a hybrid between an early chapter book and a picture book and will appeal to those who love Frog and Toad, Charlie and Mouse, or Jack and Annie (Magic Treehouse). Divided into 6 short chapters, it is ideal for children aged 5-8 years who want a slightly longer read-aloud story or are beginning to read for themselves. If your child enjoys ghost stories with a dash of suspense, this will be for them.

Release date: June 2020

I’m also excited for tomorrow because that’s when the giveaway opens and you can enter to win a copy plus two more awesome picture books to go with it, plus book swag. Come by tomorrow to see all the prizes! Leave a comment and you just might win:) Have a wonderful day!