Kid Lit Love: Seven New Children’s Book Releases in 2020

A couple of months ago, I was able to connect with several authors in the kid lit community who have new books being released this year and would like to be included on the Kid Lit Love blog series. It was amazing to get such a positive response from creators of children’s books and has been a pleasure to help get the word out about them. Some of these are debut authors and though 2020 may not be the easiest year for a book release, it is a pleasure to celebrate book birthdays together! I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have participated and those who will be participating in the future. I hope you will take a closer look at these wonderful new releases. Let’s all spread some Kid Lit Love!

Here are the books and authors featured in March and April:

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.

The Lullaby Monsters are Coming Soon!

Hello and welcome! This is an exciting day for me as I just received a positive progress update from my editor and book designer. My early chapter book, THE LULLABY MONSTERS, is so close to the finished product! We are only one month away from the Book Birthday!

We felt the book needed more artwork and we were able to get some gorgeous new images done including some extras for stickers and book plates! So now if you sign up for Cindy’s Book News, you will find out how to receive a book plate like this one. While supplies last.

Book Plate Sticker 2 x 3 inches

THE LULLABY MONSTERS is an early chapter book designed for children ages 5-8 years. It will appeal greatly to children who love the suspense of a ghost story and who are ready for a story a bit longer than a typical picture book.

For those of you familiar with the FROG AND TOAD series by Arnold Lobel, this book has similar short chapters with smaller images throughout. The difference is that I’ve made the book larger so that if you are reading the book aloud to a group of children, it will be easier for them to see the artwork in the larger format. It is closer in size to CHARLIE AND MOUSE by Laurel Snyder and could be described as a picture book/chapter book hybrid.

CHARLIE AND MOUSE

The book was originally titled KELSEY AND THOMAS MEET THE LULLABY MONSTERS but that felt too long. Still, the book features sister/brother duo, Kelsey and Thomas as well as the Lullaby Monsters.

THE LULLABY MONSTERS with Kelsey and Thomas by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith

Synopsis:

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

Thanks for stopping by! Get ready for a countdown to release and a giveaway coming up in June and July. Get the back story on all the characters!

Leave a comment and I will reply to you. Have a wonderful day.

Scotland’s Outdoor Play Initiative

Scotland had planned to use the outdoors to accommodate more children in child care. And their planned increase in fully funded child care hours was interrupted by the pandemic.

The outdoor play initiative was introduced for other reasons as well: to combat childhood obesity, to reduce screen time, to improve mental health and to increase the family’s connection to the environment. Here in Canada, we are seeing more outdoor and nature programs. For more information, visit Forest School Canada.

The belief is the outdoor environment allows the children to exert more control over their activities but the question remains to see if parents will support these programs. I feel the outdoor environment lends itself well to oral storytelling, which can be wonderful for supporting creativity and listening skills.

Nature trail
A nature path provides a different kind of classroom.

The opportunity for children to learn about risk management is beneficial as a life skill. But will the colder weather be a deterrent for educators and families alike? It will be interesting to see if the idea takes hold in Scotland, as it has in Scandinavian countries. According to what we are hearing from medical experts, it sounds as if the coronavirus is far less likely to be transmitted outdoors. So maybe our current situation and efforts to reduce spread of the virus will increase the support for outdoor learning.

One thing is certain: proper clothing and risk management are important for both teachers and children in outdoor settings. If these factors can be managed, I believe children will be more content and fully engaged outdoors and able to better to connect with the natural world, able to improve gross motor skills, and able to self-regulate with greater ease. Most of the things we do indoors can be brought outdoors as well.

I will be curious to see how the people of Scotland receive such programs as they seem to continue to spread here in North America.

Do you have any outdoor learning programs in your community? Are there any challenges to making them work successfully? I would be interested to hear your comments.

Sign up for my newsletter and learn about children’s book release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

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

Cindy’s Book News….Done!

Yay! My newsletter is done. Whew! Get Cindy’s Book News and find out how to get book swag with your order of THE LULLABY MONSTERS, my early chapter book/picture book hybrid to be released late June, 2020.

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.

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

Kid Lit Love: Tulip and Doug

Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series where new picture book releases are featured on Mondays with an author interview. I am thrilled to feature my critique partner, Emma Wood and her debut picture book Tulip and Doug, illustrated by Carla Martell, published by Scholastic New Zealand. And as an added bonus, I’m including a review of this adorable book!

TULIP AND DOUG by Emma Wood and Carla Martell

Synopsis:

Tulip was famous in her neighbourhood for two reasons: 1. She was a fearless adventurer. 2. She went everywhere with a seriously strange sidekick-a potato, called Doug!

Tulip and Doug are inseparable, until catastrophe strikes and Tulip
loses her best spuddy buddy. She is inconsolable, until another unlikely friendship blossoms.

My Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and full of heart! An unlikely friendship between an adventurous girl and a potato (?!) is funny and full of delightful surprises. The adorable illustrations add whimsy and fun, plus the view from Tulip’s headquarters is spectacular. Will Tulip ever find find Doug? Will Doug be forced into the compost bin? There’s plenty of suspense in this story to keep the pages turning.

And now I’d like to welcome Emma Wood to the blog! Emma, author of Tulip and Doug, has been one of my critique partners since 2018, when we joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge.

Emma Wood
  1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.

It’s a familiar story, really – I read my own children many, many picture books, and soon developed a love for the form. I revisited all the titles I adored in childhood, which was gorgeously nostalgic. But the best part was discovering some remarkable contemporary picture books. It was a revelation to experience these beautiful, moving, profound, hilarious, outrageous and clever books, and to see how the interplay between text and art could elevate a story. I felt inspired to have a go at writing them, too.

In my day job, I write primarily for adults – I’m a former journalist who now works in communications and public relations. However, I’ve never been especially interested in writing adult fiction. I like to write for children because they are the most wonderful people on the planet. I write picture books because they introduce children to elements of language, art, storytelling, and the wonders and workings of the world around them. Children deserve to read excellent, fun, engaging, meaningful books – every bit as much as adults do.

  • Tell us how you came up with the idea for your book .

I was painting my living room walls and listening to a podcast, actually! The podcast guest shared that as a child, they had a rock friend called John that they pushed around in a pram. I found this funny and charming, and it struck me as a cute idea for a picture book. I then thought a potato friend might be even funnier than a rock.

I got to thinking about the potential ramifications of having a potato as a friend – that other children might find it a little strange, and that a potato wouldn’t be the most permanent of pals. The story of fearless adventurer Tulip and her dear, ill-fated Doug grew from that seed.

I’m delighted TULIP AND DOUG is now a book, and I hope children and their families will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! 

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

My advice is to find your people! There are so many excellent resources and supportive communities online for children’s authors and illustrators. I highly recommend Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, which is where I met my wonderful critique partners (hi, Cynthia!) and learned so much about the craft of writing picture books. SCBWI is another great resource. Storyteller Academy has some fantastic courses and teachers, as does the Children’s Book Academy. And there are heaps of Facebook groups like Kidlit 411 and Sub It Club where you can connect with fellow authors and illustrators. I’ve found all of these communities to be welcoming and encouraging, and a treasure trove of industry and craft knowledge.

Here are Emma’s social media contacts:

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

Sign up for my newsletter and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

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

Why Play Matters: Play as Therapy for Children

Welcome to my blog! Right now there are so many children all over the world who cannot attend school. Online learning at home is the alternative; not a perfect alternative, but it is what we have available right now.

Vehicles and arrows bring a multitude of play possibilities.

What I hope we all will remember is the value of play for children. Play is children’s work but it also serves as therapy, allowing children to work through big emotions in a safe and acceptable way. So let the children in your family play their way through the pandemic; it could be one of the most important keys to maintaining mental health in a challenging, uncertain time.

Thank you to readers for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find 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 my release dates, pre-orders and free offers.