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!

Kid Lit Village Book Review: SMALL MATTERS

Hello lovely readers, and welcome to the blog! Today Kid Lit Village features a review of SMALL MATTERS: The Power of the Unseen by Heather Ferranti Kinser.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity to look closely at the small things and shows us how they really do matter! Real photographs show that the wonder of small things is beautiful.

5 Stars

Do you have a favourite book about something small? Please share in the comments!

Happy Friday, and I hope you’ll stop by Kid Lit Village blog again some time.

Kid Lit Village: Miss Meow

Hello Readers, and welcome to Kid Lit Village! I’m so happy you’re here. Each Monday I feature an author or illustrator interview and a new release children’s book. This week, we welcome MISS MEOW by Jane Smith, publication date: September 28, 2021 by West Margin Press.

About the book:

An imaginative story about childhood play and one welcoming family to a furry creature who wanders in!


Costumed with kitty ears and a tail, a young girl prowls proudly around her domain until she discovers her favorite toy mouse destroyed. Who else could it be but her little brother? But as the girl and her family investigates, they realize that there may be more than one cat in the house! Miss Meow is a dynamic tale celebrating the surprises that our feline friends can bring to a family.

Jane Smith, author

I’m thrilled to welcome Jane Smith to the Kid Lit Village blog! Thank you so much for being here and spending a little time with our readers, Jane.

Q: Tell us about the inspiration for your book

A: First, I want to say “thank you” for having me on Kid Lit Village today! I’m so excited to be sharing Miss Meow with you and your readers! The heart of the story is very much inspired by the nearly universal experience of kids everywhere dressing up as cats and requiring their loved ones to treat them as such! I know I certainly did as a child, even going so far as to eat actual dry cat food from my pet’s food dish! Oy!

And from there, Miss Meow’s heart was further shaped by a variety of additional unique influences. Miss Meow is very much a modern Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. And it is also a bit of an homage to my beloved childhood pet cats, Tiger and Socks, who were always full of surprises. I also have a soft spot for salty characters, and I enjoyed giving Miss Meow a big personality that at times rubs a little rough before softening up.

Altogether these influences fused into the joyful story of imaginative play and feline friends that is Miss Meow!

That’s so relatable for me, Jane. Even though we didn’t have pets, many of my children’s friends did and that’s exactly the kind of play that happened whenever they came over for play dates. They would constantly meow and crawl around. In fact, my son’s best friend in preschool spent about 3 weeks saying nothing but ‘meow’ to everyone.

Q: Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

A: My best advice to fellow children’s book writers (and illustrators!), whether aspiring or established, it to just BEGIN on that project that lives in your heart—anyway, anyhow, at any pace, at any time. There’s always a million reasons to hold back or hold off—ignore them all. Whether your progress is measured in inches or miles, nonetheless, it will be meaningful, and it will carry you forward.

“That project that lives in your heart” is so rewarding to pursue, isn’t it? That’s such helpful advice. Especially when it can be difficult to know where to put your energies and measuring progress can be intangible.

Q: Tell us how you build yourself up in the face of rejection.

A: For me, I focus on my own agency—that is what I have the power to do for myself. It goes without saying that we can’t make anyone connect with our work or buy our stories, but creatively, I can focus on developing new work, embrace revisions and learn more about my craft. From a business perspective, I can continue to submit book proposals and artwork again (and again!), I can dive into self-promotion and I can create opportunities to get face time with potential clients and build relationships within the publishing industry.

I also started interviewing fellow artists nearly 10 years ago on my blog, Bird Meets Worm, as a way to lift up fellow creatives and celebrate their successes. Initially, when I first started the blog, I interviewed all my friends who were also working as hard as I was toward our publishing goals as a way to boost morale. These days, I sometimes talk to creators who have newly published books that get highlighted, but just as often I talk to creators whose work I just love, am inspired by and who I want to give a boost to, even if they have no recent publishing news. I’ve found that thru lifting others up, I lift my own spirits, too.

I’m so curious about your blog now, Jane. I know I’ll be following along and hopefully many Kid Lit Village readers will as well. For myself, I’d say I’ve learned a lot from interviewing writers and illustrators and I love helping shine a light on all the lovely books out there!

Q: What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

A: More than anything, I hope Miss Meow’s readers have FUN! I hope they laugh in surprise, giggle and are inspired to dress-up as their favorite animals and characters and PLAY! I hope they include their parents and siblings and loved ones in their play, too. I hope that every time they read Miss Meow they see another little clue or fun new detail, and that they enjoy being detectives and solving the mystery of what happened to Miss Meow’s toy mouse. I hope this a story that finds its way into their hearts and makes them HAPPY!

I love, love, love how books can inspire children’s play and it sounds like yours will do exactly that! Congratulations!

Read the Kirkus Review here!

You can connect with Jane on her website or Twitter

Twitter: @SuperJaneArtist

Did you know, I’ve written a couple of books too?

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

I hope you’ll stop by next week for the another interview! You’re welcome any time.

Kid Lit Village Review: TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE

Dear Kid Lit Village blog readers,

I’m glad you’re here! I hope Friday is treating you well. Time for my next picture book review. Today, I’m featuring TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE by Gabi Snyder and Robin Rosenthal.

Plenty of action in this story, which will have mass appeal for pet lovers. Counting, transportation and adorable pets all rolled into one big adventure for little ones.

Author of Two Children’s Books

Hello Readers,

I’m back from a summer blog break! It’s sometimes hard for me to believe but I’m now the author of two children’s books, KATIE SHAEFFER, PANCAKE MAKER and THE LULLABY MONSTERS. Huge thanks to Paula Nasmith, who did the illustration work and collaborated with me on both books. I love her pink dragon and the cookie loving monsters.

What did I do to celebrate the publication of these books, you might ask? Honestly, not enough. I had ideas for book launches but life got in the way, I guess. And with the second book, THE LULLABY MONSTERS, a pandemic got in the way too.

Just in case you’re not familiar with these books, my KATIE book has a fun repeated refrain that gets kids involved and is great to read aloud. It’s also a book about friendship. It has a pancake recipe in the back so make sure you have the ingredients on hand before you start reading the book so you can go straight into pancake-making afterwards. If you’re reading this at bedtime, you can always promise pancakes for the next morning.

THE LULLABY MONSTERS is an early chapter book so you can read a couple of short chapters at a time to draw out the suspense or read it all at once. It’s great for a new reader who is developing confidence to a younger sibling. A celebration of sibling relationships and bedtime routines, this book’s monsters are adorable and surprisingly, they have fears too! If you’d like a recipe for the monster cookies, it’s posted here. If your child loves magic, teddy bears, picnics, and dragons, this book has it all!

I love to hear from readers so do let me know if you’ve enjoyed these books! Send a photo of your child enjoying the book and I’d be happy to share it here on the blog.

Or send me a photo of MONSTER COOKIES or KATIE’S PERFECT PANCAKES. I’d love to see you and your children baking together!

You can subscribe to my newsletter for more information on my books, news, and other information about Kid Lit Village. I only send one out a few times a year and I despise spam, so I can promise you won’t be inundated with mail.

Stop by soon and check out my upcoming author/illustrator interviews as well as book reviews and Wednesday inspiration! Visit any time. Have a wonderful week.


Hello Readers and welcome to Kid Lit Village, where authors and illustrators of picture books get interviewed about their newly released picture books. This week we feature T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES by Anna Lazowski and Steph Laberis. The book is published by Penguin Random House. As you may know, I am from Victoria, B.C. and so it is always a pleasure for me to feature a fellow Canadian author. Anna is from Winnipeg, Manitoba.


A funny and encouraging alphabetic book about all the things animals CAN’T do but kids CAN! Every parent teaching their children new skills will be happy to have this super-positive picture book on hand. Bees can’t ride bicycles, penguins can’t play ping-pong, and zebras can’t go zip-lining.

Hi Anna, welcome to the Kid Lit Village blog! Thanks for doing the interview. Let’s start by talking about your book, T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I hope it will be fun for them to read, and be one kids want to return to. Illustrator Steph Laberis did such an incredible job with the images in the book, I was floored when I saw the final, colored proofs. I hope the text and pictures will open up discussion for kids as they learn about what animals can and can’t do, and will encourage them to cut themselves some slack the next time they try to tackle a difficult task. Everything has a learning curve and we need to give kids room to make mistakes and keep trying. I think there’s a good lesson in here for parents too. I would have found a book like this very helpful when my kids were little, so I’m thrilled it’s going to be on the shelves.  

I love the way this book can help children to manage feelings around difficult tasks. There’s so much children are learning!

Tell us how you build yourself up in the face of rejection.

One of the things that I never thought about at the beginning of my publishing journey, was the next level of rejection that comes when your work starts subbing to editors. I, probably like a lot of other writers, was so focused on querying agents, I assumed once I jumped that hurdle it would get easier. That was WRONG! The first fiction book I took out on submission with my agent didn’t sell, and the first PB bio that went out missed being first to market by a few months (that was a heartbreaker because it was incredibly well-received). But, instead of dwelling on the rejections, I like to think about the fact that the best editors in the world have read my work! So even if they choose not to acquire it, when the best people in the business are looking at your manuscripts, that’s a pretty incredible feeling. And the usual advice of “write something new” holds true for me. I tend to get very excited by new pieces, so since manuscripts can be out on submission for months with no word, it’s very helpful to have a new story that you’re working on, getting critiqued and revising. I find distractions to be very useful instead of just waiting for the next rejection – because in this business there’s always another one headed your way.  

I love the idea that instead of waiting for an answer on a project you can distract yourself by working on the next one!

Do you have any tips for querying editors and agents?

Yes, don’t stop! The people who have signed with agents and published books are the ones who found the will to keep going despite having to face rejection after rejection. My debut, T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES, was rejected by every agent and small publisher I sent it to with no personalized feedback. Since it was my first book, I (mistakenly) thought that meant it wasn’t good enough or that no one wanted alphabet books anymore. If Frances Gilbert at Doubleday hadn’t plucked it out of the #PBPitch Twitter feed in June of 2019, I’m not sure I would have queried it anymore. Even though I loved it, I thought those early passes meant it wasn’t going to sell and I should just move on. I have since learned how important luck and timing are in the world of publishing. Things can change very suddenly and if you’re not out there with your work, it’ll change for someone else. 

That’s great advice, Anna. Glad you didn’t stop and that your book is out there for readers to enjoy!

Connect with Anna here…

Twitter link:

Penguin page:


This book opens with a relatable spread showing a child trying pull on a sweater and another trying to reach a high shelf. The opening rhyme is catchy. And then the hilarious things each animal attempts to do will have children laughing. Yaks can’t throw yo-yos. What a fun way to realize that struggling with learning things is a universal problem. The ending spread shows that there are many things animals can do and the back matter has a lot of interesting facts. Did you know elephants make their own sunscreen? Fascinating! This new twist on the alphabet book will be fun for parents and children to enjoy together.

Readers: Thanks for stopping by Kid Lit Village blog; I hope you’ll be back next week to discover another new book release from the amazing Kid Lit Community! Enjoy last week’s interview here!

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

Kid Lit Village Review: ALIEN TOMATO

Dear Blog readers,

Thanks for stopping by the blog; I’m happy you’re here! It’s Friday, so time for another children’s book review. Today, I’m featuring ALIEN TOMATO by Kristen Schroeder and Mette Engell.

When a strange round red object lands in the garden, the vegetables wonder what it could be. All except gopher believe it has to be an alien tomato. Lots of humour in this story. Is it a red bouncy ball or is it actually Allie the alien? The suspense will keep readers turning pages.

4 stars

Do you have a favourite book about gardening or vegetables? Please share in the comments!

Have a wonderful day. Come back to the blog any time.