Kid Lit Love: In The Red Canoe

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a huge appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I love.  I’m going to stray a little from posting reviews of 12×12 members books to focus on another category: Canadian picture book writers and illustrators.  In the Red Canoe is written by Leslie A. Davidson and illustrated by Laura Bifano.  It is published by Orca Books.

If I had to describe the picture book, In The Red Canoe in just five words it would be…a celebration of lake life!


As a nature lover myself, I am always searching for picture books that focus on the natural world and its beauty.  This book does that while at the same time, appreciating the grandparent/grandchild relationship.  The rhyme and meter is very well done.  What a great opportunity for young children to pick up on the concept of rhyming words.  What I loved about the illustrations was the different perspectives as we have the opportunity to experience nature from many viewpoints.  The words were poetic and well chosen and the story flowed from one page to the next.  There’s no better way to end a summer day at the lake than with this story and a cup of hot chocolate.  As a Canadian who loves my time at the lake, I feel this book captured lake life beautifully and can recommend it as the ideal late afternoon/evening story for parents and grandparents to read while reflecting on a day at the lake.

I am happy to add this to my library.Remember_-7

Wednesday Writing Update


My summer plan for Wednesdays is to post weekly writing updates to keep myself accountable for writing every week.  If you’re a writer, you know how important it is to keep BIC (butt in chair).

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So what have I accomplished this week?

-revised a couple of drafts, including page breakdowns (next week I hope to make some book dummies)

-consulted with a psychologist on a sensitive issue in one of my works in progress

-met a fellow picture book writer in person after connecting first through 12×12

-completed a couple of online educational videos from storyteller’s academy

-watched a webinar on writing picture book biographies

-critiqued a fellow writer’s picture book manuscript

 I guess it has been a pretty good week 🙂



Sale: Katie Shaeffer


Hello Readers!

Just want to let you know, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker is now $5.00 off on That’s 35 percent off the retail price!  Being Canadian is a really good thing.

And by the way, Canada just celebrated its birthday…151 years young!

Happy Monday!

Welcome to Monday!  I know that Monday probably not your favourite day.  But, as I’ve learned, it is all in your attitude.

Every Monday I’m sharing a little story about myself.  You need to know that this is not an easy task for me as an introvert.  Today, I’d like to share a little story about tea.img_7756

I’m a tea drinker.  Black tea, green tea, rooibos tea, early grey, chai, chamomile, I like it all!  I still remember my first introduction to tea.  It was a little tea party held at a neighbour’s house.  I was somewhere around 8 years old.  There was a little table covered with a fancy cloth just for us kids. There was a cute little tea pot wrapped up in a tea cozy.  I took a sip of tea. It was strong.  So very strong.  I couldn’t help grimace at the first sip.  I added some sugar.  Took a sip.  More sugar.  Another sip.  More sugar.  Another sip.  Delicious! img_2516

Now I drink my tea with nothing added and find it equally delicious.  If I’m in the mood for something stronger, chai is my tea of choice.  When I want something good for me, green tea is my preference. A warm comforting  cup to start my day or any time of day is an essential part of my daily routine.  And when I’m writing?  A cup of tea is usually close at hand.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you’ll stop by again.  Why not enjoy a cup of tea while you’re reading. What’s in your mug this Monday?

Kid Lit Love: Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I love.  All the picture books I review in 2018 from this point forward will be the books of 12×12 members! Reality being what it is, life has gotten in the way of my goal but without further adieu, here is my featured picture book for June: Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann.  

If I had to describe Jennifer K. Mann’s picture book, Sam and Jump in just one word it would be…adorable!9780763679477

Sam and Jump tells the story of a little boy, Sam and his treasured stuffed bunny named Jump.  In very few words, the story accurately portrays the special relationship between a young child and his or her most favourite toy.  Jump is not just a toy, Jump is a friend and when Jump gets left behind, Sam has a very difficult night being separated from his beloved friend.  At the same time, the story features a new friendship Sam develops with another little boy.  The story is of kindness, of overcoming challenges, of friendship, inclusiveness, and just plain fun.  

I’m often looking for appropriate and yet interesting books to read to my 2-3 year olds that will still be interesting for the older 4 and 5 year olds in my preschool class.  This picture book fits the bill perfectly.  I find it to be a relatable story that all children can enjoy.  It holds their interest all the way through to a satisfying ending.

Published by Candlewick  May 10, 2016


Wednesday Writing Update

Hello and Welcome!

Thank you for stopping by.  My new plan for Wednesdays is to post weekly writing updates all summer.  Keeps me honest. Here goes…

  • I’ve just revised a picture book story and posted it for feedback.  This is probably about the 8th revision, but who’s counting?
  • I’m just now getting the art scanned for my next self published book which will be titled, The Lullaby Monsters.  I’d love to know what you think of the title.  IMG_3895

My hope is that next Wednesday, I’ll have a longer list as school just ended yesterday and I’ve got extra time to focus on writing.  Are you a writer?  I’d love to hear about your projects.  Are you a teacher?  I’d love to hear about what you do over the summer.

Happy Wednesday!

Happy Monday!

Welcome to Monday.  Are you ready for the week ahead?

Thanks for stopping by.  So for Mondays my challenge will be to help you get to know me a little bit.  Here are three things you might not know about me.

  1. I love a challenge.  Without challenge in my life, I stagnate.  With challenge, I thrive.   For the past two years, I’ve been part of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge I’ve challenged myself to learn classical piano and memorize really difficult pieces. What I like about a challenge is working towards a goal and actually completing the challenge.  I love both the work and the sense of satisfaction. How about you?  IMG_4502
  2. I am an introvert. I like quiet.  I like one to one conversations.  When I’m around a lot of people for long periods of time, it can wear me out.  That’s when I need to be alone to refocus and re-energize.  Still, I like people and would feel alone without social interaction.  Are you an introvert?
  3. I have a sweet tooth. When I get a sugar craving, I don’t discriminate.  I just need something sweet.  Anything will do.  Still, I have huge appreciation for high quality chocolate.  That stuff is simply amazing.

Well, that’s it for now.  (And I guess it wasn’t so difficult.)

Have a wonderful week!

Kid Lit Love: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I loved.  So January’s book is right here: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi.

There is something about walking through the woods that goes along with stories.  Like tea and crumpets, cookies and milk or peanut butter and jam.  Anyway, this gentle story has a few unexpected twists and turns that keep the pages turning.  The book can be enjoyed for its delightful surprises and re-read for its kid appeal.  Who wouldn’t want to attend a tea party in the woods?



Kikko, a likeable main character, wants to deliver a pie to her grandmother’s house.  It’s a simple idea, but when her father leaves in advance, all she has to go on are some footprints in the snow and a figure in the distance. The story has a dreamlike quality with an appreciation of bravery and independence.  The black and white illustrations with splashes of colour are delightful and different.  Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, it is full of fun, friendship, encouragement and whimsy.  A sure hit with little people and their significant adults! I’m happy to add this one to my library.

Appreciate what you’re reading here?  I’d be happy to have your twitter follows and facebook likes. Thanks and have a great day!





Kid Lit Love: Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day by Tara J. Hannon

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I love.  All the picture books I review in 2018 from this point forward will be the books of 12×12 members! So here is my featured picture book for March: Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day by Tara J. Hannon.  It is also important to note that Tara self-published this book, which is a journey all its own.  Congratulations, Tara!  I’d also like to note that Tara is one of my critique partners and I really value her input and writing expertise.

My preschool class and I thoroughly enjoyed Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day.  In this simple story, Rabbit and Lion go through their day together with each page featuring opposites such as bottom/top, near/far, open/closed.  The illustrations are adorable with changing scenes of Lion and Rabbit indoors and out.  They are friendly and playful characters that are very relatable for children.  This is a simple story but an important one to add to your collection as there are few children’s picture books on the market that feature opposites in such a fun and relatable way.  The end of the book has an opportunity to help rabbit remember some of the opposites he learned.  My class loved trying to come up with the opposites when the story was done and were pleased with their own success in remembering the words.


I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Tara a few questions.  Here’s my interview with Tara.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

For me, the best part of writing is creating and exploring worlds that only exist in my mind’s eye. There is nothing quite like sitting in a quiet room and letting my mind create something from an empty canvas. And very rarely there is a moment when something within those vast creations ‘clicks’ and an idea is born. That is the best.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Do the work. Research. Read. Study. Connect. Like any art, writing for children requires practice and knowledge. Sign up for the webinars, buy the books, find a critique group. Go whole hog and let yourself dive into it. You will never look back. Honestly, it took me a while to realize this. Once I did, my work improved tremendously.

Where does your inspiration come from?

The five year old that lives inside of my head. (haha) But really, she is still in there somewhere and I am always trying to see things the way she would.

Why do you write for children?

There are so many reasons. But if I had to pick one, I’d say its because they see things we adults can’t. Their imaginations are enviable and it is an honor to contribute to that magic… And I want them to think I’m cool.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Friends don’t steal pancakes. Oh, and that everyone is different. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Befriend it. 😉

Want to find out more about Tara’s book? Check out the Amazon reviews here.