Kid Lit Love: SOAKED!

I’m thrilled to feature Abi Cushman’s new book, SOAKED! here on Kid Lit Love! Thank you for sharing your book with us, Abi! Published by Viking Children’s Books, SOAKED was just released July 14, 2020. Congratulations, Abi!

SOAKED by Abi Cushman

Synopsis

A Hula-Hooping moose, a badger with a bumblebee umbrella, a bunny in a cashmere sweater, and a very wet bear star in this unpredictable and laugh-out-loud picture book in which having fun gets the best of a grumpy bear.

It looks like a wet and dreary day for Bear and his trio of friends. How could he possibly have fun when he is soaked? But Badger, Bunny, and Moose don’t seem to mind. In fact, Moose can still hula hoop! And it looks like so much fun. Might Bear like to try?

Here is a story that shows that fun is not dependent on sunshine and blue skies. In fact, it might be more fun to be soaked!

Pub Date:​ July 14, 2020
Pages:​ 40 pages
Publisher:​ Viking Children’s Books | An imprint of Penguin Random House ISBN:​ 978-1984836625

Author, Abi Cushman

Abi took the time to share a little about her experience as a children’s writer and I’m so happy for the opportunity to give you the inside scoop on Abi’s experience as a children’s writer.

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

I’ve always been interested in illustrating picture books. In fact, I took a few illustration courses in college. But I never thought of myself as a particularly creative writer. That changed in 2015, when I was reminded how much I loved picture books after reading a ton of them with my new baby. And then, in a sleep-deprived New Mom moment, I had an idea of my own for a book. So I decided to make a go of it. I wrote the words and created a dummy and went to my very first SCBWI critique group meeting. Since then, it’s been so much fun writing stories I think my kids would love or ones that I would have loved when I was a kid.

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book or how you came up with the idea.

It was a hot summer afternoon in 2017, and I was out for a walk with my husband and daughter. We were about a mile away from home when we felt the first few drops. The drops quickly escalated into a torrential rainstorm. Normally, we all would have just started booking it for the house, but I was eight months pregnant at the time, and my movement was down to a slow waddle. So I told my husband to run home with our daughter, and I’d meet them later. And what I realized on my soggy walk home was that once I was completely soaked, the rain was actually quite pleasant. Refreshing even! So I thought it would be interesting in a picture book to play around with the idea of your attitude changing despite the circumstances staying the same. And I thought it would be so much fun to show a character completely embracing the rain and splashing around in pure joy.

3. Please share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

The simplest thing you can do to figure out how to write books well is to go to the library and read a bunch of new books and analyze them. For picture books, look for the main problem (what does the character want), what sets off the story, what escalates the tension in the story, and how is the problem resolved. And finally, what makes the book special? What gives it heart? After doing this many times, you’ll have a great foundation for how to structure your own stories, and you’ll get a sense of the kinds of books being published today.

Thanks, Abi. I love your rain storm story from 2017. It’s funny because that same summer, our family got stuck in a rain storm while in Florida. We were NOT dressed for rain. While I wasn’t pregnant, I was wearing really slippery shoes so I was the only one moving slowly because I didn’t want to fall. I really was SOAKED but I never laughed so hard!

You can connect with Abi here:

Abi’s Instagram

Twitter: @AbiCushman

Thanks for the interview, Abi and congratulations on your new release!

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 related to my upcoming picture book.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! You are welcome any time.

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!

Two Days Until Book Release: The Lullaby Monsters

Hi Guys! Only two more days until the book birthday for THE LULLABY MONSTERS! Yay! And that’s when the giveaway starts so be sure to come back for a chance to win. I hope you’ve been enjoying meeting all the characters and getting a sneak peek into their world.

Meet Thomas!

  • Name: Thomas (means twin)
  • Age: 5 years
  • Birthplace: Fern-wood
  • Hobby: Teddy Bear collector
  • Greatest Fears: Monsters and stormy nights
  • Favorite Food: Jelly Sandwiches
  • Favorite Lullaby: Goodnight Thomas (the one Kelsey sings every night)

We’ve been meeting 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.

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THE LULLABY MONSTERS

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

Thanks for stopping by! You are welcome here any time. I hope you’ll join me Mondays for my Kid Lit Love series where I feature new release children’s book from fellow authors and illustrators. There are some great books coming out this year!

Kid Lit Love: Benjamin’s Blue Feet

Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series where new release picture books are featured on Mondays! I’m excited to have Sue Macartney as today’s featured author. Her debut picture book, Benjamin’s Blue Feet, published by Pajama Press, will be released June 16th, 2020

This is a special post for me because Sue and I are critique partners. We first met through Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, discovering that we live in the same city! Now we meet regularly as part of Vancouver Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators, our local SCBWI chapter. I had the pleasure of reading and critiquing an earlier draft of Benjamin’s Blue Feet so it is a thrill to see it come through to publication.

Benjamin’s Blue Feet by Sue Macartney

Synopsis: Benjamin the blue-footed booby is coming of age in his flock’s world of flying, diving, swimming, and fishing. But he already has a unique gift: treasure-hunting. One day, after finding a mirror, Benjamin becomes convinced that his beak is too long, his wings are too wide, and his feet are too big and blue. He decides to use his treasures to change himself. But without his beak, wings, and feet, is he even a blue-footed booby anymore?

Author/Illustrator, Sue Macartney

Welcome, Sue, to Kid Lit Love. It is a pleasure to connect and get a behind the scenes peek at writing for children from your unique perspective.

1. Tell us why you came to write books for children.

Thinking about the “why” of how I came to write books for children takes me back to my childhood experiences.

My family traveled extensively overseas when I was young.  We didn’t have a television but we always had books – early on reading and drawing became my favourite go-to activities. I treasured my little “library” of books even the ones I had outgrown and they came with me to each new home. The magical feeling of being transported to other worlds through the images and text of these early stories has stayed with me.  Being able to revisit and share this feeling with children through my own work is what motivates me to write.

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book or how you came up with the idea.

I’ve been playing with the idea underlying Benjamin’s Blue Feet for a while now. Two years ago when I was doing my daily, January “Story Storm” challenge I finally hit on the version that felt right – a little shout out here for the wonderful Tara Lazar! Ultimately, many things lead to that “Aha” moment for me – inspiring blog advice, takeaways from good writing classes and conferences… and that elusive pixie dust that eventually brings everything together in your brain at the right time!

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

Hang onto your passion and determination! There are a multitude of tools to help you on this journey – online blogs, writing classes, professional associations, conferences, critique groups – deep breath, take the plunge and find the mix that works for you.

You can connect with Sue Macartney through social media in the following ways:

Website: www.suemacartney.com

Twitter: @suesumac

In a couple of weeks, I will be doing a blog giveaway, with children’s book prizes including Sue’s lovely book so be sure to check back at the end of the month and find out how to enter!

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 related to my upcoming picture book.

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

Goodreads Mistake Fixed!

Hello to my 2.5 readers! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Back in January, in an eager attempt to get my book out there early, I created the Goodreads posting for my new early chapter book, THE LULLABY MONSTERS, releasing on June 30, 2020.

I didn’t have the cover file completed yet, so I naively figured I would just put this cute little bookmark there as a place holder. Bad idea.

Book mark image

I thought it would automatically crop to book cover size but….no! In fact, it looked incredibly silly because it was labelled as a book, but clearly, not the correct shape.

I scrambled to delete it, but found there was no possibly way to do such a thing. After some poking around the Goodreads website, I discovered that only librarians can make edits like this so I was in trouble.

I sent an email to the librarians, requesting the image be deleted. It was not a simple process. First, I had to upload the correct cover image. I didn’t have that completed for some time, so I had to wait and in the meantime, my book stayed there looking silly.

Finally, I had the cover image ready so I uploaded it with instructions for the librarians to replace the old cover image. Nothing happened.

After some further emails back and forth, I learned that my next step was to create an alternate edition. This worked, only the original edition remained there on Goodreads, like a sore thumb with the alternate edition only visible by clicking below.

My next step was to combine the editions into one. That was a bit of a complex process and I would advise you look for the directions on Goodreads and follow the instructions very carefully. When I first tried to combine the editions, it seemed as if my book had completely disappeared from Goodreads. I couldn’t search it anywhere!

And then, I tried to create a new book with the proper cover, but it wouldn’t allow me to link the ISBN, because apparently it had already been used! I panicked, thinking I didn’t want my book to be unsearchable and temporarily gave up. Back to the my problem in a moment…

Here’s a bunch of the books I’m excited about that have released or are about to release this year!

Now back to my Goodreads problem!

I had to do something, so I looked for other book websites comparable to Goodreads. I found The Library Thing, which I quite liked, and set up the book there which made me feel a little better. And it was easy to import my Goodreads library there so hooray for that!

After more thought, I figured it would be better to have my book on Goodreads without an ISBN than not there at all so I created a new book for myself, leaving the ISBN blank. Imagine my surprise the next time I opened Goodreads to discover my new book there WITH the ISBN attached and a review (that I thought was lost) along with the people who had added it to their to-read list! Whew!

So now, when you search for THE LULLABY MONSTERS on Goodreads, you WILL find it with the proper cover that you see below. I love Paula’s starry night sky, don’t you?

I hope you enjoyed the inside scoop on the life of an indie author and some of the behind-the-scenes things we do to get our books out there!

If you have a minute, I’d sure love it if you added my book(s) to your Goodreads to-read list!

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

Thanks for stopping by; you are welcome any time!

Kid Lit Love: A Doll for Grandma


Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series, celebrating new picture book releases every Monday! Today’s new release is by Paulette Sharkey, illustrated by Samantha Woo, titled A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. I’m excited to showcase this book because my life has been personally touched by family members with Alzheimer’s disease. As a preschool teacher, I’ve had parents or grandparents ask me about how to explain this to young children and I’ve always felt picture books are one of the most natural ways to do so.

Synopsis

My debut picture book, A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, is coming May 5th from Beaming Books, illustrated by Samantha Woo.

A little girl and her grandmother always find ways to have fun together. Then Kiera notices that Grandma is changing: leaving keys in the refrigerator, knitting hats too small to fit anyone’s head. When Grandma moves into a memory-care home, Kiera finds a new way to sustain their close relationship. She embraces the altered reality inside Grandma’s mind and gives Grandma a doll. Now they can take care of their “babies” together. This is a story about empathy and kindness and the special bond between grandparent and grandchild. It’s about loving and accepting people as they are, even when they change.

author, Paulette Sharkey

Bio

Paulette Bochnig Sharkey worked for many years as a librarian, first in her home state of Michigan, and later in Australia, Nevada, and Wisconsin. She has also been a proofreader, ghostwriter, developmental editor, recipe indexer, and transcriber of children’s books from print into braille. A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (Beaming Books, May 2020) is her first picture book.

Interview

It was a pleasure to connect with Paulette through social media. She took the time to answer questions and share some advice.

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

I started writing nonfiction articles for children’s magazines in the late 1980s and sold quite a few to places like Highlights, Cricket, Spider, and Ladybug. But I really wanted to write a picture book, a genre I’ve loved since my daughter was little and we read stacks of them every bedtime. It took me until 2017 to realize that goal, when I signed up for a Writer’s Digest course on picture-book writing and drafted A DOLL FOR GRANDMA. Many revisions later, I sold the book!

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book or how you came up with the idea.

Around the time I retired from my job as a reference librarian, about 15 years ago, I read that musical memories are held in a part of the brain often left undamaged by Alzheimer’s disease. I’m also a pianist, so I started visiting memory-care homes to play the piano for the residents. It was fascinating to see how they responded to the music. Even those who could no longer recognize family or friends could recognize old familiar songs, especially the World War II–era songs of their youth. Even those who could no longer speak could often sing along. My inspiration for writing A DOLL FOR GRANDMA came from these experiences as a volunteer pianist. I enjoyed including a scene in the book where the “piano lady” comes to play—that’s what many of my elderly audience members call me.

3. Please share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

One thing I’ve learned on my way to getting published is that it’s impossible to predict the twists and turns in the road. I certainly never expected that my debut book would be released during a coronavirus pandemic. All we can do is try our best to stay focused on our work and trust that our words will find a way to the children we’re writing for.

To order: paulettesharkey.com/books/

website: PauletteSharkey.com

twitter: @PBSharkey

Thank you 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.

Kid Lit Love: National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series, celebrating new picture book releases every Monday! Today’s new release is by Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos, titled NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY from Penguin Workshop. This celebratory book will be available June 23, 2020.

NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY by Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos


Synopsis: Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun–he’ll celebrate a different holiday each day! He even rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn’t a holiday, he realizes he’ll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own! That’s easier said than done, though, and nothing seems to go right–until Peter realizes that even a regular, average, ordinary day can be something worth celebrating.

Lisa Katzenberger

I had the pleasure of connecting with Lisa through social media and I asked her a few questions about her experience as a writer. We realized that both of us have done the 12×12 Picture Book challenge and loved that experience. Here’s Lisa’s interview:

1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.
I have always loved books and wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, taking creative writing courses in school any chance I could and studying journalism. I even landed a job after college as a writer — albeit a technical writer. As an adult, I kept writing on the side, focusing on short stories at first and then a few novels. It wasn’t until I had kids that I remembered the joy of books for children. Reading piles of picture books, I finally knew where I fit in!


2. Tell us how you came up with the idea for your book.
I used to work as a Social Media Manager and we began writing content around national holidays like International Women’s Day. Then I started to notice all the fun national holidays became popular on social media — like National Waffle Day. I wondered how a child might celebrate these different holidays and the story grew from there! 


3. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
My really basic, no-frills advice is to just keep writing. This week I was looking back on some of the picture books I wrote when I was starting out 5 years ago. Stories that I queried with, stories that went out on submission to editors but never sold, stories that I thought were good. Looking back, they were fine stories but they are not as strong as the stories I am writing today. What if I had given up when the first book I went out on sub with didn’t sell? I would have completely lost the opportunity to grow and hone my craft. I would have lost book deals. I would have lost my dream. But even in the face of rejection and frustration (which I still face today), I just kept writing. Keep writing everyone!

You can connect with Lisa here…

Website link: www.lisakatzenberger.com

Twitter link: www.twitter.com/fictioncity

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!

Kid Lit Love: Bedtime, Daddy!

I am thrilled to be returning to my Kid Lit Love series featuring picture books from members of the Kid Lit Community! Today’s book, to be released in May 2020, is titled BEDTIME, DADDY! by Sharon Giltrow, illustrated by Katrin Dreiling, published by EK Books.

BEDTIME, DADDY! by Sharon Giltrow and Katrin Dreiling

SYNOPSIS

Putting Daddy to bed can be hard work. Especially when he starts crying! This story will show you how to wrestle your daddy into his pajamas and read just one more bedtime story. “I’m thirrrrrrrrssssssty,” says Daddy. “I need to poop … I’m hungry … But I’ll miss you,” he says, while he looks at you with cutie eyes. You’ll have to battle the bedtime excuses and use go-away monster spray until Daddy finally goes to sleep. Bedtime can be a mission for many, but with these gorgeous illustrations of a little bear and his dad, this is the perfect role-reversal bedtime story to help put any fussy child to bed in a fun and positive way. Full of heart and humour, Bedtime, Daddy! is for anyone who wants to try and put a grown-up to bed.

Sharon Giltrow

Bio

Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, WA with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. When not participating in writing challenges and writing, Sharon teaches with children with Developmental Language Disorder. Sharon was awarded the Paper Bird Fellowship in 2019. Her debut PB Bedtime Daddy, is due to be released May 12th 2020 through EK books.

For those homeschooling their children, you can download Sharon’s Teacher Guide to accompany the book here.

It was a pleasure to connect with Sharon through twitter! She took the time to answer a few questions, giving us a behind the scenes view of BEDTIME, DADDY and writing for children in general. And her list of facebook groups is so valuable for children’s writers.

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

I loved reading and writing as a child and even had my own personal library set up in my bedroom with library cards and all. Also, from a young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Now as a teacher what I love most is to read books to children. Writing my own picture book seemed to be the logical next step. So, I started writing picture books back in 2006 when my first child was born. It has taken fourteen years for my first picture BEDTIME DADDY to be released.

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book.

My picture book BEDTIME DADDY is based on real life events. Well mostly 😊. The inspiration behind BEDTIME DADDY is my children and their daddy. One night when my husband was putting our son to bed, I thought that I would love for someone to put me to bed, especially at 7 o’clock. Cue lightbulb moment! How about a book where the child puts the parent to bed? Then I researched or mostly remembered all the steps it takes to put someone to bed.  The protests, the stalling, the distractions, the excuses, the monsters but as well as all the sweetness and fun of bedtime. A sprinkle of humour and BEDTIME DADDY was born.

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

My advice for children’s writers would be to find your writing community. Join the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Join writing groups. Find critique groups. Surround yourself with other writers. Having a supportive group of fellow writers is essential. Here are some great Facebook groups you can join:

Also read as many picture books as you can. It is a great way to learn the craft of writing picture books.

Connect with Sharon Giltrow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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

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

Kid Lit Love: Little Mole Finds Hope

I am thrilled to feature Little Mole Finds Hope written by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sally Garland, on the Kid Lit Love Blog Series today! Little Mole Finds Hope is published by Beaming Books and comes out in a year (2020) where hope is exactly what the world needs.

Little Mole Finds Hope by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Sally Garland

Synopsis: When Little Mole is feeling sad in his dark, underground home, his mother shows him how to look for hope. He finds that signs of spring are everywhere, from the daffodil bulbs under the soil to the tiny buds on the branches above. Hope can be found–even in the darkest places. 

Author, Glenys Nellist

Today we welcome Glenys Nellist to the Kid Lit Love Blog Series!

1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.
Originally a primary school teacher in England, it wasn’t until I relocated to the USA in 2000 to become a Children’s Ministry Director in a small church that I began to explore writing for children in a serious way. In my position at that church, I began writing my own curriculum, which included retelling Bible stories. Then one day, I picked up The Jesus StoryBook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones. I read it, cover to cover, and immediately knew that I wanted to write like her. It was the inspiration I needed to write my first book, published in 2014 by Zonderkidz. It was called Love Letters from God and it quickly turned into a series of its own.


2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book.
Little Mole Finds Hope was inspired by one of the letters from God that I penned in that first book, Love Letters from God. In the letter, I was exploring the idea that hope lives in darkness: a baby is born from the darkness of the womb; a butterfly emerges from the darkness of the cocoon, and daffodil bulbs spring forth from deepest, darkest earth. I knew, then, that I wanted to write a story of hope that would encompass this truth, and Little Mole Finds Hope was born.


3. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
When I was writing that first book (Love Letters from God) I became discouraged and gave up half-way though. I put the manuscript on the shelf, where it sat for over a year. If it hadn’t been for my husband, who encouraged me, I would never have picked it up and finished it. And without that first book, I would never have written twenty more. I often think about all those half-written manuscripts, lying on dusty shelves in hope-robbed rooms. So, my advice to all children’s writers and aspiring authors would be.. don’t give up!  

Thank you, Glenys, for sharing your lovely new book with us today! Please find links below to learn more about Glenys and her books.

Peek Inside Little Mole Finds Hope
Author Website Facebook
Twitter Instagram

For more new picture book releases, both fiction and non-fiction, stop by the blog on Mondays!

Sign up for my newsletter and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers for my picture books, including my 2020 release, The Lullaby Monsters.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You are welcome back any time!