Welcome Author Kimberlee Gard – Giveaway Alert

I’m excited to feature another local author who I have been lucky enough to be with at some in person events. Kimberlee Gard is the author of SNOOZAPALOOZA , illustrated by Vivian Mineker which might be the most fun title ever and definitely made my favorite two year old and me giggle. Kimberlee also has a series called Learning is Fun that includes picture books perfect for children learning how letters, sounds, and punctuation work. All of which are fabulous for teachers and parents who want to encourage their children to read in a fun way.

Kimberlee is offering one luck winner a copy of called SNOOZAPALOOZA, the story of a little mouse who finds the perfect place to nap, only to be joined by a variety of forest friends. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I struggled with a learning disorder as a child and was taken out of class every day to have special instruction. I didn’t learn how to read until I was ten. However, I always loved opening books and making up my own stories to go along with the pictures. When my own children began showing signs of dyslexia, I began to create stories for them to help them learn the alphabet and letter sounds and it is my goal now to create books that inspire even the most reluctant readers.

What inspires you?

I am a big believer that a writer is first a reader. I love to read other books in the genres that I am writing, I am always inspired and gather new ideas. Also spending time in nature, giving myself permission to slow down so that the thoughts can come helps to put me in a creative mindset. When I am working on a project, I often take long walks or go for drives down country roads to feel inspired.

What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your books?

I hope that readers find joy in my stories and that they inspire children to read and learn and grow.

What’s next for you?

I had two books release during the pandemic, SNOOZAPALOOZA and THE MIGHTY SILENT e. It was very challenging to share with so much else going on in the world, so this year I hope to celebrate their book birthdays and connect with readers who haven’t seen them yet. I also have another book coming out next year called, RED ROVER RED ROVER SEND ANOTHER VOWEL OVER, this will be the fourth book in the Learning is Fun series.

To connect with Kimberlee and learn more about her books:

WEBSITE Kimberleegard.com/

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/kimberleegard/

INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/kimberlee.gard/. TWITTER @Kimberlee_Gard

Winner Announcement 8/16/21

Congratulations to Lauren Kerstein, winner of the picture book critique from the amazing Tara Lazar! This is truly a coveted prize; so many comments on the interview post. If you didn’t win, please comment on the other open giveaways from Lindsay Leslie, Becky Scharnhorst, Sylvia Liu, and tomorrow’s interview will be with Kimberlee Gard.

Tara’s latest book, BLOOP, illustrated by Mike Boldt has generated game at my house where we call out space alien names to see if Charlie will answer to one. So far he hasn’t responded, but the game remains a source of entertainment.

Welcome Author Sylvia Liu – Giveaway Alert

Today I am excited to share my interview with Sylvia Liu who I met at a writing conference in 2018, back when in the good old days when in-person events were the norm and we never could have imagined anything else. Before that, I knew Sylvia as one of the co-founders of KidLit411 which helps promote authors, illustrators, and shares important information regarding publishing. I highly recommend as a writing resource if you aren’t already a subscriber to the weekly newsletter and a member of the Facebook group. Sylvia’s new MG book, MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND, with cover art by Scott Dorman and design by Stephanie Yang, swam into the word last week! I am a big fan of cows and as a child, I was informed that manatees are also called sea cows, so of course, I love them too and cannot wait to read Sylvia’s book!

Sylvia is offering one very lucky winner (US Only) a signed copy of MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND and a bookmark. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

When I was 10 to 12 years old, I was a quintessential bookworm. I loved reading fantasies and mysteries. I don’t have a photo of myself as a child at that age, but here’s one of my teen reading my book!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by nature, especially the ocean; my family; and by other authors. Whenever I read books that move or thrill me, I find myself trying to figure out how they did that. So many amazing middle grade debut books have come out the last year and a half: THE VERDIGRIS PAWN (Alysa Wishingrad), A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON (Kate Albus), JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA (Shakirah Bourne), CECE RIOS AND THE DESERT OF SOULS (Kaela Rivera), LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE (Donna Barbra Higuera), ALONE (Megan Freeman), THE LAST SHADOW WARRIOR (Sam Subity), TAKE BACK THE BLOCK (Chrystal Giles), CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE (Christina Li), GLITTER GETS EVERYWHERE (Yvette Clark), EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH (Julie Abe), STAND UP YUMI CHUNG (Jessica Kim), THE GILDED GIRL (Alyssa Colman), COO (Kaela Noel), PAWS (Kate Foster), THE CIRCUS OF STOLEN DREAMS (Lorelei Savaryn), and THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ (Adrianna Cuevas). I could go on and on! 

What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?

My middle grade book, MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND , just came out from Scholastic on August 3. It’s the story of a 12-year-old girl who overcomes shyness to find her voice to protect manatees in her Florida community. I would love readers to feel empowered to advocate for causes they believe in around their communities. If the book sparks an interest in manatees or dolphins, or ocean conservation, that would be wonderful.

What’s next for you?

I’m very excited about my middle grade science fiction novel, HANA HSU AND THE GHOST CRAB NATION, coming out in June 2022 from Razorbill, set in a high-tech near future. I’m also working on a new middle grade fantasy novel and continuing to help run the kid lit resource website, Kidlit411.

You can learn more about Sylvia and her books by visiting:

Twitter: @artsylliu. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SylviaLiuAuthor

Instagram: @sylliu. Website: http://www.enjoyingplanetearth.com

Winner Announcement 8/9/2021

Congratulations Fleur Bradley winner of a prize that is 65 million years in the making: JACK HORNER, DINOSAUR HUNTER! from author Sophia Gholz and illustrated by Dave Shephard.

Books by Sophia Gholz

Don’t miss other open giveaways from authors Tara Lazar, Lindsay Leslie, and Becky Scharnhorst. And stop by tomorrow for my interview with Sylvia Liu.

Nature Reflection

Clouds at altitude

nestle on the peaks, bring much needed rain

only to be outdone by the sun with her final appearance of the day

bringing alpenglow and the magic of rainbows.

Welcome Author Becky Scharnhorst – Giveaway Alert

Today I welcome Becky Scharnhorst, another wonderfully funny picture book author. Her debut, MY SCHOOL STINKS, illustrated by Julia Patton caught my attention from its delightful title and I am sure you will find it as funny as I did! Becky has generously offered one lucky winner a copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS and some fun book swag! Comment on the post to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I was happy, playful, and a little bit reckless. At the age of three, I jumped off the diving board into the deep end of the pool during my swimming lessons. The only problem was my teacher wasn’t watching! I also got a concussion after darting in front of the batter during a family game of baseball, and I still have a scar on my nose from running into a wall. I had a lot of energy and loved playing outside with my sisters. I spent a big chunk of my childhood playing in lakes, catching frogs, and fishing with my dad. I also LOVED sweets! My dad said I would steal cookies and hide under the table eating them. After I finished, I would come out with crumbs all over my face and ask if I could have a cookie. Clearly, I couldn’t risk my parents saying no, so I always ate a few first.

What inspires you?

I’m often inspired by something funny my kids say or do, but I can find inspiration anywhere if I’m paying attention. I think the biggest roadblock to inspiration and creativity is busyness. When I’m rushing through life focusing only on crossing items off my to-do list, I struggle to find inspiration anywhere. But if I take time to read an interesting article, explore nature, or let my mind wander, ideas start to swirl. MY SCHOOL STINKS was inspired by my own anxiety and the wildlife at the camp where we lived. My third book was inspired by a school project my son did on octopuses. I even wrote a manuscript inspired by a math problem written by a 5th grader at the school where I worked. You never know what will lead to your next idea. 

What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Mostly I just want kids to enjoy the story and hopefully laugh! But also, I hope they realize things are not usually as scary as we imagine them to be. I remember that anxious feeling I had before the start of every school year, but by the end of the first day, it was gone. None of the things I worried about ever happened. Fear has a sneaky way of planting doubts and anxious thoughts inside of us. But if we face our fears, good things can come out of almost any situation. You might even make some unexpected friendships along the way.

What’s next for you?

I have two more books coming out in the next couple years. THIS FIELD TRIP STINKS is a sequel to my debut, and it comes out in 2022. HOW TO GET YOUR OCTOPUS TO SCHOOL is another humorous picture book that comes out in 2023. Both are being published by Flamingo Books which is a new imprint of Penguin Random House. I also have another picture book currently out on submission.  

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today, Laura!

You’re going to want to learn more about Becky’s books:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckyscharn. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beckyscharn/

Website: https://beckyscharnhorst.com/

Winner Announcement 8/2/21

Congratulations to Jolene Gutiérrez winner of the double giveaway from Michelle Vattula and Candace Marley Connor! You’ll be getting THE STALKING SEAGULLS, by Michelle Vattula with art by TL Derby and Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tale, by Candace Marley Connor and illustrated by Heath Gray: two beautiful books from Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing in a dyslexia-friendly font!

The Stalking Seagulls by Michelle Vattula with art by TL Derby
Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail by Candice Marley Conner illustrated by Heath Gray

Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to visit my other author interviews with giveaways still available from Sophia Gholz, Tara Lazar, and Lindsay Leslie. Come back tomorrow for my interview with Becky Scharnhorst and another fabulous giveaway!

Welcome Author Lindsay Leslie – Giveaway Alert

Today I am very excited to share my interview with Lindsay Leslie, author of SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY, illustrated by Aviel Basil which is coming out tomorrow! Do you love libraries? Me too, and I can’t wait to read this wonderful new book!

Lindsay is offering an amazing giveaway: a copy of SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY and a picture book critique! Comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

Little Lindsay no-swim, as I used to call myself, was at once nervous, shy, and wary of the world and yet outgoing, friendly, and determined. And those somewhat conflicting feelings created a young girl who slowly approached life step-by-step. I loved living in my imagination, playing pretend with my dolls, and playing dress-up with my friends. I equally loved catching toads, playing soccer, and getting rough and tumble. Reading was a go-to when I needed an escape from the world. I have vivid memories of snuggling up for a read at the Richardson Public Library and the library at my elementary school. And, I did learn how to swim and quickly became a fish, as well as a certified scuba diver when I was 10. Slow and steady wins the race.

What inspires you?

Really, what doesn’t inspire me? I’m an observer by nature. I think that’s why I’m slow to do things. I have to take it all in and process what I’m seeing and experiencing. I’m inspired by my childhood experiences, my children’s experiences, their friend’s experiences, and conversations I have with the kids. I’m inspired by messy rooms, ill-fitting clothes, the depths of space, and nightmares. Inspiration is floating through the air. I breathe it in daily and see what takes hold. 

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I will try to stick to one thing. For me, SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY, which releases on August 1, 2021 with Capstone (illustrated by Aviel Basil), celebrates the imagination, and what better vehicle to spur the imagination than books? I hope young readers are inspired to let their imaginations wander and play, and that they build their own cozy or wacky personal libraries and maybe fill it with books they create out of crayon and construction paper.

Lindsay’s picture books

What’s next for you?

What’s next? I’m working on it. I have a couple of picture books out on submission and am writing new ones all the time. I have a middle grade I’ve been toiling with for five years and my goal is to get it to my agent this year. I’ve got to rip off that band-aid! As for life, I’m loving every day I have with my family and loved ones. My youngest just graduated from elementary school, so another chapter has closed. Right now, I’m trying my best to live in the moment and enjoy what I’ve got. 

To learn more about Lindsay and her books:

Twitter @lleslie. Instagram @lindsaylesliewrites website at http://www.lindsayleslie.com

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