Maryann Cocca-Leffler – Will Write for Cookies


Plate of Cookies






When one door closes, another opens. I left behind many wonderful kid lit friends when I moved away from Colorado Springs two years ago. But there are people who love picture books all over the world! Connecting with Maryann is proof of that. Can you believe she lives just down the road from me in the quaint little New England village of Amherst, NH hubby and I moved to?

Maryann grew up in the Boston area and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she received a BFA in Illustration. Her very first book, Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ written by Eileen Spinelli, was published in 1982 and has been re-released this Fall as a classic. (go here for my Perfect Picture Book Friday review) When not in her studio, Maryann travels to schools to share her books.

Maryann is the Author and Illustrator of over 60 books for children. Maryann’s recent book, “Janine” was inspired by Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I wanted to offer up an oldie but a goodie that was originally published in 1982 and has been revised and re-released this year. You go, Eileen Spinelli and Maryann Cocca-Leffler! Plus, Maryann, who is the illustrator for this book, will be our featured Will Write for Cookies guest in tomorrow’s post.


Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’

Written by Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Publisher: HarperCollins (1982, 2015)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, family togetherness


Opening Lines:

“Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ was always a big day. Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ meant, of course, the Tappleton family.”



 From Amazon:

“Thanksgiving is always a big day at the Tappletons’. But this Thanksgiving each task is interrupted by calamity and hilarity: first the turkey slips away . . . then the bakery is sold out . . . and so on, until Uncle Fritz and Grandfather Tappleton despair of ever eating dinner at all!

It’s not until Grandmother Tappleton reminds everyone, “there is more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings,” that the Tappletons begin to improvise . . . and end up enjoying a most unusual holiday “feast.”

Delicious drawings add to the merriment of this warm, contemporary tale, whose mirth and message youngsters will savor.”


Why I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud…with so much humor. Kids will be laughing and so will parents.
  • Each character shows so much personality…I feel there could be spin-off books about each of them.
  • A heartfelt message that is timely and timeless.

How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud.
  • Great book to encourage discussion of the importance of family.
  • Springboard for talking about what we are thankful for.



Gratitude Jar


Photo courtesy:

You will need: A jar, paper, pen and/or markers, glue, scissors.

For detailed directions for this and other wonderful crafts, please visit:


And for more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Make sure you come back here tomorrow! I spent an hour chatting with our Will Write for Cookies’ guest last weekend at a book signing for her newest release, A Homemade Together Christmas. I’ll be reviewing that for Perfect Picture Book Friday in a couple of weeks.

Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Will Write for Cookies


Wishing you all a beautiful weekend. Remember, the holidays are about love, peace, and friendship. Reach out to those who need your smile.

Kissed By An Angel Anthology – Cover Reveal

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving in less than a week. It’s a time to give thanks for all that we have. I’m thankful for so many things…good health, a loving family, faithful friends.

I want to share with you a project I’ve been working on this year. I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a team of incredible writers to create an anthology that will benefit the Sturge-Weber Foundation.

And because I can’t wait another minute…here is the COVER REVEAL for the anthology!!!!


What is Sturge-Weber Syndrome? Read the rest of this entry

Jennifer Novotney

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