PPBF: Lonely Lola Ladybug

Can you believe it’s almost summer? I can smell the lilacs…and graduations are in the air as well. My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is all about that. Let’s see…summer means bugs. And graduations mean spreading your wings to fly away. Lonely Lola Ladybug is the PERFECT choice.

It was my pleasure to sit down and visit (in person) with Mary Jo Beswick, author and illustrator of Lonely Lola Ladybug, when she passed through my town on her New England bookstore tour. We exchanged books and she was kind enough to do a review of my book on her wonderful blog, Lean Into the Dream.

I hope you’ll drop by her blog and leave a little comment love. She’s a talented artist and I know you’ll enjoy the coloring pages that can be printed out for kids.

lonely lola


Written and illustrated by Mary Jo Beswick Read the rest of this entry

Lauri Fortino: Will Write for Cookies









I’m always talking about the wonderful kid lit community I belong to – filled with incredibly talented and dedicated people. And every day I meet more of them. Recently, I discovered a blog which is a super resource for parents and teachers – Frog on a Blog – and I connected with its creator. When I found out the she had a DEBUT PICTURE BOOK coming out this fall, I knew I’d be inviting her to step into the Will Write for Cookies spotlight. And when my May guest, Katie Davis, needed to exchange her May interview for October, I was thrilled that Lauri was ready, willing and able to step in and fill the spot.

Lauri grew up in the village of Canastota, NY with four older siblings and a twin sister. She tried various careers (she was a horse groom for two years and a floral designer for ten years) before becoming a Library Assistant. She is also working hard to grow her career as a picture book author. Her debut book The Peddler’s Bed is set to be released on September 1, 2015 by Ripple Grove Press. The illustrator is Bong Redila. She also has a digital picture book coming out soon with MeeGenius called The Dinosaur Tag Survival Guide. Lauri is a member of SCBWI, ALA, CBI Club House, and the Picture Me Published critique group, and she’s an avid blogger. She lives in DeWitt, NY with her husband and Lhasa-mix dog Java.

I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.

Welcome, Lauri!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?



Hmm…I don’t know that I have favorite authors or illustrators from childhood, but there are a few books that stick in my memory. I loved Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library with the four tiny books. Last year, I visited the gorgeous Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts and they happened to have the set for sale in the gift shop, so I purchased one, since my original set is long gone. It’s like having an old friend back again.


Another book that I loved as a child is The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. In fact, I loved the pictures so much that I almost cut them out of the book! Luckily, I thought better of it and stopped myself after inflicting just one tiny snip on one of the pages. I wish I still had that copy.

20150513_141041-1santa book photo

I do, however, still have my absolute favorite book from childhood, Jolly Old Santa Claus. It was published in 1969 by Ideals Publishing Co. Interestingly, there’s no author listed, but the editor was Maryjane Hooper Tonn and the illustrations, which enchanted me then and still enchant me today, were done by George Hinke. It’s just a little slip of a book, and it’s worn, but it’s beautiful and I’ll cherish it forever. Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Peddler’s Bed

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. If you need more picture book recommendations, please head over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s for more picture book reviews.

And do I have a treat for you!

The author of today’s Perfect Picture Book is going to be here tomorrow as the featured author on Will Write for Cookies – hip hip hooray!

I’m so excited! I hope you will all come back on Saturday to find out more about this wonderful lady who runs the incredible Frog on a Blog. But right now, I can’t wait to share her lovely debut picture book which is slated to pub on September 1st and can be pre-ordered on Amazon:

Final Final Cover

The Peddler’s Bed

Written by Lauri Fortino

Illustrated by Bong Redila

Publisher: Ripple Grove Press (2015)

Ages: 4 and up


Kindness, sharing



From Amazon:

‘The peddler stopped his cart and climbed down from his seat.
“It’s a fine day,” he said.
“Truly,” answered the little man,”and that’s a fine bed you have there in your cart.”

In this tale of kindness and giving, a peddler attempts to sell a fine, handcrafted bed, guaranteed to never squeak, to a little man who has no bed at all. But the peddler’s heart is moved by the little man’s generosity. When it’s time to get back on the road, will the peddler leave behind the perfect gift of gratitude?
Read the rest of this entry

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