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 Continue reading

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? Continue reading

#PPBF: Crow Made a Friend–TLC Book Tour PLUS Giveaway!

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join in with TLC’s Book Blog Tour for Margaret Peot’s debut picture book. Perfect Picture Book Friday is the PERFECT time to showcase this delightful story from Holiday House’s I Like to Read series.

Crow Made a Friend

Crow Made a Friend

Written and illustrated by Margaret Peot Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Blog Tour

Hold onto your hats, dear friends. This Perfect Picture Book Friday post is JAM-PACKED!

First of all, the winners of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest have been announced. There were 145 entries…if you’d like to read some of them, hop on over:

Because Susanna is one of the most generous and loving mentors in this kid lit community, in addition to the top winners, she also awarded a bunch of honorable mentions. And I’m thrilled to have gotten one of those. I even get to pick a prize…a choice from several books on the craft of writing. Putting your work out there can be scary, even if it’s not Halloween, but it’s a great way to grow as a writer and connect with others who are traveling the same path.

Another way to grow as a writer is to participate in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. The daily inspirational blog posts of Picture Book Idea Month will knock your socks off and get those creative juices flowing!

A third way to grow as a writer is to read lots and lots of picture books. And that brings us to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for this week, which, by the way, got a starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist! But I told you this post would be JAM-PACKED, right?

The author of today’s book, Laurie Wallmark, invited me to be part of her book blog tour. I am thrilled! At the end of the post you can find the link to the other blogs that are participating…I hope you will travel along. PLUS, Laurie has agreed to share some thoughts about Five Important Women in STEM. You’ll find her guest post after the book review. I know many of you are writing nonfiction picture books…or reading them to your kids. Laurie’s debut picture book is a delight and her post is fantastic!

Ada cover 72dpi

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Written by Laurie Wallmark

Illustrated by April Chu Continue reading