Happy Book Birthday: IS IT OVER? Plus Special Giveaway

Not too tired from celebrating over the 4th of July weekend I hope because we definitely need to be cheering for this brand new picture book from the awesome Sandy Brehl. And Sandy, being the awesome person that she is, put together a super special giveaway – a copy of this beautiful new book AND a stuffed animal! Make sure you leave a comment, share the post of social media, and follow Sandy’s blogs.

Written by Sandy Brehl – Illustrated by Rebecca S. Hirsch – Published by Pen It! Publications

Here’s a bit about the book from the Amazon synopsis:

When storms send you running for cover,
be brave, look up. Find a story in the storm
to calm your fears and you just might help
someone you love.

IS IT OVER? celebrates the power of love and storytelling to overcome fear. A prowling, growling thunder storm sends Risa running to Daddy to make it stop. When the storm worsens, Risa wants a story. His childhood storm stories changed while he was a soldier, so they aren’t helpful. Inspired by her toy elephant, Ivan, Risa summons the courage to find her own story in the storm, one that helps them both.

Doesn’t that sound like a book so many kids need to hear? In fact, there are times when all of us search for our courage, right?

And I’ve got a book birthday surprise for you…author Sandy and illustrator Rebecca stopped by to chat and share a bit of the back story of how and why they created this story.

SANDY: I dedicated this book to my niece, now an impressively competent adult and mother of two. As a child, though, she was terrified of thunderstorms. Little Andrea’s panic, and the trembling anxiety I’ve observed in kids of many ages, led me to write about overcoming storm fears through storytelling. One storm-story says that people in heaven are enjoying a fireworks show. Well, I’ve known small children and had pets (of many sizes) that trembled in terror during Fourth of July noises. That was NOT the storm story I would use. I needed story based on strength, but also comforting.

It took years of revision and re-visioning of the manuscript to focus on love and empathy to instill courage, to empower a child to look into the storm, imagining a personal story to soothe themselves and others. The daddy-daughter relationship and subtle suggestion of a fearful parent emerged over time. Throughout countless changes, though, my dedication remained the same.

REBECCA: I was honored when Sandy emailed me last August and asked if I’d be interested in illustrating this book. Working on this project was a bright spot in a difficult and uncertain year, and I am truly grateful to have been a part of it.  An early challenge came during the character development.  I knew I wanted the readers to understand Daddy was a veteran, but I wanted them to come to that realization along the way.  So I did a bit of research online and decided to give the character a prosthetic leg.  It tells us why Daddy has a difficult time with loud noises without him ever having to mention it.

This spread is my favorite from the book.  It is one of those rare pieces that comes out on paper (or in this case, digitally on screen) exactly the way it was in my head.  I knew when I pictured this image that I would be able to illustrate this story.

Sandy Brehl is a retired elementary educator and active member of SCBWI.  She lives in the Milwaukee area and is the author of the ODIN’S PROMISE, a WWII resistance trilogy for middle grade and older. She shares news, reviews, and interviews at AN OPEN BOOK tab on her website. She features picture books at Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books and Good reads.

Follow her on Twitter @SandyBrehl and @PBWorkshop, and on Facebook.

Book reviews, sales links, and teaching resources are available on her website: www.sandybrehl.com

Rebecca Hirsch is a picture book author and illustrator.  She strives to capture the magic and the playfulness of childhood in her work.  She is an active member of the Wisconsin chapter of SCBWI.  She lives with her husband and children in Waukesha, WI. She came in Second Runner-up in the 2017 SCBWI Tomie dePaola Illustration contest.  Her illustration received the “People’s Choice” award at the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Conference May, 2019. As of 2021, Rebecca is the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI-WI. She can be found online at www.rhirschillustration.com or on Instagram as rhirchillus.

Thank you so much, ladies! And I hope every will enter this fabulous giveaway and share the post on social media and follow these talented creators on their blogs and buy their books and review them and ask their local libraries to purchase copies for the collection….because that is how we help authors and illustrators to keep on writing and drawing.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week…and please come back on Friday for another fabulous new book, MY SCHOOL STINKS by Becky Scharnhorst…and on Saturday when Kristen Nordstrom shares insights into how her newest book, MIMIC MAKERS: BIOMIMICRY INVENTORS INSPIRED BY NATURE, came about…and so much more on Will Write for Cookies.

25 thoughts on “Happy Book Birthday: IS IT OVER? Plus Special Giveaway

  1. We had a wonderful time going to see and hear the fireworks at a nearby park last night, but when we returned home and they were being fired across the street it was too much! I thought then that this must be what it’s like for an anxious, sensitive child, or grown up for that matter. For some fireworks or thunder in the distance is fine but for others that’s just as concerning as up close! It’s all relative, and it’s important to realize others might have different tolerances then we do personally. hope I get a chance to read your thoughtful story! The illustrations look lovely and engaging!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate the nance of your comment, Ingrid. What is just right for one person can be terrifying to another. I’ve never feared storms, other than being aware of the science and safety. In fact I enjoyed them and found them to be exciting, just like the dad in this story did when he was a child. But things change, and change us. Wishing you luck in the giveaway, and thanks for the support and shared experience!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ingrid, of course my reply above was intended to say NUANCE, not NANCE- and now you know why my many years of piano lessons were a waste. My fingers do as they choose, especially on smaller devices!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Beth. Good luck in the drawing. If you aren’t the name drawn, please ask you local library to add it to their collection! I’m all about sharing stories, not just sales and contests. Thank for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandy & Rebecca: With just this sneak peak, it is evident how beautiful your book is. Help and guidance in how to face and conquer the storms of life is something we all need. I especially LOVE that although the little girl initially goes to her father for comfort, she is the one who is able to bring comfort to them both through the form of story. Showing how difficult life can be for veterans and their families is such an important topic. Children will learn so much through these characters, especially how even heroes have fears and how stories can heal. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie, I tried to reply this morning and, once again, had some kind of digital glitch erase my note to you, so here I go again!
      Are you certain you haven’t already seen this book? You caught the themes and intents behind each word and image perfectly, and I hope you will enjoy when you get a chance to confirm your initial reactions. Thanks for reading, and good luck in the giveaway!


    • Deb, I tried a couple of times to thank you for the support and encoruagement and WordPress fought me each time. But here I am to say THANK YOU! (She persisted!)


  3. What an incredible story of finding the courage to face discomfort. My mom who passed at the age of 94 was so fearful of thunderstorms. She would sit quietly and everyone else had to sit quietly…as she would tell us to be quiet while the Lord is doing His work. She was told this by her mother as this became passed down from generation to generation. Mom would have loved this book! Now, I can’t wait to have this book for my discomforts and memory of mom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a powerful memory, and a gift to have a mother who managed her own fears by calling on what she trusted most. Thank you for sharing it here, since there may be others who will use this to comfort someone. My niece found the greatest comfort in hugs from her grandma, my mother, who would quietly sing in her ear or say simple prayers. Heaven has a special place for grandmas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marci. It took quite a while for the original thoughts to migrate to this special relationship, but it felt right when I finally found them (Risa and Daddy and IVAN).HOpe you’ll get a chance to read it and enjoy it.


  4. Your book is beautiful and gives readers an important message too. If I’ve learned one thing over this past year and a half it’s that I need to always choose kind when acting, thinking, and listening because everyone is different and everyone is going through something (and it’s probably more than I am too). I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/655978870444621824/via-happy-book-birthday-is-it-over-plus-special

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Vivian, thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t heard about this book before and it looks lovely. Fears are so tricky with children and adults (don’t ask me about mine!) so anxiety is a wonderful subject to read about and relate to through the characters in a book.
    Congratulations on this beautiful book, Sandy and Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, and for your kind congratulations. The small degree of separation from our own fears to connect the feelings with characters on the page can make all the difference. I’ll join you in thanking Vivian for hosting this launch day celebration!

      Liked by 1 person

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