Happy Book Birthday: THE STRUGGLE BUS Plus Critique Giveaway

Please join me in singing a rousing happy birthday to:

Written and illustrated by Julie Koon – Published by KindWorldPublishing

Here’s a little bit about the book from the Amazon sales page:

Sometimes things are really tough. It’s just too hard, you’ve had enough. Grumble, rumble, bump, and roar, The Struggle Bus is at your door. This is a must-have picture book for any reader struggling with new experiences and figuring out how to manage emotions. Debut author-illustrator Julie Koon delivers a lighthearted and relatable picture book about facing challenges as you grow up. Incorporating her experience as an elementary school counselor, Koon uses the accessible theme of vehicles to make this social-emotional concept perfect for the preschool and early elementary crowd. It’s also a great tool for caregivers to start conversations with children about acknowledging difficult feelings. The Struggle Bus’s lyrical, rhyming text adds a comforting touch to the book, while not downplaying the reality that sometimes life is really hard. From a growth mindset perspective, the story gives the main character space to feel those hard feelings, but also to be open-minded to lots of different solutions. With a concluding reminder that we can do hard things, The Struggle Bus offers a lot: self-discovery, tips for problem-solving, and, mostly importantly, an acknowledgement that we all struggle sometimes, but we shouldn’t get stuck on that bus.

What a perfect time for a book like this! Sometimes things ARE really tough – as a matter a fact, things are really tough for so many people right now. The words in this story can provide comfort – and empowerment for little children dealing with big problems. And honestly, I think adults will find encouragement and support as well.

And guess what? Author/illustrator Julie was kind enough to stop by to chat. I asked her if there were any potholes or problems on the path to publication:

I took many rides on the struggle bus in the making of this book. Shortly after I finished making the full dummy, the iPad that I use for drawing died for good, and I lost the whole thing! I had to start over from scratch. I certainly needed the words I had written as I started again. Luckily, I think it turned out even better than the first version! 

WOW! That might have ended it for many…but thank goodness, you didn’t give up, Julie. Perseverance is one of those 5Ps that lead to success – and in this case, it definitely did. I know this book is going to be used by many parents and teachers.

Dear friends, I’m not sure how we got so lucky, but Julie is offering a spectacular giveaway – a Picture Book Manuscript Critique to one lucky winner! Please make sure you leave a comment below (maybe you can tell us about one of your rides on the Struggle Bus), and then tag at least one person when you share on your favorite social media channel. It’s so important to spread the word about these fabulous new books!

Here’s where to find out more about Julie: https://www.juliepkoon.com/https://www.juliepkoon.com/

And remember that the best way to thank an author or illustrator is to buy their book, review their book, tell friends about their book, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

We are all catching our breath from the excitement of #50PreciousWords. The level of participation (749 entries) was phenomenal. The quality of the stories was astonishing. There are definitely more than a few that will become books in the next few years. And again, the comment thread of the contest post is 100% positive with supportive and encouraging words for the contestants.

Plus, the pile of books for the literacy initiative is growing. There is still time to place an order with The Bookery for a book you’d like to donate. It can be a board book, a picture book, a chapter book, a middle grade, or a YA because we have an elementary, a middle, and a high school waiting to receive them: www.shopbookerymht.com or call them: 603-836-6600. And wouldn’t it be lovely if someone chose THE STRUGGLE BUS!

37 thoughts on “Happy Book Birthday: THE STRUGGLE BUS Plus Critique Giveaway

  1. Oh my gosh I love this book already! I feel like I’ve been riding the struggle bus for years as my health declines and I’ve been stuck on medical leave from work. But I’m so excited to read this book! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie! So happy to see this as a BOOK! I remember the pitch party that you got all the love from editors and agents. I messaged you during that with a Good Luck message, but I don’t think you needed any luck. You had hard work and determination on your side. I can’t wait to buy your book. My 7 year old is having some struggles of his own and I know this book will be helpful. Sending you thoughts of amazing book sales and all the success!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book looks charming! I’m definitely going to pick it up for my classroom ( plus our monthly theme just happens to be Transportation!) Congratulations on your book birthday 🎁

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So many SEL books are being created and made into books. Very needed at this time. It so happens that yesterday someone I knew did the ultimate… Thank you for this book!!


  5. What a delightful book! I’m getting it for my students and grandchildren! I LOVE the rhyme….
    Can’t wait to read more! Thanks Vivian and Julie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my gosh, I love this. What a universal story. We all have a struggle bus (mine is a Ford Pinto that smells like dirty docks and pickles. It has a backfiring engine that shouts insults at me.)

    Good luck – I’m off to order my copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations, Julie! I’m glad you persevered after your iPad broke – how devastating! Your book sounds and looks wonderful. Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the illustrations and the concept is fantastic. I worked as a social worker in crisis intervention for over 30 years, so I have a special appreciation for books like these.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations, Julie! Everyone–young and old–can relate to being on the struggle bus. Your illustrations are fantastic and I love the blessing in disguise of your iPad breaking:)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations and thank you for putting part of everyone’s life story on the page with wonderful and uplifting words and illustrations. My “struggle bus” seems to have distractions in every seat: the grandkids, the dog, the kitchen sink. But we can prevail! Thank you so much!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We all need this book! Thank you! (FYI: I can’t believe my fabulous GA library doesn’t own this. I just sent a request to our librarian. Hopefully, it will grace our shelves soon!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This book sounds so needed! I know it’ll find a place on my daughter’s book shelf. Honestly, I’m on the struggle bus helping her handle her range of emotions! She’s got ALL the feeis EVERY day. Thank you for the critique opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been on the struggle bus a time or two!:). I’m looking forward to reading this book, and I know my kids will love it! Congratulations, Julie! And Thank you, Vivian for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Julie, I’m looking forward to reading this. I can’t imagine losing all your art when your iPad quit working. That seems like a nightmare! I’m glad you bounced back, and the art turned out better on the second go-around! I wish you the best with your book

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This book looks absolutely fabulous and heartfelt!!! I can’t wait to own a copy 🙂 I really could’ve used this book growing up, having struggled with anxiety since I was in kindergarten. So relatable! Beautiful illustrations, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Congrats on your new book, Julie! Wonderful word play and rhyme, and beautiful, emotive illustrations. Looking forward to seeing this book on my bookshelf. Your story about losing your book dummy reminds me of this past January when I lost all my query list research one weekend and didn’t think I had the strength to start over…but I did. Thanks for sharing your time and story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am on the struggle bus myself and just ordered this book for our little free library we manage for our neighborhood! Thank you for writing this book. The three manuscripts I am polishing now are SEL books. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

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