Category Archives: Cookie recipe

Jackie Leigh Davis: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

Plate of Cookies




(c) 2016 JackieAuthor_500x500


I’m so excited to welcome one of my local SCBWI buddies. She’s such a special lady…and I was thrilled when she agreed to stop by to chat with us.

Jackie Davis began her career as a professional mime at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. In 1995, she began developing a circus arts curriculum at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton where she created the first Hilltop Circus in 1996. This led to her founding Silver Lining Circus Camp and the Flying Gravity Circus youth troupe.

Her husband, Rick Davis, who was a teacher at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, became the resident director at youth circus arts education for Circus Smirkus in Vermont.

Together they became founding members of the American Youth Circus Organization, which hosts biennial national festivals in the U.S.

WOW…so now you know that Jackie knows what she is talking about when she writes a book about circus for kids!

Welcome, Jackie…it’s wonderful to have you here. I know you have a lot to share with all of us!

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

JACKIE: I was a huge Dr. Seuss fan as a child (The Sleep Book!! Sneetches!) I loved his wacky worlds and creatures, and I was inspired to draw my own for hours and hours on my mom’s scrap paper. Later, I read The Phantom Tollbooth at the perfect age when I totally understood all of Norton Juster’s plays on words (he really woke up the fun of writing in me), and I loved Jules Feiffer’s dynamic, scribbly illustrations. Louise Fitzugh had a similar scribbly style in her drawings, though I didn’t realize until much later that she had illustrated as well as written Harriet the Spy. I emulated Harriet and did some spying in my neighborhood!

Circademic with Brain&Logo

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

JACKIE: Well, I’m coming late to the party – I’m really just starting my writing career in earnest, even though I’ve been writing all my life. Ask me this question in a couple years. 

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

JACKIE: I’ve read that you should be able to write anywhere so that you train yourself to be able to write, well, anywhere. That’s hard for me – I get attached to place. I have a lovely little cabin in my back yard that I love to write in, but it’s not insulated so I can only do that on temperate days. I do like to write on my laptop. However, I also keep a journal (an actual book made of paper), and I write longhand in there. Gotta have a fast, smooth pen. Pentel Energel!

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

JACKIE: I am still sorting this out! Lots of folks get up early and write in the morning. I am a terrible morning person, the brain takes a while to get revved up. By then, the phone is ringing and people are emailing, and I get pulled into the mundanities of the day. So – I THINK I am a night writer. Left to my own devices, I write at night – sometime after dinner and before my brain gets too tired. I keep experimenting. Ask me this one again in a couple years, too!

DIYCircusLab_Cover_FRONT 320x240

ME: Why do you write for children?

JACKIE: I remember being 10 or 11 years old, looking out my bedroom window in the direction of the next town, and suddenly I realized I could “travel” to the next town, and the next… that the whole world was open and my whole life was ahead of me. That was the first moment where I caught a glimmer of self-determination, where I “got” that I was the captain of my ship, and this was my life. I’ve been a teacher for much of my adult life, and I love opening the door to kids’ realization that they are the captains of their ships. I never get tired of that. As a teacher I could do that one-on-one, but as an author I hope to show many, many more kids a magical door to their self-determination.

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 

JACKIE: This first book of mine, DIY Circus Lab for Kids, is a non-fiction, how-to book based on my decades of teaching circus. But I was working on a middle grade novel before DIY came along, and now that it’s published (yay!!) I am going back to the novel.  I am so eager to get it written, yet there are so many demands on my time I worry about getting it done. But NO! 2018 is the year! I look forward to being a guest of yours again, Vivian, sometime in 2019!

That sounds like a plan, Jackie! Thank you so much for all of your insights and for sharing your journey with us.

And now, dear friends, we are not done yet. Jackie has a book event today at our favorite local indie bookstore: Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, NH from 2-4pm. I’ll be there and I’m going to buy a copy of DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS…I’ll have Jackie sign it and I’ll be giving it away to someone who leaves a comment on today’s post or the book birthday post from last Tuesday.

If you’d like to learn more about Jackie, her circus programs, and her book: (summer camp where I’ll be teaching — this will also be updated by February)


And of course, we have to have a sweet ending to our post.

One of the circus tricks is juggling balls…how about making some GLUTEN FREE nut butter balls to eat!

nut butter ballsPhoto courtesy:

There are only THREE ingredients in this yummy recipe. Any nut butter. Coconut flour. Maple syrup. It is easy peasy to make with the kiddos…and provides a healthy punch of protein and other nutrients. For detailed instructions:

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend and I thank you so much for spending some of your precious time with me.


Perfect Picture Book Friday: PICK A PINE TREE Plus Giveaway

Here we are again! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I hope everyone had a Thanksgiving where good food, friends, and family took center stage. I have so much to be thankful for…starting with all of you, dear readers. And also all of these wonderful picture books of 2017 and their talented authors and illustrators!

Our book review today is perfect for the season…but first, we have some winners to announce. A lot of winners thanks to our generous authors!

A copy of MOTOR GOOSE: RHYMES THAT GO! by Rebecca Colby. And the winner is…


A copy of CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER by Rebecca Colby. And the winner is…


A copy of FINN FINDS A FRIEND by Jenna Grodzicki . And the winner is…


A copy of ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES, TOO! by Katy Duffield . And the winner is…


A copy of NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A FAKE NEWS STORY by Darcy Pattison. And the winner is….


Oh my gosh…is it the season of giving gifts or what?

And here is my gift to you today…a review of Patricia Toht’s fabulous new picture book!

Pick a Pine Tree Cover


Written by Patricia Toht

Illustrated by Jarvis

Published by Candlewick Press (2017)

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Christmas, decorating a tree, family time


From Amazon: A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime — beginning, of course, with picking out a tree!

 magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.

Why I like this book:

  • Wonderful rhyming text that parents will enjoy reading and kids will enjoy listening to over and over again.
  • Great illustrations…I especially love the double-spread fully decorated Christmas tree that you turn the book on it’s side to see.
  • A perfect addition to any home bookshelf – it’s nice to have a new holiday book to add to your collection!




Christmas-crafts-for-kidsPhoto courtesy:

Here are a bunch of awesome crafts for the season. You will find details on each one here:

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of PICK A PINE TREE. If you’ve already read this wonderful book, why not hop over to Amazon to leave a review. And definitely be here tomorrow when author Patricia Toht stops by to chat about her writing journey.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!








Darcy Pattison: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies






When I first entered the blogging world, Darcy Pattison was already a mover and a shaker. I quickly followed her website and learned a ton!

Storyteller, writing teacher, Queen of Revisions, and founder of Mims House ( publisher, Darcy Pattison has been published in nine languages. Her books, published with Harcourt, Philomel/Penguin, Harpercollins, Arbordale, and Mims House have received recognition for excellence with starred reviews in Kirkus, BCCB and PW. Three nonfiction nature books have been honored as National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade books. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt) received an Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature Honor Book award, and has been published in a Houghton Mifflin textbook.  She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature.


Wow…so, dear readers, you can see why I wanted to have Darcy stop by to chat with us.

Welcome, Darcy! 

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

DARCY: My family always had a story time at night. We lived in a remote mountain town in New Mexico. With seven kids and tight budgets, my mother wrote to the state library and asked them to mail her books, listing out the ages of her kids. We grew up with the best of children’s literature. I particularly remember Winnie the Pooh. But there was one Babar book that totally fascinated me. During the midst of a war, the elephants disguise themselves by painting huge eyes on their rumps, letting the tail serve as a nose. I remember being scared of that image, but slowly coming to understand that it was a disguise, and then finally admiring the elephants for pulling such a trick.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

DARCY: How much fun the writing and publishing process can be.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

DARCY:My husband and I own a three-story Victorian house in a historic district, and we use it as an office. The bottom two floors are his real estate appraisal offices. But the attic is mine. I go to work—arriving at the office about 9 pm and leaving about 4pm. That means, I write every day. There’s no waiting for the muse to strike for me.

ME: Why do you write for children?

Katherine Paterson once commented that books for adults are like a full orchestra playing beautifully. But when she writes, she only hears a flute solo. In other words, we write and are surprised by what comes out! I wish that I had more control, but writing is tied to your personality on a deep level. I can direct the writing some, but if you want me to follow my passions, then children’s literature is what comes out.


ME: Any advice to aspiring writers?

DARCY: Write. When I first started writing, I told myself that I should write 15 minutes a day. I carried around a special ink pen to remind me to do that. The visual and tactile cue of an ink pen was necessary to help me carve out those 15 minutes. Of course, that time grew until I’m writing most of a day. But don’t discount the importance of those first steps. The habit of writing begins with a simple commitment to write 15 minutes a day.

ME: And how about some words for parents, educators and librarians?

DARCY: I’m very excited about THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A Fake New Story, which is the true story of a fake news story. I think the most important thing you can do for kids is discuss such stories with them. Our American democracy is built on the idea that an educated citizen is crucial to the success of our form of government. This book can be read just for fun! It’s a sea monster story! However, if you choose to take it further, enjoy the quick wit and deep understanding of your kids!

ME: WOW! This has been awesome, Darcy! I love the idea of helping kids recognize fake news! I’ll bet a great school exercise would be to ask the kids to write a fake news story. I’ll bet there would be some doozies in the bunch! Thank you so much for stopping by…but before you leave, I know you’ve got a super cookie recipe for all of us.
Darcy’s Gluten-Free Peanut Butter cookies

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Mix all ingredients. Roll into 1″ balls. Optional: Roll balls in sugar. Place balls on cookie sheet and use a fork to criss-cross the balls and smash them flat. Cook at 350 for about 8-10 minutes.

Yup…that is definitely simple enough! Great for the kiddos to help with!


Darcy has generously provided a copy of NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER as a giveaway. Please leave a comment and don’t forget that reviews are like gold to authors.

And thank you so much for stopping by to visit with me today, dear friends. I hope everyone has a safe and joyous Thanksgiving.

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