Perfect Picture Book Friday: MARIE CURIE and the Power of Persistence PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends.

I love when new books come out and I know the author and/or illustrator. And it’s especially cool when I’ve actually met them…in person! These days, with social distancing, that isn’t happening very often. But luckily, a few months ago, I happened to be in the Chicago area and was able to have lunch with the wonderful author of today’s featured book. We even spent a few minutes at one of the local bookstores in Evanston, Bookends and Beginnings. And because Karla is such a sweetheart, she is offering a copy of this brand-new only-out-in-the-world-for-a-week book as a giveaway!

Madame Curie ValentiMARIE CURIE AND THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE Continue reading

LORI ALEXANDER: Will Write for Cookies Plus GIVEAWAY



Plate of Cookies



Author Photo_Lori Alexander




It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome Lori Alexander who is returning for a second time to the Will Write for Cookies spotlight. Back in 2017, we did a Perfect Picture Book Friday post for FAMOUSLY PHOEBE and a Q&A with Lori.  And when I discovered that we are HMH sisters for her newest books…with the same incredible editor, the awesome Ann Rider., I knew I had to ask her back.  Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends.

I am so thrilled to bring you a GREAT new picture book that launches in just a couple of days. It’s written by a dear kidlit friend of mine, one of my picture book idols, author Lori Degman. I was in Chicago in February…BC (Before Covid-19)…and Lori and I met for a wonderful dinner…last year, she came to my book launch of Sweet Dreams, Sarah, at the Andersons Bookstore in La Grange. And because she is such a sweetheart, she is offering a GIVEAWAY of a copy of TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS!

Travel Guide for Monsters


Happy Book Birthday: WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY Plus Giveaway

Bookstores have closed their doors! And libraries are shut down! But never fear, parents, teachers, boys and girls…writers are still writing great stories and publishers are still getting them printed! Many bookstores are taking online orders and shipping for FREE or are enabling customers to do curbside pickup!

So today we are honored to sing a HUGE HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to a brand-new Middle Grade novel from one of my favorite kidlit authors, Darlene Beck Jacobson.



Perfect Picture Book Friday: PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I’m so happy to be back doing picture book reviews. The #50PreciousWords Contest kept me pretty busy – congratulations to ALL who participated…the generous industry pros who donated critiques, seats in writing classes, and books…my amazing judges, Maria Marshall, Julie Abery and Diane Tulloch…plus the 390 brave souls who shared their wonderful stories and the many people who took their time to leave 5734 positive, encouraging, and supportive comments. WOW!

We are in a new era – it almost feels like we are existing in a science fiction novel – and the author hasn’t finished the final chapters so we can’t skip ahead to find out how it ends. My heart goes out to those whose health has been impacted…to families struggling to keep things together as parents and children adjust to remote working/learning…to businesses trying to find new ways to create revenue.

I am, however, a very optimistic person…my sister used to call me Pollyanna because Continue reading

#50PreciousWords Contest 2020: And the winner is…



Art by Vicky Fang

WELCOME ALL! In the midst of this unprecedented health situation, the kidlit community is stepping up to the plate. Authors and illustrators are creating video storytimes and lessons for kids who are home because schools are closed. And I hope that participating in this contest has given many of us a sense of normalcy – focusing on writing a 50-word story doesn’t leave much brain power for worrying about anything else, right?

Since this is a contest that celebrates the life and genius of Theodore Geisel, the beloved Dr. Seuss, I wanted to give a special shout-out to one of the stories:

By Linda Staszak 49 words

The Cat in the Hat didn’t know what to do–
The Grinch was still pestering Cindi Lou Who.
And nobody wanted the green eggs and ham–
The Wockets and Horton were playing with Sam.
And Sneetches chased Thidwick, the big-hearted moose…
This craziness thanks to the great Dr. Seuss.


Thank you so much, Linda…I loved your rhythm and rhyme…and the topic was spot on! Have you thought about doing a nonfiction pb about him? Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: FREE FOR YOU AND ME Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I’m just catching my breath becasue #50PreciousWords closed last night at 11:59pm…a couple of stats for you…over 375 entries, over 3000 comments and counting because I know in the next two weeks, many of you will be reading through these fabulous stories and I’ve only commented on a few so far, 24 prizes, and  4 judges who will be burning the midnight oil for the next two weeks…look for the winners’ post on March 21.

I’m really excited about our perfect picture book today…written by a dear friend, Chris Mihaly, it examines the importance of the First Amendment. And she is giving away a copy of this wonderful book to one lucky winner…so don’t forget to leave a comment and share the post on social media.

Continue reading