Cover Reveal: POET, PILGRIM, REBEL: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet PLUS Giveaway

WOW! When author Katie Williams told me about her upcoming book, I was thrilled! What a perfect book for Women’s History Month – a story about America’s first published poet…who was a WOMAN!!! It’s an honor to reveal the cover of POET, PILGRIM, REBEL


Written by Katie Munday Williams – Illustrated by Tania Rex – Published by Beaming Books
Continue reading

ANNETTE WHIPPLE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway



Plate of Cookies






Can we have a show of hands for people who enjoyed watching Little House on the Prairie over the past almost 50 years? I would have watched it no matter who the actors and actresses were…but ever since Bonanza, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Michael Landon – and as Charles Ingalls, he was at his best. Many of the episodes were written and directed by him…and as the seasons unfolded, I often wished he had been my dad. So, when I heard that author Annette Whipple had a new book coming out entitled: THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION…I knew I’d want to ask her to stop by to talk with us about it.

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder in young readers while exciting them about science and history. She’s the author of eight fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press), Whooo Knew? The Truth about Owls (Reycraft Books), and The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press). Annette is a fact-loving, chocolate chip cookie-baking children’s nonfiction author from Pennsylvania. Get to know her and learn about her presentations at or connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

companion cover

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Annette. Thanks so much for visiting and for agreeing to do a Q&A with us. Why don’t we get started because I know you have a lot to share.

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

ANNETTE: As a young child, we didn’t have a lot of books at home (or a library in town) so I don’t have many memories of being read to at home, but I know we had The Monster at the End of This Book. It cracked me up! In school, Mrs. Schoonover introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and Old Yeller. By 4th grade or so I began reading Ann M. Martin’s the Baby-sitters Club series and even owned some of them. I appreciated Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine’s creepy mysteries a bit later. I wasn’t a strong reader, but I loved my school’s library. It was there that I first met Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a child, I wondered if she exaggerated The Long Winter. It wasn’t until I was an adult researching for my own book that I learned the answer. (And readers of The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion will know the answer, too!)

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

ANNETTE: I’m pretty sure this question wasn’t supposed to make me laugh, but it did. And you know what? That’s appropriate because I think one of the most important things to remember when writing for children is to make it fun—especially nonfiction if it’s an appropriate topic! It took me a while to figure this out, but now I try to add more humor to my writing.

cover wright brothers

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

ANNETTE: I need quiet to write, and I prefer to write inside. Though I don’t have an office, I do have a desk. I use a laptop connected to a larger monitor for most of my writing. When I really need to focus—such as on just the first lines of a book or revisions—I prefer to use pen and paper. (Pentel’s EnerGel Needle Tip pens are my favorite. And they’re refillable!)

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

ANNETTE: Um…is it fair to say when my family doesn’t need me? It really depends on the time of year. If my children are in school (and at school), I don’t get started until mid-morning. But during the summer my mornings tend to start early. If I’m well rested, I might be at my desk by 5:30. Other days I might get up close to 7 and exercise, eat, and shower before starting. It just depends on the day. Exercise may cut into my writing time, but if I’m going to sit at my desk for hours each day, I need to get my muscles moving.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNETTE: I love to inspire and encourage children through my words. Facts are fun, and I want kids to celebrate their curiosity. I love that my words can teach kids though a bit differently now than when I was a classroom teacher.

author assembly

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. 

 ANNETTE: Aspiring writers must be persistent. Take the time to study the publishing world. Consider yourself a life-long learner of the craft of writing. Learn how to use mentor texts and spend a lot of time reading recently-published books in your genre. And find a critique partner (or two) or a critique group for writers in your genre. You will learn so much as you study their manuscripts, and they’ll help you improve your own.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide was inspired by another book. I had the idea for The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion in 2014 when I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia with my own children and going through a companion guide which they loved! I knew I could write a book like Roar! A Christian Family’s Guide to Narnia. I didn’t even know what a mentor text was, but I studied the book and used it as a model. The next summer I attended my first writing conference (though I’d already taken online classes and been published in magazines). Though this was my first book idea, it will be my 7th book published. Writing takes a lot of persistence and patience! BUT if you have a dream, keep at it.

I know The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion is a better book because of my wait. The publisher and I waited two years from their offer to the contract (because of rights and permissions). During that time I spent lots more time reading children’s books and learned the wonder of sidebars. My sample manuscript didn’t include sidebars, but the final version of ‘The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion is full of them along with lots of history, thoughtful questions, pioneer terms, and 75 activities for fans of the Little House books.

ME: And I absolutely LOVE the sidebars, Annette…and so will parents and teachers…and kids! But we’re not done yet because I know you have a double-header sweet treat for us. Take it away, Annette!

Annette: I love chocolate chip cookies! It took me years and years to find a recipe that I LOVED that didn’t require a special ingredient. But when my friend made me her cookies, I asked for the recipe…and it actually worked for me! The key is to add more flour for some extra fluff and goodness. Here’s my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can I share a second favorite cookie-related recipe, too? Chocolate chip cookie pie is my favorite pie to make. It’s quick and delicious. Other than the pie crust, it only takes a few minutes to get it in the oven. (Sometimes I cheat and make my pat-in-the-pan pie crust so it’s still in the oven in a matter of minutes.) And here’s the chocolate chip cookie pie recipe!

ME and every single one of my readers: Can you share a second favorite cookie-related recipe? You bet! And I love the idea of a chocolate chip cookie PIE! Last week, Carrie Finison shared a doughnut cookie recipe to celebrate her new book, DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS…and now you are sharing a chocolate chip cookie PIE recipe to celebrate the launch of your new book, THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION

Annette at Almanzo

I know everyone joins me in thanking Annette for sharing some of her writing journey and insights with us. And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of her wonderful new book, THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION…why not tell us your favorite TV series when you were growing up.

I’m wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend. My days are a whirlwind of sorting/purging/packing…my house is sold and the closing is August 31. And one of the perks of all of this is that I am finding scraps of paper and old PiBoIdMo (Storystorm) notebooks filled with story ideas.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. Here is another book I’ve been anxious to spotlight…ever since I read an early draft of it during a manuscript exchange with one of my critique buddies. It’s actually just hot off the press as you’ll see by the publication date below. I am so darn excited for the talented Beth Anderson…and you’ll get to meet her tomorrow when she stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies. Plus she’s graciously agreed to do a giveaway…so make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her debut picture book, AN INCOVENIENT ALPHABET: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution.

inconvenient alphabet


Written by Beth Anderson

Illustrated by Elizabeth Buddeley

Published by Simon and Schuster (September 25, 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: American history, spelling, humor

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Delightful, relatable, and eye-catchingly illustrated.”School Library Journal
Deelytful and iloominaating for noo and seesuned reeders alyk.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Thought-provoking and entertaining.” —School Library Connection
“Engaging…A comprehensible, lively read.” —Publishers Weekly

Do you ever wish English was eez-ee-yer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Debut author Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet.

Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet.

In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard.

Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.

Why I like this book:

  • I love books that bring history alive – especially little known stories like this one. Why didn’t they have books like this when I was a kid?
  • The text is fabulous…punny and funny and shows a great depth of research on the part of Beth Anderson, the author. 
  • Illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley’s work is absolutely breathtaking! Bold! Hilarious! And totally Spot On! Kids are going to LOVE this book and so will teachers, librarians, and parents!
  • Wonderfully informative author’s note at the end of the book.
  • PLUS…there is also a super cool CURRICULUM GUIDE for teachers and school librarians who want to extend the learning experience after reading AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET.


letter a, letter b, letter c, letter dPhoto courtesy:

There are crafts here from A to Z. For detailed instructions:

For more wonderful picture book reviews and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post where lots of lovers of picture books congregrate.

I hope you all have a super weekend. The fall foliage is in full swing in New England and I hope, wherever you are, you are getting out to enjoy your days. Please don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of the book…when you read the book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads…and please do come back tomorrow to chat with Beth on Will Write for Cookies.