I must apologize, dear readers. We’ve had many giveaways in the past two months…but my life got crazy busy with travel planning for next year (more about that later) and I neglected to award the prizes. Plus, for some reason, Facebook is not letting me use my share button to post on my own page. I can share someone else’s posts. And I can post on anyone else’s page. And I can comment everywhere. But on my home page, the share button is disabled. If any of you more tech savvy people out there have any idea of what is going on, your input would be much appreciated!

I believe the last giveaway we awarded was a copy of Anna Redding’s GOOGLE IT! to Rosie Pova. I know Rosie received it already because she posted about it on Facebook. Rosie, I know you will love the book.

book cover

So, the first giveaway today is from author/illustrator Emilie Boon…a copy of ELLA AND MONKEY AT SEA. And the winner is…CARMELA SIMMONS

book cover

After that we have a copy of H IS FOR HAIKU written by Sydell Rosenberg and brought to the world by her daughter, Amy Losak. And the winner is…TRACY HORA.


Next is a critique by the talented Christy Mihaly, author of HEY, HEY, HAY. And the winner is…TINA CHO.


Then we have a copy of MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS  by Margaret Greanias. And the winner is…LISETTE CRUZ

book cover

And last, but certainly not least, is Robin Newman’s hilarious NO PEACOCKS! 

And the winner is…Carol Gordon Ekster.


CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE WINNERS! And a big thank you to all of the authors for writing these wonderful books and to the illustrators for bringing the stories to life with their pictures.

I’ll be connecting with all of you to make sure that you receive your books!

I truly appreciate you all coming to visit and read and comment. I’ll be skipping this week’s PPBF and WWFC, but I’ll be back with SIX STRAIGHT WEEKS OF AWESOME Debut Picture Books and Q&A’s with their authors. Heads up, everyone, because we’ve got:






ROCK AND ROLL WOODS by Sherry Hyberger Howard

You won’t want to miss any of these books!

Speaking of books…I’m blessed to have sold five manuscripts in the last couple of years. And those manuscripts are being made into books. And those books are soon to be published. I hope to have some cover reveal posts in next month or two. But I thought to myself, what could I do to celebrate this realization of a dream. And how could I best promote those books and spread the word far and wide.

Spread the word far and wide? Why not take a trip around the world? 


So, this is the plan:

  1. I leave for Sydney on Februry 19th. (24+ hours of actual flight time) I’ll be presenting at the Australia/NZ conference and meeting up with several kidlit friends…plus my agent, Essie White, is the keynote speaker. 
  2. I fly to Auckland and will stay with one of my dearest critique buddies. And while I’m there, I will do a program for the regional NZ SCBWI.
  3. On March 19, I’ll hop another LOOONG flight (again over 24 hours of actual flight time) to Geneva where another wonderful critique buddy will pick me up and I’ll stay with her for a couple of weeks until…
  4. We train to Italy for the Bologna Book Fair where I hope to meet up with some of the wonderful editors who are publishing my books and another incredible critique partner.
  5. And after the conference, we’ll take day trips by train to Florence, Milan, and..
  6. Back to Boston on April 8.

Phew! And just to let you know…the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge will still take place…I’ll be reading all of your wonderful stories while I’m in New Zealand. I’m already on the look-out for prizes for next year so, if you’d like to donate a critique or a seat in an online writing class, please FB PM me or email me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com.

But for this weekend…if you are in a state where the leaf colors change like here in New Hampshire, I hope you get to see them. And if you drive, please be safe. We’ll be heading up to Lake Winnipesaukee to cheer for my son and son-in-law as they compete in the Tough Mudder. And then on Sunday, we’ll head to Connecticut to spread some of Stuart’s ashes on the river where he loved to fish. A bittersweet weekend, for sure.



When a Dream Becomes a Reality PLUS Giveaway: H IS FOR HAIKU

A couple of years ago, I connected with a writer who had a dream. Her mother had written wonderful poetry…Haiku…and she wanted to see it published as a book. 

Amy Losak never gave up. That book she hoped for is now a reality! And I’m thrilled to share a bit about the book and the wonderful woman who wrote those amazing words.



Written by Sydell Rosenberg

Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

Published by Penny Candy (April 2018)

Ages:  5-11

Themes: Haiku, poetry, everyday happenings

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

“In H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, the late poet Sydell Rosenberg, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America and a New York City public school teacher, and illustrator Sawsan Chalabi offer an A-Z compendium of haiku that brings out the fun and poetry in everyday moments.”

But this short synopsis doesn’t begin to reveal the amazing personality that was Sydell Rosenberg. I was lucky enough to chat with Amy, and she shared a bit more about her wonderful mom.


Syd was a charter member of a vibrant organization that this year celebrates its 50th anniversary: the Haiku Society of America. Mom was among a group of gifted women who, decades ago, contributed to – and I think helped shape — English-language haiku and related forms, such as senryu. She studied, practiced, and wrote these forms for decades, and her work was widely anthologized. Mom “knew her haiku,” but she kept learning over the years, too.

Syd’s haiku – some poems were first published in journals and other outlets decades ago — have a universal, timeless appeal. Haiku are brief; they impel readers to slow down and linger over something they may ordinarily overlook. As I say in my introduction, haiku help make so-called “small moments” in our daily lives big. Haiku is a way to enter with awareness and appreciation into the world around us. I hope both children and the adults in their lives will relate to these evocative “word-pictures,” which capture both nature and human nature in “nuggets.”

ME: Oh my gosh…yes…word pictures.  When I saw the illustrations accompanying Syd’s Haiku, I was struck by the thought that these are so perfect for today’s electronic-savvy kids…they are used to sound-bytes and split second pictures flashing by them. Haiku is the perfect vehicle to introduce them to a love of words and poetry.


Syd also was a teacher in New York, as well as a writer (prose such as short stories, and a pulp novel published in the 1950s; word and literary puzzles, more) and poet. She died in 1996, and decades later, I fulfilled her goal of professionally publishing some of her poems as a children’s book. Over time, her dream become mine — ours.

ME: So, right away there was a connection for me because I also taught in the NYC school system and then, when Amy and I spoke, I discovered anothere coincidence… her mom and I both graduated from Brooklyn College…Syd was a couple of years before me. In honor of our connection, I’m going to send a copy of H is for Haiku to one of my blog followers…please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.



Among other venues, Syd’s simple but striking poems have been used by Arts For All (arts-for-all.org), a NYC nonprofit arts education group, in two city elementary schools to help teach the basics of collage, drawing and painting; music; and theater. The teaching artists incorporated these visual poems into their lesson plans and used them as teaching tools. The students, mostly second-graders, also wrote their own haiku.

ME: EXACTLY! That’s what I thought as soon as I saw this book! I think every elementary school should have this book on the shelf and use it as a teaching tool.

And here are a few more thoughts from Amy:

  • Syd’s commitment to the craft of this lovely poetic form, haiku (“haiku” is both singular and plural) — which captures what I call “nature in nuggets,” as well as amusing facets of human nature (that is, senryu – also both singular and plural) –- spanned several decades. Some of her work for adults was published years ago, in journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.; and in influential books, including the Haiku Anthology and Haiku Handbook. One of her senryu also was featured in an unusual 1994 public art project, Haiku on 42nd Street, in which the marquees of abandoned movie theaters in the Times Square area were transformed into “frames” for the display of micropoetry.
  • A school teacher (i.e., English, literacy, and also adult ESL), I think Syd wrote a number of her compact yet evocative poems with children in mind.
  • As for myself, I tend to view haiku as poetic mindfulness. By its very brevity, the form encourages us to slow down, linger, and pay attention with all our senses to “small,” “everyday” moments. 
  • I think that just about any observation or impression can spark a haiku.
  • Haiku is also a kind of “eco-literacy”: a way, through “word-pictures,” to cultivate an appreciation for our surroundings. 
  • I have heard and read haiku described as “one-breath poetry.”

WOW! Thank you so much, Amy. I know everyone is applauding both your mother who wrote these amazing haiku and you who persevered and followed your dream of seeing her work published. 

And, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.

Have a wonderful week. I’ll be flying to see family in Chicago on Thursday…but I’ve already scheduled the Friday and Saturday posts when the fabulous Chris Mihaly and her awesome book, HEY, HEY, HAY! will be in the PPBF and WWFC spotlight.