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Happy Book Birthday: DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends!

I know all about birthdays – I’ve had 71 of them! But there is nothing like the first one. And that’s why I’m so thrilled to wish a big Happy Book Birthday to:

DIYCircusLab_Cover_FRONT 320x240

And big congratulations to author and circus-guru, Jackie Leigh Davis.

Are you a  camp director or counselor, looking for a great program to offer the kids?

Are you a teacher or after-school center youth leader needing a new activity?

Are you a parent looking to do something fun-filled and family-friendly with your children?

This book is a hands-on, step-by-step guide with easy instructions and clear photos that demonstrate each juggling, balancing, clowning, and show-making activity.

Jackie is one of my local SCBWI buddies and I’m totally excited to attend her book signing event at the Toadstool Bookstore in Milford, NH on Saturday, February 17th from 2-4pm. Yes, that’s right! It’s in only a couple of days. So if you are local to the Milford area, why not stop in and say hello! Toadstool is our wonderful Indie bookstore where I get to hang out with my local writer buddies sometimes.

By the way, I plan to buy a copy of DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS while I’m at Jackie’s book signing and I’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner! So, if you’d like to win that signed copy, please leave a comment below…and for an extra entry, come back on Saturday when Jackie stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies.

And please make sure you are here on Friday. I’ll be posting a special Perfect Picture Book Friday with a peek inside this year’s guidelines for the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge. There will be some awesome prizes, including a critique with my wonderful agent, Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

A bit of news from me on the book front: I just got to see the tentative cover for the counting book that Pomegranate Books bought. My fellow Storm teammate, Mirka Hokannen is illustrating and oh my gosh…she is amazing! And the story that used to be called Visitors to Deep Pool is now entitled…hmmm…maybe we’ll have to have a TITLE REVEAL sometime down the road. The book hasn’t been announced yet, hopefully any day. But I have to tell you, it is heaven when author, illustrator, and editor are able to collaborate together…that is a recipe for a beautiful book!

I know many of you are participating in Susanna’s Valentiny Contest…there is still time to enter…or you can just hop over to read some of the wonderful stories.

Melissa Stoller: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway


Plate of Cookies




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What a joy it is to connect with those in the kidlit community! I’d seen Melissa’s name as a participant in many of the challenges. I’d read her comments on blog posts. And when I discovered she had a new chapter book series launching, I knew I’d want to invite her to be my guest.

Melissa Stoller is the author of the debut chapter book THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND (Clear Fork Publishing, July 2017); the debut picture book OLIVE’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Clear Fork, March, 2018); and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: THE LIBERTY BELL TRAIN RIDE (Clear Fork, April 2018).  She is also the co-author of THE PARENT-CHILD BOOK CLUB: CONNECTING WITH YOUR KIDS THROUGH READING (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, an Admin for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and an Assistant for Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy. Melissa writes parenting articles, and has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy. When not writing or reading, she can be found exploring NYC with family and friends, travelling, and adding treasures to her collections.

ME: I’m so thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Melissa!

MELISSA: First, I’m so honored to be chatting with you on your Will Write for Cookies Blog, Vivian! I’m a huge fan! You are the sweetest cheerleader for the KidLit World and I love your #50 Precious Words Writing Challenge. Also, I have benefited from your excellent critiques. I hope to meet you in person one day soon!

ME: I really appreciate your kind words, Melissa…and I’m sure we will meet…maybe at a conference one day soon!

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

MELISSA: I had so many favorite authors and books when I was a child! I loved the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (I still love a good mystery). I also enjoyed The All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor (I still enjoy inter-generational family stories) and Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hillary Knight (Eloise is the classic precocious imp! My children and I loved the Eloise Tea at The Plaza in New York City). And of course anything and everything by Judy Blume! All these stories and more informed my own writing style. Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Enchanted Snowglobe Collection – Return to Coney Island PLUS Giveaway

Oh my goodness….we are taking a slight detour from our usual picture book review because, when I heard that there was a chapter book about Coney Island, I knew I had to share it with all of you.  I grew up in New York City…and Coney Island was a favorite desitination during the summer months for my family.

img048Yup, that’s me, at about 18-months old, not a fan of the sand.

These days, even younger kids are enjoying chapter books, either reading them or listening to them. If you are a fan of The Magic Tree House series, I think you will be head over heels in love with THE SNOWGLOBE COLLECTION.

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Written by Melissa Stoller

Illustrated by Callie MetlerSmith

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (August 2017)

Opening Lines:

“Ha! I won again,” said Emma. She reached her grandmother’s door just before her twin brother, Simon.”


Family, time-travel


From Amazon:

They thought it was an
 ordinary sleepover . . . 

When nine-year-old twins Emma and Simon shake a snow globe from their grandmother’s enchanted collection, they are transported back to Coney Island on June 24, 1928. According to family legend, that’s the day their great-grandparents meet on the Coney Island trolley. But if events don’t work exactly as they’re supposed to, the meeting won’t take place and the twins might never be born. After a day of adventures – from the Cyclone roller coaster to the boardwalk arcade, and finally to the all-important trolley ride – will the twins help make it happen? Read the rest of this entry

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