Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Blog Tour

Hold onto your hats, dear friends. This Perfect Picture Book Friday post is JAM-PACKED!

First of all, the winners of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest have been announced. There were 145 entries…if you’d like to read some of them, hop on over:

Because Susanna is one of the most generous and loving mentors in this kid lit community, in addition to the top winners, she also awarded a bunch of honorable mentions. And I’m thrilled to have gotten one of those. I even get to pick a prize…a choice from several books on the craft of writing. Putting your work out there can be scary, even if it’s not Halloween, but it’s a great way to grow as a writer and connect with others who are traveling the same path.

Another way to grow as a writer is to participate in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. The daily inspirational blog posts of Picture Book Idea Month will knock your socks off and get those creative juices flowing!

A third way to grow as a writer is to read lots and lots of picture books. And that brings us to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for this week, which, by the way, got a starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist! But I told you this post would be JAM-PACKED, right?

The author of today’s book, Laurie Wallmark, invited me to be part of her book blog tour. I am thrilled! At the end of the post you can find the link to the other blogs that are participating…I hope you will travel along. PLUS, Laurie has agreed to share some thoughts about Five Important Women in STEM. You’ll find her guest post after the book review. I know many of you are writing nonfiction picture books…or reading them to your kids. Laurie’s debut picture book is a delight and her post is fantastic!

Ada cover 72dpi

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Written by Laurie Wallmark

Illustrated by April Chu Continue reading

Tara Lazar: Will Write for Cookies








Before the internet, if a writer wanted to connect with another writer, a trip to a known literary hangout might have to be made. Fortunately, we have the world-wide web now, filled with authors and illustrators who blog. One of the most generous and knowledgeable of those is our guest today. Tara Lazar, author, mom, entrepreneur and founder of the famous PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) is smart, savvy and spunky. I know there are quite a few published picture books out there now that got their start as ideas in aspiring authors’ PiBoIdMo notebooks.



Welcome, Tara! I really appreciate your being here. I know how busy you are, so I’ll get to the interview right away.

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

Tara: Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and William Steig. I was fascinated with Steig’s “CDB”. I thought it was marvelous that I could speak only in letters and make complete sense! Dahl, for me, was wickedly good because he seemed to know so much about how children thought, how I thought. His adult villains were always so despicable—brilliant! He taught me not only do you need a character to root for, but someone to root against!


ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

Tara: That it’s not about selling a book to a publisher, it’s about selling a book to a child. That seems like a very simple thing to understand, a given, but I think you get so caught up in chasing this dream in the beginning, that you lose sight of who you’re truly writing for. The children must come first.


ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? Continue reading

Don’t Be Afraid…Go Ahead…Write Picture Books!

Picture Books are…fun to read, a pleasure to look at, educational, wonderful to listen to.

Picture Books can: encourage a special bonding between parent and child, teach children about the world, help kids with the challenges they face.

I love to write and I love picture books…so I’ve taken the plunge and put myself out there several times in the past year, participating in a couple of writing contests.

If you’d like to read the EIGHT finalists’ entries (mine is among them 🙂 in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest, you can visit her blog and vote for the one you like best.  Maybe you will be inspired to enter the next contest!

If you need more encouragement, you can check out Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) where you will find amazing posts every day this month that will give you golden nuggets of inspiration to get you started and keep you going.

And if you just like to read them to kids, you can visit Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book resource page where she adds dozens of picture book reviews (with activities) every Friday or hop over to Dianne de Las Casas Picture Book Month website where every day this month she is featuring guest posts on the importance and joy of picture books, or check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, where you will find 100 classic picture book summaries with both a craft and a cooking activity for each…you can also follow my new weekly YouTube series, SHOW ME HOW: PICTURE BOOKS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS.

By the way, Tuesday was Election Day in the U.S….I hope everyone voted…it is a precious right and we should cherish it!