Ariel Bernstein: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies






I met Ariel a couple of years ago while participating in many of the kidlitland writing challenges. Then, when my debut picture book was scheduled to launch this year, I joined PICTURE THE BOOKS 2017, the group founded by Ariel, Katey Howes and Julie Segal Waters.  And even when my book got pushed, they let me stay in the group…which just goes to show you what an awesome person Ariel is.

Ariel Bernstein is a children’s book author. Her debut picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, illustrated by Scott Magoon, releases Sept. 26, 2017. Her chapter book series, WARREN AND DRAGON, illustrated by Mike Malbrough, will be published Summer 2018.

Ariel, I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar.

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

ARIEL: My parents had a book of Russian folk tales that I read and reread many times. I thought that Baba Yaga was the creepiest villain and it felt kinda crazy that she was allowed to be in a children’s book, which made the stories all the more enticing. The illustrations, by Ivan Bilibin, are incredible.

baba yaga.jpg

And I loved Beverly Cleary’s RAMONA books. Ramona was also a younger sister, so I felt like I was seeing myself in some of those situations. I appreciated that she was a relatable kid in so many ways – she didn’t always do or say the right thing, but she always felt real.


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

ARIEL: When I first started writing, I heard a lot about writers who write every day, no matter what. So I thought I needed to do that. I ended up getting burnt out and not enjoying the process at times. I realized it’s 100% fine to take a break and then go back to writing. Every writer works differently. For some, it really does help to write every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. For me, breaks help me to write with a clearer mind and more creative energy.

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

ARIEL: I like to write on my laptop while inside, usually in my living room. I often think of my best ideas while walking though, so I’ll take my phone and every once in a while I’ll have to stop to write something quickly in the notes, otherwise I’ll forget it by the end of the walk!


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

ARIEL: I try to get most of my writing done in the morning or early afternoon during the week before getting my kids from school. I wish I was one of those writers that can grab 10 minutes here or there to write, but I need a big block of time to devote to writing.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ARIEL: I love reading books when you can practically hear the narrator dictating the words aloud, such as stories by David Sedaris. With picture books and chapter books, they actually do get read out loud by parents, teachers, librarians, and beginning readers. So it’s fun to write them knowing the reader will often get the experience of hearing the voice and tone interpreted by whoever is reading it.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, ARIEL! I loved getting to know you a little better…I can’t believe that Baba Yaga was your go-to book when you were young…MINE, TOO!!!!

Dear friends, Ariel is generously offering a giveaway of a copy of I HAVE A BALLOON. Please leave a comment here or on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of the book. Her book is available for preorder on Amazon or at Indie bookstores everywhere…and remember…a review on Amazon or Goodreads is a gift of love for your favorite books.

book cover

You can find more about Ariel at, and on Twitter and Instagram @ArielBBooks.

And now…drum roll please! Time for Ariel’s favorite cookie recipe!

Super Chocolate-y Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 300


1/2 lb butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 TBS milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 3/4 cups oatmeal

2 cups ground walnuts (optional)

2 packagas chocolate chips


Melt the butter

Beat together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar

Add the mixture to milk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat together.

Add and beat together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Stir in oatmeal, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

Cool the batter for two hours.

Bake for 20 minutes (or until done).

YUM…those sound

This past week has been a nightmare for many in Texas and surrounding areas. Please keep them in your prayers and help in any way you can. Many kidliters are banding together to raise money. The fabulous Kate Messner has a KIDLITCARES auction going on with fantastic items like critiques and more: KidLitCares Hurricane Harvey relief effort

Thank you for spending some of your precious time here, dear friends…we’ve got several treats in store next week when PENNY PARKER KLOSTERMANN is in the house…and then a dynamic duo Q&A over the weekend with author NANCY CHURNIN  and illustrator DANNY POPOVICI.



Perfect Picture Book Friday: I HAVE A BALLOON

Happy Friday dear friends! Lots of people love Friday because it signals the end of the week and for many, a couple of days off from work. But for me, it signals a chance to read and review another awesome picture book.  And tomorrow we’ll be treated to an insightful Q&A with  debut picture book author Ariel Bernstein.

But first, we have a copy of HELLO, MY NAME IS TIGER to give away.

And the winner is….

Elizabeth Curry

Congratulations, Elizabeth…I will contact you.

book cover


Written by Ariel Bernstein

Illustrated by Scott Magoon

Ages 4-8

Themes: Being happy with what you have

Opening Lines: “I have a balloon.”


From Amazon:

“Owl has a red balloon. Monkey does not. “That red balloon matches my shiny red tie,” says Monkey. “I’d look fancy walking to school with a shiny red balloon. The only thing I’ve ever wanted, since right now, is a shiny, big red balloon. It would make me SO HAPPY!” But Owl does not want to give it to him. So Monkey tries to find something that Owl wants: a teddy bear, a robot, a picture of TEN balloons. Owl does not want any of these things. But then, Monkey offers him…a sock!

Hmmmmm…Owl is intrigued. Will he trade his shiny red balloon with Monkey?”

Why I like this book:

  • Fun text!
  • Fun illustrations!
  • A message we can all relate to, parents as well as kids! And a great opportunity to talk about wanting what we have, not having what we want.

Related Activities


Balloon-Bowl-6Photo  courtesy:

You will need: 1 balloon (inflated), colored paper, scissors, glue.

For detailed instructions:

Just like the characters in I HAVE A BALLOON, kids often want what others have. This book is a perfect launchpad for a discussion about being happy with what you have. Perhaps this balloon bowl can serve as a blessing bowl for your child. Help your child fill out slips of paper with things he/she is grateful for and place them in the bowl.

By the way, dear friends, thanks to debut picture book author Ariel Bernstein, we have a giveaway of a copy of I HAVE A BALLOON. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered. And remember…the greatest gift you can give an author, other than buying their book and reading it to a child, is to write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Don’t forget to be back tomorrow when Ariel stops by to chat and to share a super recipe for a fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipe…this one is made with OATMEAL!

Be safe this last weekend of summer…and please join me in praying for all who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey…those who have lost everything…those who have left safe havens to help others…so many kidliters I know live RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT! Keeping you all close to my heart! Author Kate Messner has organized a KIDLITCARES auction to benefit the Red Cross Relief effort for Hurricane Harvey…please visit and bid: KidLitCares auction for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts