TARA LUEBBE: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies







Our Will Write for Cookies guest is on fire! Entering her debut picture book year with TWO entries, she has another already in the pipeline for 2019 and another for 2020! WOW! You can see why I wanted to have her stop by to chat with us!


Tara Luebbe is an ex-retailer turned picture book author. She co-writes with her sister Becky Cattie. They are the authors of I AM FAMOUS, illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff; SHARK NATE-O, illustrated by Daniel Duncan; I USED TO BE FAMOUS, illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff, (Albert Whitman Spring 2019); and CONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020). You can learn more at beckytarabooks.com and you can find her on Twitter @t_luebbe.

Tara, thank you so much for spending your precious time with us. I know everyone is excited to learn more about you, so let’s get started.

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

TARA: My favorite picture book author was Jolly Roger Bradford, and I still love The Flying Hockey Stick and Pickle Chiffon Pie. When I became an independent reader, I devoured all things Hardy Boys, the Betsy Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace, and the Black Hand Gang books by Hans Jurgen Press.

Shark Nate-O cvr (1)

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

TARA: I wish I had known that it’s very difficult to feel successful in this business as the bar never stops moving. When I was unpublished, the goals were simple: get an agent and sell a book. But now that I have done those things, there are new goals. So it’s hard to simply stop and smell the roses. Also the rejections and things that make you feel insecure don’t go away.

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

TARA: I always write on a laptop. I wish I could take the laptop outside some days, but the glare problem never quite works out for me. I have commandeered our dining room as my “office.”

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


TARA: I work every day from the time my kids are off to school until they return around 3pm. I usually get in another hour of something writing related after my boys are in bed, from around 9pm to 10pm. Most of this time is not spent on actual writing, however. Launching two books this year, most of my “work” has to do with marketing and other necessary, related items. As far as writing new stories, I don’t do it until I have an idea that is fairly developed in my brain. As soon as the marketing phase calms down, I need to come up with a system that allows me to spend more distraction- free time working on new ideas. And I am a bit unique in that I have a co-author, my sister Becky Cattie. Becky has a day job, so I try to leave her alone as much as possible during the weekdays. Then on the weekends she will review everything I have queued up for her. But if we have urgent issues or edits due, we will jump on the phone during the week.

ME: Why do you write for children?

TARA: I write for children because those are the books I have a natural aptitude for. I owned a children’s toy and bookstore in my previous life, so I was immersed in picture books both at home with my children and at work. I understand them the best and felt a calling to try to write them myself.

I_Am_Famous (2)

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 🙂

TARA: If you are an aspiring picture book writer or illustrator, please check out my website (www.beckytarabooks.com) for information on Writing with the Stars, a free mentorship program for picture book writers and illustrators.

Oh yes…everyone…if you don’t know about Tara’s amazing WRITING WITH THE STARS mentorship program, please bookmark that website and check it out. I know quite a few kidlit friends who can’t say enough wonderful things about how much they loved it! Working one on one with a pro is such a gift…THANK YOU, Tara, for providing the platform for writers to connect and learn and grow in their craft.

And Tara is sweet in other ways as well. she’s waiting to share a GLUTEN FREE NO BAKE cookie recipe…take it away, Tara!

TARA: I had to go gluten-free last year so I don’t bake much anymore, but this is a childhood favorite that I can still eat. These taste better than they look!


Unbaked Oatmeal Balls

¼ c. butter

¾ c. sugar

½ c. grated raw apple

1 ½ T. cocoa powder

1 ½ c. quick cooking rolled oats

¼ t. salt

½ c. chopped raisins

½ t. vanilla

(optional powdered sugar)

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar, apple, cocoa and salt. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add oatmeal, raisins and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. When cold, roll into balls and roll into powdered sugar if desired.

What a fabulous recipe for parents to try with young kids. Gluten-free…and No-Bake…what a great combination!

I think I will give it a try this weekend…my 9-year old grandson is sleeping over tonight…and I have all of the ingredients!

Thank you, all, for stopping by and spending time here. And I know we all thank Tara for sharing her journey with us. Please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of SHARK NATE-O.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SHARK NATE-O Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends.

First, some announcements.

Congratulations to Amber Hendricks. She was the winner of Patricia Valdez’ wonderful JOAN PROCTOR, DRAGON DOCTOR…and she has already received it…thank you so much, Patricia…you are FAST!

And the winner of Laura Sassi’s DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE is…

ANNE IVERSON…Congratulations, Anne…I’ll connect you and Laura so she can mail you the book.

Today’s wonderful picture book is by debut picture book author, Tara Luebbe and her sister, Becky Cattie. And guess what? Tara and her sister have TWO picture book debuting this year! And guess what else? Tara will be stopping by to chat with us tomorrow and share a yummy gluten-free recipe for a cookie that doesn’t have to be baked. AND, can you stand one more piece of awesomeness? Tara is graciously offering a copy of SHARK NATE-O as a giveaway prize. So, please don’t forget to leave a comment today and tomorrow. 

Shark Nate-O cvr (1).jpg


Written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie

Illustrated by Daniel Duncan

Published by Little Bee Books (April 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Swimming, sharks, overcoming fears

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Nate loves sharks. He reads shark books every day, watches sharks on TV, and talks about them nonstop. He even likes to pretend he’s a shark wherever he goes! However, there is one small problem. . . .

Nate can’t swim.

When his older brother points this out, Nate works hard to overcome his fears and learn how to blow bubbles, use a kickboard, and finally swim without help, as quickly and as gracefully as a shark. Will he be able to beat his brother in a swim tryout and get his bite back? Kids will love this jawsome book complete with vibrant and whimsical art and a list of shark facts in the back!

Why I like this book:

  • I totally identify with Nate…I, too, was a nonswimmer…and had to overcome my fear of the water when I took swimming in high school and college. I’m still not a fan, but perhaps I could save myself if I had to.
  • Great text from the opening lines to the satisfying ending.
  • Super cool illustrations.


fingerprint shark art for kids

For detailed instructions, please go to: www.frogsandsnailsandpuppydogtail.com

Please make sure you leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. And come come tomorrow to join us for Tara’s Q&A on Will Write for Cookies. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

If you have a few minutes, don’t forget that writing a review on a book site like Amazon or Goodreads is a wonderful gift to your favorite author.

And for more picture book reviews and activities, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.