Y'all. I don't have much time to sit and read most days, so I listen to audiobooks. I typically read them at 1.5-2x speed. That sounds fast, but most audiobooks are read by the voice actors at a slower than normal rate. I listen any time I'm doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, yard work, etc. I was solely using Audible, but it's SO expensive when you're reading multiple books a month. One of my friends (shout out to Kerry!) told me about a FREE app that gets you FREE e-books and audiobooks. WHAT? I was skeptical, but it's true. All you need is a library card to use the Libby app. If your library has the book available on "Overdrive" then the book will be available to you on the app. The app could use some improvements in navigation, but it's free, so I don't complain. Very popular books might require a waiting period until an electronic copy opens up. You can put that book on hold and pick up another book in the meantime. But wait... it's not just for adults. You can find plenty of kid lit on the app, including audiobooks. My kids are currently on book #13 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We listen to it anytime we are in the car.
Speaking of FREE stuff... Chances are your local library is doing a lot of cool, free activities this summer. Our library is fairly rural but is part of the greater metropolitan library system in our area. Their calendar includes weekly activities for various age groups from toddler to adults. Some of the activities offered this summer for kids include an osteology museum day, Science Museum of Oklahoma day, Lego Day, an escape room, an art class taught by a local artist, a class about glass art from the Art Museum of Oklahoma, and so much more. This will keep my kids entertained while also showing them how fun the library can be. Also, they are having a summer reading event where kids earn two free books (and adults earn one book) for logging 10 hours of reading. This is a great way to avoid the "summer slide" (where children fall behind in reading over the summer).
My kids also got their own library cards last week. We have checked out so many books for them to read. One of our favorites was The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet, written by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter. It's funny, rhymes, and features poop and dinosaurs. What more could a kid ask for?
Happy reading (and saving!)
If you haven’t reviewed my previous list, check out How to Encourage Reading: Part 1. This is my second list of tips to encourage young readers.
In honor of the upcoming (official) The Toot Fairy book launch, we have a fun, farty slime recipe for you to try out! A PDF of this recipe is also found in the free printables section here: The Toot Fairy. You can also watch a video the kids and I made on my new YouTube channel (please subscribe), Facebook, and Instagram!
As mentioned in a previous blog post, having kiddos read recipes is another fun way to get them reading.
Make your own tooting slime with the Toot Fairy’s slime recipe!
Step 1. Empty both bottles of clear glue into a bowl.
Step 2. Fill one of the empty glue bottles with water. Add this water to your bowl.
Step 3. Mix together for one minute.
Step 4. (Optional) Mix in food coloring of your choice until the color is uniform throughout.
Step 5. While stirring, slowly add a small amount of liquid starch (1 teaspoon at a time) until the consistency is that of thick slime.
Step 6. Knead or work with the slime with your hands until it’s no longer sticky.
Step 7. Place your slime in a small jar or cup using your fingers/hand. A narrow cup with tall sides works the best. Friction and air exiting the cup around the slime makes the slime toot when you put your fingers into it.
Reading doesn’t always require a “book”. Incorporating play is always a great way to learn, so try out some of these sidewalk chalk games. You can get a new reader reading. For a pre-reader, this can build vocabulary and help them learn to identify colors, shapes, and letters.
IMPORTANT: Make it FUN. Don’t make it seem like work. Kids do their best “work” while playing. If your child isn’t interested, let them lead the game their way. Try different things!
What you need: Sidewalk chalk, preferably of many colors. A bean bag or other similar object that you can toss and that doesn’t bounce. In a pinch, you can fill a balloon or a small Ziplock bag with sand, sugar, or salt.
Pre-Reader Game Ideas:
Reader Game Ideas:
Raising readers can be hard. What worked for big brother might not work for little brother. What worked for your daughter last year might not work the next. That’s why having many options at your disposal is important. Here is my first list of tips to help encourage reading.
Let me know in the comments which of these tips work well for your little reader.
Check back soon for Part 2! Happy Reading!
Confession: I have not always enjoyed reading, but I have always enjoyed writing. I've been writing stories, poems, and drawing since I can remember. While I was an early reader, it wasn't something I wanted to do on my own with my free time. I wanted to be outside playing, making up my own stories in my head. It wasn't until high school literature class that I actually found THE book that made me a reader: Sophie's Choice. And it wasn't until 2019 that I reinvigorated that love of reading by listening to Harry Potter books on Audible. That relit two things: A love of reading and a love of writing. From there, COVID gave me the extra time I needed to make something happen. Now that life is sort of returning back to normal, I have less time. Things are slowing down a bit on my writing.
Cheap and easy.
But all this got me to thinking a few months ago... maybe my kids would also benefit from writing. So we started small, and I do mean small. Like cheap, easy. I like cheap and easy. It sounds terrible, but it's easy... and cheap. You get me? I literally took some printer paper and folded it in half, then stapled it along the fold. Yes, you too can win at life by going the cheap and easy route! And those books will be so precious. And numerous. My kids have several they are still working on from time to time and many others they've completed.
It gets your child to do many things:
2) Tell a story,
3) Use their creativity and imagination,
4) Use their fine motor skills,
5) Use both sides of their brain to write and illustrate their story,
6) Give their language skills a boost.
After trying their hand at writing, you may also see that they start pointing out structure and other things they observe when they read books.
My youngest cannot write or read yet, but he can tell me a story in one of two ways:
1) He tells me and I write it down so he can illustrate it, or
2) He illustrates it and then verbally tells me about his illustrations and the story in his book.
Flagrant foul? Yep. Shameless plug. Absolutely. I did just seriously use a picture of MY book above. It's what I used to give the illustrator the same vision I had in my head for The Toot Fairy. Yes, this is an abuse of power to show you illustrations to my book (that you should totally purchase). But my illustrations were cute, right? Almost as cute as some of the books my kids have made.
But let's just say you're feeling a little extra today. I got you! Grab some of your construction paper and all that scrapbook paper you are NEVER going to use. Seriously. You will never use it. Give it to your kids. They will think they won the paper lottery. In fact, haul in all the craft supplies you can think of and just let them dream up a beautiful story. Who cares if their cover is 3D with pom poms on it. But hear this, you and only you can prevent awful burns with the hot glue gun (and get some silicone finger covers on Amazon--trust me, those are amazing!)
But if you want to keep the book 2D, offer construction paper for the cover, white paper for the interior. Grab a laminator to laminate the cover (I got one for $13 at Walmart, and we've used it a lot!) You can even use contact paper if you wish (I only know this because Pinterest says so and someone long ago let my brother make one that was super cool).) You can fold and staple or hole punch and tie this baby together. And your child will feel absolutely amazing, like they just conquered the world by writing their very first book. Trust me. It's worth all the scrapbook paper. All. of. it.
This one is a real keeper.
You might remember from a previous blog post, I mentioned Illustory. I loved the very idea that my child could create a book and then have a professional, bound, hardcover book delivered in a matter of a few weeks. So, I got one for each of my children for Christmas. My 8yo daughter wanted to immediately begin the writing process, but we had other Christmases to attend. But by the early part of January, she had completed her book. We just got it back this week. That was a long wait, but it was worth it! My 5yo son created a few weeks after my daughter, so his is still being created.
Needless to say, this is my new favorite gift to give. It's affordable, and it comes with literally everything your child needs (though I strongly recommend including a picture of your child, which is optional. They put this picture on the back cover with the 'About the Author' info. It's adorable). Your child creates it. You mail it in a postage paid envelope. You wait a few weeks, and then you both get to experience the magic! I wish you could have seen my daughter's eyes LIGHT UP when she saw her very own professionally bound book arrive. It was magic! It was like Disney World in our house for a while, as she showed off her new and beautiful book.
The above product is called Illustory, but Lulu Jr also offers My Comic Book for budding comic book writers. You can order Illustory and My Comic Book on Lulujr.com or on Amazon.com.
Happy reading (and writing!)
It’s a cold, dreary day today, so we had a book scavenger hunt. Maybe you remember doing these types of scavenger hunts in your school library. There was a particularly hard set of questions that required us to use the card catalog indexing system. *shivers* We had fun memories back in the stone ages, right?
Here are some of the scavenger hunt prompts I used with my kids that I tailored to our own book collection. You can create your own scavenger book hunt with books you own.
So many updates to give:
1) The Toot Fairy: It's in pre-order status. This is your chance to get it hand-signed by the author (me). I'm only having books shipped to me that were pre-ordered and that I'll be donating to libraries and schools.
2) A Splash of Sass - Sassafras Gets a Puppy: Illustrations have begun, and already we have 2 finished interior illustrations. As a chapter book, this will have line art illustrations for each chapter, plus full color cover. Watch for sneak peeks on my social media 'stories'.
3) How Zebras Lost Their Colors: This one heads to illustrations next, after Sass is complete. It'll be another picture book, which means full color illustrations.
4) The Bravest Bug and Wishing Stars: These have been out of editing for a while, but are not yet lined up for illustration work. It may not happen this year because clearly I have my hands full already.
5) The Third Path: This is my YA novel. I'm in love with the story. I cry at least twice every time I read through it. I'm partial, of course! I spent the whole past weekend (while hubby took kids camping) doing edit revisions based on the great feedback I got from Jennifer Rees. Y'all... she loved my story, my "voice", and my writing style. I cannot wait to see where this one goes. If it goes no where, I'd still be happy!
6) The Spelling Bee: Not sure whether I'll pick this one back up or not. It's a cute story, but I'm not in love with it. I may come back to it one day and start the edit process with it <3
Our local school held a Donor’s Choose fundraiser last year to purchase a vending machine. But… it’s not just any vending machine, it’s a BOOK vending machine.
Have you seen these before?! Instead of candy or trinkets, now kids are rewarded for their good acts or other accomplishments with a book of their choice. This school-wide incentive program recognizes students’ success and promotes a love of reading. Students could earn special vending coins for attendance, AR reading points, citizenship, and more.
I’ll be contributing some of my books to the school to use as vending machine prizes. What a brilliant way to inspire children to value books, be excited to read their hard-earned prize, and to look at books as a reward, not a chore. I love it!
Interested in this product for your school?
In case you are interested, the vending machine was purchased through Global Vending
Donor’s Choose was used to gain funds for the vending machine, as well as to purchase books to stock it with. Trays within the machine can be adjusted to fit various sized books.
I’m so very excited to have this Q&A with the author of What the World Needs Now: Trees. Cheryl Rosebush is the author of What the World Needs Now environmental children’s book series (for ages 4-8). She is also a Communications Specialist on forest protection and climate change.
For more information about her, her mission, and the book series visit:
www.environmentalkids.com or www.cherylrosebush.com.
You can find Cheryl on Instagram @environmentalkidsbooks and Facebook @WhattheWorldNeedsNowbookseries too!
1. What inspired you to write this book?
After 10+ years of writing about sustainability and climate change issues for governments, international organizations and the private sector, I felt it was time to add a new audience to my repertoire. And being a mom to two curious young boys over the past six years has given me daily practice in explaining my work and why it’s important.
But if I had to pinpoint my proverbial “light bulb” moment for developing my book series, it was probably when my oldest was about 3 or 4 years old. At the grocery store, I was explaining to him why I wouldn’t buy him a cheap, plastic toy (“…because it will break, end up in the garbage, and maybe end up in the ocean where a whale might think it’s food, and eat it. And that would make the whale sick.”).
What amazed me is how easily he followed the logic. He just got it. And I realized then that we shouldn’t be waiting to talk to young kids about our environmental challenges.
Then I hit Google and Amazon in search of books that could help me with these conversations. What I quickly discovered is that there is no shortage of environmental children’s books for ages 8+, but that far less was out there to help start conversations about environmental challenges with our little ones.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So, I decided to write the children’s books I was looking for.
2. What’s your professional background?
I’m a former Canadian journalist who has spent the last decade writing about forest protection and climate change for international organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank Forest Funds and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. I’m committed to promoting better ways of living on this beautiful planet—one audience at a time.
3. My children love Jefri! He is absolutely adorable. What made you pick an orangutan to be your book’s star character?
I knew I wanted my first book in the series to be about trees, and after my World Bank mission to Sumatra in 2019, I knew I wanted my main character to be an orangutan. They literally have everything to lose by tropical forest loss. And since they share so similarities to humans, I thought an orangutan would be the perfect animal to underscore the ways in which we are all connected to trees.
4. Jane Goodall endorsed your book, which is incredible! What did that mean to you?
Everything! She is the one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) global name in nature conservation. She is strong and gentle, wise and kind. Her message of hope continues to inspire. Her tenacity, her grace-- she’s a hero in every sense of the word. The day I received her endorsement, I wrote “the best thing that could have possibly happened to my book just happened.” And that’s the truth. Her endorsement is literally the best thing that could have ever happened to my first book.
5. This is the first book in the series. What other books are you writing or planning to write?
Book 2 “What the World Needs Now: Bees!” is finalized and people can already pre-order it on EnvironmentalKids.com. We will start shipping printed copies around the 22 February 2021.
Book 3 “What the World Needs Now: Less Plastic!” is written and being illustrated as we speak. Pre-ordering will start (again on Environmentalkids.com) mid-March and we will start shipping Book 3 on Earth Day (22 April).
Book 4 “What the World Needs Now: Cleaner Energy!” will be released end of June.
And that’s all that is firm in the series as of now! My aim is to have at least five books completed and on sale by the end of 2021. The other goal for 2021 is to develop and release French and Spanish versions of all the books in the series.
Once the series is established, I plan to work with education professionals to develop curriculum based on the book series that we would make available to educators around the world.
6. What do you hope to accomplish through your book series?
To know about the climate crisis is to be profoundly scared by it, no matter how old we are. Many of us are grappling with a messy mix of emotions when it comes to the state of our planet-- anxiety, grief, ambivalence, hopelessness, numbness, or a mix of all of the above.
And as parents, educators and caregivers to young children, many of us don’t know where to begin to talk about our most pressing environmental challenges. How do we start these conversations without scaring our kids or leaving them feeling hopeless? (I wrote a blog about this too: https://www.cherylrosebush.com/blog/psychology-and-the-climate-crisis).
I’ve developed this book series to give parents and educators the right, age-appropriate starting point in these conversations. The series is designed to lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature - because you don’t protect what you don’t love. The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.
7. I was so impressed to find out your book was eco-friendly and carbon balanced. Can you tell us more about it?
Thanks! Yes, all of the books in the What the World Needs Now series adhere to the highest standards of eco-printing:
To offset emissions generated from manufacturing and shipping, the book series contributes to the World Land Trust. Adhering to these eco-standards means this book isn’t the least expensive one
you could buy, but it is a book you can feel good about buying.
Achieving these standards of eco-printing was a must-have for me. I simply had no interest in developing an environmental children’s book series that didn’t walk its talk.
8. What can children do to help the environment?
The same things we can all do! One of my favourite quotes is from Maya Angelou “Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.” So, whether you are 4 or 84, when we learn about the problem with plastic, or pesticides, or palm oil (the list goes on and on), the best thing we can do is to look for better, more sustainable alternatives. We don’t have to change everything overnight, but we do need to do better once we know better.
And what’s really important to communicate to our kids is that it’s not all up to them. None of this (ie our environmental challenges) is their doing, but we will need their help to change things for the better.
9. For children who are interested in reading more about protecting the environment, what books or magazines do you recommend?
The Jane Goodall Institute has been running an amazing global youth initiative since the early 1990s called Roots & Shoots. The program has developed so many wonderful resources to help children foster a deep connection with the natural world.
One of my favourite children’s books underscoring our connection with nature is The Great Kapok Tree- A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest. It’s so beautifully written, and it just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020.
10. If a parent wants to talk to their children about climate change and other environmental issues, what resources do you recommend?
In 2020, ClimateMama.com founder Harriet Shugarman released a book “How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change” (endorsed by Al Gore!), which is a great resource for parents, educators and caregivers.
Renowned Climate Psychologist, Dr. Renee Lertzman, did an amazing TedTalk in 2020 called “How to turn your climate anxiety into action” that I HIGHLY recommend watching. In 2020, Dr. Lertzman also launched a new initiative called Project Inside Out, which has developed great resources on climate awareness and action.
The WWF also has good resources available on their online education platform: https://www.worldwildlife.org/teaching-resources
Another great idea for parents and educators is to follow nature conservation leaders on their social media platforms, all of whom have initiatives to engage with. Dr. Jane Goodall has a new “hopecast” podcast; any one of Sir David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries, including his latest Netflix doc A Life on Our Planet; Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project; the Kiss the Ground movement, to name only a few.
Looking for some books for your loved readers for Christmas? Here are some tried and true favorites that my family loves. Honestly, this was a hard post to write because we really love a lot of books that didn't make the list!
Numbers: 10 Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
The illustrations are beautiful. The meter and rhyme make it easy to read and remember. Plus, some versions have lady bugs built into the book to give an extra tactile boost.
Alphabet: ABCs by Dr. Seuss
Seuss silliness, rhyme, and helping to identify the letters and their sounds.
Colors: Colors by Pantone
Pantone is a leader in paints so they know colors. And guess what, there are a million shades of blue, which I wanted my kids to understand. We have spent HOURS with this book. With each page we talked about the color, but we talked about every picture. If there was an animal, for example, I also asked what animal it was and what sound it made. We also used it to learn letters to words. At the back of the book are several different pictures the children like to find/point out. The book has been worth its weight in gold.
Days of the Week: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Seriously, the genius of adding holes in the book as the caterpillar eats through the days of the week...
Interactive: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Moe Willems
I rather enjoy that the kids are having to tell that mischievous pigeon ‘no’ repeatedly. This is a fun book where the kids get to yell ‘no’ at a silly pigeon who wants to drive a bus so bad. There are other Pigeon books, but this is our favorite.
Funny: Any Elephant & Piggie book by Moe Willems
Honestly, we can’t pick one. They’re silly, easy for new readers to read, and involve some great characters. I need good Elephant and Piggie voices if anyone has ideas.
Rhyming: Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
What a gifted author and illustrator Ann was. I just adore her books. If you haven’t heard Ludacris rap this book, you must stop what you are doing (after you read this post of course) and look it up online.
For early reading: Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
My oldest has read this no less than 100 times. I am not kidding. Not. Kidding. At. All. I can say it in my sleep.
Christmas funny: The Grinch who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Christmas rhyme: Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
I want to study this book. The amazing story, the rhymes, and the meter… they are perfection. It’s no wonder it’s stood the test of time.
Christmas moral: Cami and Wyatt Share the Christmas Spirit by indie author Stacy C Bauer
Stacy is an educator, and she really does an outstanding job with this book. It’s my favorite book of hers so far!
Self-love: I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson
My sister-in-law’s amazing self-confidence likely stems from this book that was her absolute favorite book growing up. So of course we got it for our kids.
Best book for character voices: Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
You’re probably going to say “Janet, you have too many Dr. Seuss books”. My mom loved his books, so I grew up on them and have an abundance in my home. However, this one is special because my elementary school library, Mrs. Huffines, read this book with the BEST voices. So, as such, I use her voices when reading this book.
Bedtime sweet: You Belong Here by MH Clark
This one is both sweet and soothing for bedtime. It makes a great gift, and it’s my husband’s favorite book ever. He orders it for new parent friends.
Bedtime sleep: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I’m nodding off just thinking about this one. My husband and I both still have it memorized.
Chapter books: Any Junie B Jones book by Barbara Park
Do I need to even explain? The sass, the wit, and the messes she gets herself into!
Graphic novels: Dog Man and Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
This author gets kids and their humor. While I’m not a huge fan of these books myself, I am wise enough to know that if my children are encouraged to read anything that I will not look that gift horse in the mouth!
Christian: This I Know by indie author Clay Anderson
Beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. It’s based on the children’s song “Jesus loves me” and explores all the ways we know God loves us.
Inclusivity: Ricky, the Rock that Couldn’t Roll by indie author Jay Miletsky
This one stresses inclusion without being too obvious and therefore has a wide range of applications. Children in schools often have no idea it was written with “disability” in mind. The author has a daughter with cerebral palsy and wanted to publish a book that didn’t give her outrageous expectations or a super hero cape but taught others to value her as she is. It’s even now available at Target!
Mischief management: How to Cure a Mine Monster by indie author Brittany Plumeri
My 5yo son loves this book. The illustrations are adorable, and the text helps children think of ways to cope with the “Mine Monster”. Instead of saying “Mine! Mine! Mine!” jump up and down and turn around and say it’s fine, fine, fine!
Scaring off the bedtime bad guys: Bed Bugs & Monster Hugs by indie author Kady Oliker
This one has a clever twist on what exactly that monster under your bed is doing. Don’t worry, it’s not scary.
Sweetest: Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
This one can be sung, and it is just the sweetest book. It’s also relatively short and has lovable illustrations.
Classroom/teacher gift: Our Classroom is a Family by indie author Shannon Olsen
Shannon is a teacher, and this book was featured on an Amazon billboard in NYC. I gifted this to my kids' teachers at the beginning of the school year. I took a sneak peek (of course), and it's a great book!
Usborne: Nibbles the Book Monster by Emma Yarlett
Usborne is a direct sales/MLM, so you may occasionally receive a party invite. Our favorite book from Usborne is Nibbles, a crazy little book eating creature that nibbles his way through the entirety of the book. While it’s impossible for a parent to know how to read the book because there is book text that he’s eating through, children will love it no matter what version of the book you read to them. There are now other Nibbles books available, and so far my children have loved them all.
Audio-book: Harry Potter book series by JK Rowling and read by Jim Dale
JK Rowling is brilliant! Jim Dale’s performance is brilliant! Even if you’ve read the books and/or watched the movies, I highly recommend listening. My kids enjoy it too, but perhaps not as much as their mom.
What books would you add? What are your family's favorites?
As part of a recent change in vision for my social media pages, I’m going to be Inspiring Young Readers. Here is my first blog post to help inspire your littlest young readers.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Tooth Fairy, and by now you’ve heard of my forthcoming book, The Toot Fairy. But have you heard of the Book Fairy? It’s a genius idea, and I just have to share it with you!
The idea is that the Book Fairy visits children to leave gifts of books on special occasions. The Book Fairy may leave the book wrapped on a nightstand with a small note, for example. Like most fun family traditions, it’s ultimately up to the creativity of the Book Fairy themselves…
Imagine you child is preparing for their first dental visit. They are nervous or not sure what to expect. Poof! The Book Fairy leaves a book just for them! They wake up to find their new book on their nightstand and eagerly run to you to read it with them. The note reads, “Sweet dear, I heard you have your first dentist appointment soon. I thought you might enjoy this book! Happy Reading, the Book Fairy.”
The Book Fairy might visit with a special book for holidays and birthdays, as well as to celebrate milestones. Here are some times the Book Fairy may want to visit:
I've been incredibly excited for November to be here. First off, it's my birthday month! Woo!
In more exciting November news: Editing for The Third Path (with the EDITOR OF THE HUNGER GAMES!!!) begins November 15th, and illustrations for The Toot Fairy begin with a different illustrator, Daniel Wlodarski, not long after that!
If I don't get around to another blog post this month, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are able to spend time with your loved ones. I wish you many blessings and a safe and happy November!
We can all agree that 2020 has been a hard year. But, when there are hard times, there are opportunities for growth. Let's say that many of us are getting so many opportunities for growth this year, myself included. However, there is always good! I want to share some of the good, bad, and ugly going on right now.
The good: My YA novel was set up to go to editing, so I inquired with my children's book editor who to consider. I inquired with five editors on Reedsy, based on her recommendation. Starting November 15, I will be working with Jennifer Rees, THE FORMER EDITOR OF THE HUNGER GAMES. Yes, I freaked out. Now, I'm not going to say that my YA novel is near Hunger Games level, but my editor IS. I'm so excited to learn anything I can from her.
Additionally, my middle grade chapter book (Sassafras Gets a Puppy) is contracted with Aleksander Jasinski (https://www.artstation.com/alexjasinski). I am hoping to snag him for my next picture book (How Zebras Lost Their Colors) as well, which just finished up in editing.
The bad: There have been some setbacks on my first book. I am looking to pivot and keep marching ahead. The Toot Fairy has been delayed until further notice, but I am hoping it'll release next year.
The ugly: By ugly, I mean ugly crying. My mom, who inspired me to chase this dream, passed away September 16, 2020 after an illness that stretched over 7 years. She leaves behind a legacy of love and education. She was a teacher for over 20 years, and she worked very hard to ensure all her children were able to go to college. I will miss her terribly. I so wish she could have seen a published book, but she knew I would do anything I put my mind to. She was proud of her children, and I was proud to have her as my mother.
Illustration work is coming in for The Toot Fairy, and I cannot wait to share with you. Here is a tiny peek! Once the illustrations are finalized, I'll be able to submit the book to a print shop. That will several, long weeks... especially during COVID. During that time I hope to start posting Pinterest projects, coloring pages, etc.
A big thank you to my fearless friends who gave me feedback on my YA novel, tentatively titled The Third Path. The children's book editor I've been working with and love so much is not specialized in YA / YA fantasy, so I'm currently seeking out a good editor for this book project.
The first chapter book (Sassafras Gets a Puppy) will be the next book to get illustrations. My second picture book is currently in the middle of edits. And let me tell you, a good rhyming book is incredibly hard to pull off. I can tell a story and rhyme, but keeping it in perfect meter is a lot harder than I realized.
1) The Toot Fairy is in the illustration phase, but Brittany has given me several sneak peeks in the past few weeks. This is the first book that I expect to launch this year. This one will be self-published so that I can retain all creative control.
2) I have an early reader chapter book that is currently in the final stages of editing. I hope that it can move to the illustration phase in a few weeks. I am using the same editor for all of my children's books. We really hit it off, and she is amazing!
3) I have three more picture books that will move to the editor after the chapter book is complete. One is about a spelling bee, another about a brave bug, and the third is about how zebras lost their colors. I expect these will likely come out in 2021. Waiting is hard!
4) My YA novel is hovering around 63k words, and I've sent it to several friends to get feedback. I'm not quite ready to send it to an editor yet, but I hope to find a YA editor and have it sent out to them by the end of the summer. My children's book editor has spoiled me, but she's given me a list of referrals to consider for this project.
Keep up with my adventures here. I'll be posting updates and fun projects for kids to do that relate to a recent children's book release. Sign up for emails on my Home page to get all the latest updates emailed to you, so you always know when new projects or updates are posted.