Friday, October 25, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Birdsong by Julie Flett

TITLE: Birdsong
PUBLISHER: Greystone Kids, 2019

JACKETFLAP: When a young girl moves to her new home far away from the sea, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. 

As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend?

Award-winning Cree-Metis author Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the joys of inter-generational friendship and shared passions. 


1.    It's lovely and lyrical book about a rare and beautiful friendship. 
2.    There are few books which highlight Native American characters and its nice to see that this one does. 
3.    This book is a soothing portrayal of loss and how to look at it in an honest and reverent perspective that leaves room for healing. 

BONUS TAKEAWAY: It is written in a way that really appeals to adults as well, so it is a wonderful book to be shared between adult and child. 

Buy the book here:


Thursday, October 24, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: All Colors by Amalia Hoffman (Board Book)

Image result for all colors by amalia hoffman

TITLE: All Colors
PUBLISHER: Schiffer Kids, 2019

JACKETFLAP: This board book introduces children to COLORS and textures while conveying a message about friendship, tolerance and inclusion. Each page introduces a new color, creating the image of a boy. Different strokes make up each body part, and at the end the boy joins his friends, all made of different combinations, leading him to the discovery that friends come in all colors.

Image result for all colors by amalia hoffman


1.    It's a unique portrayal of colors.
2.    It fosters creativity and inspires related activities.
3.    It inspires us to embrace differences.

See the author perform!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

CHECK OUT: My Interview in the Palm Beach Post

Check out My Latest Interview, in South Florida's Palm Beach Post!

THREE REASONS TO READ: Little Red Rhyming Hood by Sue Fliess Illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis

TITLE: Little Red Rhyming Hood
AUTHOR: Sue Fliess
ILLUSTRATOR: Petros Bouloubasis
PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Company, 2019


Red only speaks in rhyme. 
And now she's bullied all the time. 

Little Red's poetry skills make her a target for Big Brad Wolf -- and friendless. But one afternoon, she hears about a rhyming contest that could change everything.

Maybe I'll meet kids like me, 
who also speak in poetry!

Then Brad sneaks up and scares the rhyme right out of her and into him!

Help me! Make it go away!
I don't want to rhyme all day!

Can they learn to work together to right the rhyme?


1.    Such a clever, modern fracture of the Little Red Riding Hood tale.
2.    Such a clever twist for a bullying tale.
3.    Such a satisfying resolution.

BONUS REASON: We should always try to walk in someone else's shoes before putting them down. Also, working together is better than working against one another.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Just Read with Lori Degman


by Lori Degman

When I do school visits, I am usually asked “How long does it take to write your stories?”  And my answer is always, “It depends on the story.”  I spent several years revising my first book,1 Zany Zoo, and it was many more years before it was published.  In contrast, I spent five months revising Just Read and it sold about nine months later.  Sometimes a story just pours onto the page without the struggle others impose. I think one reason Just Read was easier to write and edit is because it doesn’t have a true story arc – and plotting is usually what slows me down.

Here’s how the story came about: 
Growing up, reading was hard for me – I was always in the lowest reading group.  Actually, I’m still a really slow reader.  It wasn’t until I discovered the type of books I really love to read (murder mysteries with short chapters and anything by Stephen King) and figured out the best place and ways for me to read (i.e.: not laying down or I’ll fall asleep), that I started to enjoy reading. Because of this, I wanted to write a story that would encourage kids to read – and to do it any way they want or can. JUST READ!  I wrote my first draft as more of a traditional story about a girl who has just learned how to read and loves it so much, she reads anything and everything she sees – cereal boxes, washing instruction tags on clothes, street signs.  It gets out of control because she just can’t stop reading**.  While writing that story, I thought it might be better to have a group of diverse kids who love to read and have a book club in a tree fort. Then I got the idea to break it down into when, where, what, how and with whom you can read.  At that point, it was just a matter of creating reading scenarios with those things in mind. 
**I’ve started working on that story again – so I call DIBS!
I shared the manuscript with my critique groups and other writer-friends and got some helpful feedback and a lot of encouragement to send it out – so I did and Meredith Mundy (then at Sterling) bought it.  Sterling found the perfect illustrator – Victoria Tentler-Krylov!  She had just been a runner up in the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Winter Conference Portfolio Showcase.  She topped herself this year – she was the grand prize winner of the showcase this past February!  So, needless to say, the illustrations for Just Read are amazing!

I want to give a shout out to SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) because they’ve been instrumental in most of my publishing successes!  Here’s how they were involved with Just Read.  I had attended the SCBWI-New Jersey annual conference in 2015 and did a “First Pages” session with Sterling editor, Meredith Mundy, and another editor.  I was happy when they laughed in all the right places, but they both seemed uninterested in seeing more of the manuscript – or more from me.  I’m a professional rejectee, so I took it in my stride.  Well, five months later, I received an email from Meredith asking if the story was still available and to send it if it was.  Of course it was available (and it still is in case any editors are interested J)!  I sent her the story, and she took a pass, but invited me to send more manuscripts.  I did and one of them was Just Read.  

She also accepted my upcoming book, Like a Girl, which came out in August.  Thanks, SCBWI!

BIO: Lori Degman is a teacher for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students. She is the winner of Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author contest. Lori has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Learn more about her at:

Monday, October 21, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Just Read by Lori Degman with Illustrations by Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Image result for just read

Title: Just Read
Author: Lori Degman
Illustrator: Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books, 2019

Jacket Flap: Join the bookworms in this fun rhyming 
story and just read! 

Wherever you are, you're never really alone when you 
read a book. Let your imagination lead the way and 
bring the characters to life -- just like the avid readers 
in this story. 


1.   Wonderfully rhythmic rhyme. 
2.   Ideas for opportunities to spend time reading. 
3.   The mention of all kinds of people, places and things that you can read about. 

BONUS REASON: My favorite line is this: I read about places where I've never been So the best thing is 
that this book captures the joy of reading and reminds of how wonderful an experience it is! 



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

TRAILER REVEAL: Let's Eat! Mealtime Around the World by Lynne Marie

So excited to reveal the trailer of my latest book with the wonderful BEAMING BOOKS, publisher of my holiday book THE STAR IN THE CHRISTMAS PLAY...
LET'S EAT! MEALTIME AROUND THE WORLD, illustrated by the fabulous Parwinder Singh!

Take a L@@K!


Thank you for your continued support!
Lynne Marie

Friday, October 11, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Where Are You From by Yamile Saied Mendez

Title: Where Are You From?
Illustrator: Jaime Kim
Publisher: Harper Collins 2019

Jacket Flap: When a young girl is asked where she is 
from -- where she's really from -- she's no longer as 
sure as she was. She decides to turn to her dear abuelo 
for some help with this ever-persistent question. But he 
doesn't quite give her the answer she expects. 

Yamile Saied Mendez's lyrical text and Jaime Kim's 
stunning illustrations celebrate the importance of family,  
love and home through embracing one's rich heritage and culture. 


1.    I really love that although the heritage in this book is Spanish, in the end, it emphasizes: "he points 
       to his heart. You're from here, from my love and the love of all those before us, from those who 
       dreamed of you..."
2.    I enjoyed the cultural flavor of the Pampas. 
3.   I loved the collaboration between the Argentinian author and South Korean illustrator that resulted 
      in this beautiful book. 

BONUS REASON: It inspired me to draft a picture book manuscript which shares about my culture. My 
Mormor would be proud.  


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees by Vincent X. Kirsch

Author/Illustrator: Vincent X. Kirsch
Publisher: Abrams Books, 2019

Jacket Flap:
Hang on tight with both hands. 
Take it one branch at a time. 
Letting go will be the hardest part...

Roger and Adelia are the very best of friends. They've spent many springtimes collecting birds' nests, autumns jumping into piles of colorful leaves, and winters building snowmen. When Adelia has to move away, the two friends must say goodbye. However, she has a parting gift. She will teach Roger how to climb a tree and fall safely. But how do you learn to let go? Adelia makes sure that, for Roger, falling will be the easiest part. 

A tender tale for anyone who's ever had to say goodbye to a friend, How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees captures the bittersweet emotions of growing up and moving forward. 


1.    A problem kids (and adults) can identify with! 
2.    Such a sweet and tender (and clever) treatment of the problem that's kid-friendly and not at all preachy. 
3.    Wonderful, accessible art that also works to make the story accessible.  

BONUS REASON: TREES -- trees are so important and the cornerstone to this book. We need more trees! 


Thursday, October 3, 2019

2019 CYBILS - Bring On the Books! Call for Nominations

I am excited to have been appointed as a Cybils Fiction Picture Book and Board Book Round 1 Judge -

Congratulations to all who are serving on this year's panels! 

IMPORTANTLY, Cybils Nominations are open until October 15, 2019. We can nominate one book in each category. 

As much as I would have appreciated it, PLEASE do DO NOT nominate my books as I will have to disqualify them due to fact that I am serving on the panel. 

Take a moment and see what's been nominated and add YOUR pick! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Flower Talk - How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Lynne Marie

Author: Sara Levine
Illustrator: Marsha D'yans
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2019

Jacket Flap:

Psst! DID YOU KNOW PLANTS CAN TALK? It's true! Plants use colors of their flowers to communicate with animals. Because they help plants make seeds by moving pollen from one flower to another.  Learn the secrets of flower talk from a narrator with an inside scoop!


1.    The narrator is a cactus! 
2.    The information is important AND engaging.
3.    The art and presentation is amazing! 

BONUS REASON: Bees -- Bees are so very important. Be kind to them and all living things! There's so much more I can say about this book with it's truly beautiful illustrations. It's a necessary book. Read it. Share it. Preserve plants and insects! 


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