Friday, August 21, 2020

The Story Behind the Story of MOOTILDA by Kirsti Call

Buy Mootilda HERE:

When Mootilda wakes up on the wrong side of the barn and experiences one cow-tastrophe after another, she has to figure out how to turn her bad moooood around. 

As soon as Corey Rosen Schwartz and I brainstormed Mootilda into existence, we knew we had to write about her. We wanted to write something social emotional (since I’m a therapist) and funny (since we both love to laugh) so we filled the story with wordplay and a repeating refrain: “I’m in a bad moooood!” 

Our first version of the story involved a coyote and Mootilda saving the day by scaring him away with her bad mood. We thought the story was perfect in every way and asked our agent to send it out immediately. She sent it to three editors and when Courtney Fahy at Little Bee told us she wanted a tiny tweak, we were thrilled. But her tweak involved taking the coyote out! WHAT?!?! NOOOOOOOO! We absolutely could not take him out! But we talked to our families and critique partners and somehow mooogically figured out a way to make the story work without the coyote. And Mootilda’s Bad Mood is vastly better because of it. 

I’m over the moooooon excited to see Mootilda out in the world on September 1st. And in case you’re curious, I’m almost always in a good mooooooood! 

BIO: Kirsti Call is co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She reads, reviews, revises and critiques every day as a 12x12 elf, a blogger for Writer's Rumpus, and a member of critique groups. She's judged the CYBILS award for fiction picture books since 2015. Kirsti's picture book, MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD (Little Bee) debuts fall 2020. COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) release in 2021. Kirsti is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.

To find out more about Kirsti and her
moo-velous upcoming books, visit: 
@kirsticall (instagram) 
 Kirstine Erekson Call (facebook) 
@kirsticall (Twitter)

Want to Share YOUR Story Behind the Story?
We'd love to hear from you.
[Traditionally published, SCBWI PAL books only, please.]
Contact Lynne Marie at

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

THREE REASONS TO READ: Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham


Illustrator: John Holyfield                            

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2019

Jacket Flap:
Frank has always loved elephants, from their hosepipe trunks and flip-flap ears to their tree-stump feet 
and swish-swish tails. But he's never seen one in real life. More than anything, Frank wants to pet an 
elephant. He thinks he just might get his chance when Miss Fancy, a circus elephant, retires to 
Birmingham's Avondale Park. 

But disappointment sets in quickly when Frank relizes he won't be allowed to pet her, after all. The year
is 1913 and Avondale Park is segregated. The NO COLORED ALLOWED sign looms large and means
Frank's dream will stay a dream...unless he can find a way to change things. 

Based on the true history of Miss Fancy who lived in Birmingham, Alabama's Avondale Park until 1934, 
Meet Miss Fancy is an endearing and heartrending story set in the era when Jim crow reigned supreme, 
largely unchecked but for the dreams and will of those who thought they could make a difference. 


1.    An important book that is an absolute sweet, inspiring, engaging read with a delightful main character!
       It's so easy to identify with Frank. 
2.    Such beautifully drawn, yet animated art. 
3.   It's based on history and weaves in interesting truths, truths we should learn, and histories that should
      never happen again. 



Join Me for A Tinker and Talk Book Chat


Friday, August 14, 2020


TITLE: Fred's Big Feelings - The Life and Legacy of Mr. Rogers 


AUTHOR: Laura Renauld

ILLUSTRATOR: Bridgette Barrager

PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster 


JACKET COPY: Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely, other times, he was joyous. When Fred's feelings seemed too big, his grandfather McFeeley knew exactly what to say to make him better: "I like you just the way you are."

Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the television program that warmed the homes of millions. But one day the government threatened cut funding for public television, including Fred's show. 

So Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capital Hill to make his feelings known. 

In this portray full of feeling, Laura Renauld and award-winning illustrator Brigette Barrager tell the story of Mr. Rogers, a quiet , compassionate hero whose essential message still resonates today. 


Hello, neighbor! It's a beautiful day. Come in. Look around. What do you see?

This is the closet filled with Mr. Rogers' cardigans. His mother knitted each one! And here's where he changes his shoes. Sneakers are more comfy, don't you think? 


     1. Many children will identify with the boy in this book and how he felt as a child. 

     2. Woven throughout are thoughts and inspirations about getting in touch with one's feelings, understanding them, sharing them and understanding others. 

    3.   Mr. Roger's story is interesting and inspiring. 

BONUS REASON: Honestly, this book gave me all the feels. It had an accessible main character and his story was written and portrayed in an engaging way that's understandable and accessible to the child reader. The illustrations are wonderful, with such heart and drive. I give a big round of applause to the author and illustrator for this wonderful treatment of a complex and even at times cutting edge, but beloved public figure. You don't have to be a fan of Mr. Rogers to see his positive impact on the world and LOVE this book! 

BUY Fred's Big Feelings HERE 

Review by Lynne Marie

To Dissect and Discuss More fabulous books like this one, 

join my TINKER AND TALK Book Chat! 


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Friday, August 7, 2020

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY with Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Author Lauren Kerstein


Although Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night (Two Lions/ Illustrated by Nate Wragg) is the second Rosie and Charlie adventure to hit the shelves, it was actually the first book I wrote in the series.

In 2016, I participated in NAPIBOWRIWEE. I challenged myself to write seven picture books in different structures (one each day of the week) after reading a wonderful ReFoReMo post by Tammi Sauer about structure.

The original draft of this book was a “how to” book about how to put your mommy to bed. I thought it would be funny to write about this from a child’s perspective. I wanted to highlight the trials and tribulations that parents and children go through at bedtime.

As a child and family psychotherapist, I’ve worked with tons of families around bedtime challenges, and as a mom, well… nobody can prepare you for the bedtime snafus you may encounter.

And now, that “how to” book is a character-focused story with some of its original text, all of its initial voice, and every ounce of its intended heart.   

Check out the trailer for ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES here:

Purchase Rosie the Dragon and Charlie HERE

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who currently lives in Colorado with her husband, their two, daughters, and their rescue dogs. Lauren's debut: ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions) splashed into bookstores in 2019. The companion volume, ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions), will snuggle into bookshelves September 1, 2020. HOME FOR A WHILE (Illustrated by Natalia Moore/Magination Press) is expected February 2, 2021. Lauren also writes books in her field. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with Rate Your Story, runs a critique business, and is a long-time member of 12x12 and SCBWI. Visit her at, on Twitter @LaurenKerstein, Instagram @LaurenKerstein, or Facebook.