Monday, September 28, 2020

Celebrating National Family Day, One Day Late

 It was National Family Day on September 27, 2020, and if, like me, you were too busy working to celebrate, know this...

It's never too late to Celebrate FAMILY DAY!

Here are a few Covid-19 friendly ways to enjoy your day:

1.     Play a card game together

2.    Prepare a kid-friendly recipe together

        Check Out Let's Eat! Mealtime Around the World for some inspiration AND

        Make these recipes to share the world with your children: 

3.    Play a board game together

4.     Play with blocks or Lincoln Logs or Legos together

5.     Watch an animated movie together    

6.    Share/watch a classic children's film from your childhood        

7.    Take a walk together

8.    Draw a monster together, taking turns with each feature

9.     Decorate a Fall or Halloween Tree together

10.    Share a book together 

    Check Out Moldilocks and the Three Scares, a fractured fairy tale family story!


E-mail me for Affordable Manuscript Critiques and Consultations!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Story Behind the Story of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri

The Story Behind the Story: Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri

Sometimes, stories are hard, coming out in spurts and piecing together like an elaborate puzzle, requiring heaps of patience and determination. Sometimes, stories are easy. They pour out of you fully formed. Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda and releasing from Albert Whitman on October 1st, was one of the easy ones. When I sat down to write the first draft, I wrote it from beginning to end in one sitting. It was the first time that had happened to me and I didn’t know what to do with myself!

I realize now that the seeds for the story had been planted long before I sat down to write. They had been watered and nourished for several months. During January 2018, I participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm, and with Debbi Michiko Florence’s post, I remembered all those bits of my New Year’s Eve holidays with my family that I loved: the music and dancing, the food and sweets, the Año Viejo, our fun superstitions, like eating twelve grapes for good luck, having luggage ready for a well-traveled year ahead, cleaning the house to have a good start to the year. I just didn’t know what to do with these memories—yet. 

Then, that New Year’s Eve, we were standing outside with friends and their shy little girl. She barely said a word and hid behind her parents. She reminded me so much of myself when I was little. When the fireworks started at midnight, though, she squealed and jumped and wouldn’t stop talking. I remember telling her, “You found your voice!” Just like that, the story for Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! burst into existence fully formed. 

In many ways, Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! is an ode to everything I loved about celebrating New Year’s Eve with my family. But, it’s also a validation for shy kids everywhere. Ava’s mamá tells her, There’s nothing wrong with being shy. When you’re ready, your voice will come out and play.” That’s the message I hope will resonate with readers. 

Alexandra Alessandri is a Colombian American poet, children’s author, and Associate Professor of English at Broward College. Her poetry has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and YARN. Her debut Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! releases October 1, 2020 from Albert Whitman & Company, followed by Isabel and Her Colores Go to School in fall 2021 from Sleeping Bear Press. Alexandra lives in Florida with her husband and son. 

Social Media Links:

Buy Links:

BONUS: Signed and personalized copies are available through Books & Books here: Leave a note with the personalization in the order comments field when checking out.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Check Out *WHO* Is a Round One Fiction Picture Book Judge for the Cybils Awards 2020

So excited to be on an AMAZING team of Bloggers and Judges! 

AND so happy to have you all along on my reading journey!

Don't forget to follow me on Goodreads HERE

ASK ME about my BOOK CHATS :) 

Three Reasons to Read: FRY BREAD by Kevin Noble Maillard, Art by Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry Bread - A Native American Family Story

AUTHOR: Kevin Noble Maillard

ILLUSTRATOR: Juana Martinez-Neal

PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press, 10/2019


Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.


1. Its lovely free verse is filled with images and emotions that are clear and effective. 

2. The art is beautiful and diverse and kid-friendly. 

3. Fry Bread is a wonderful metaphor for a heritage that allows the reader to grow in their understanding of what it means, starting small, with food and building with each example until it becomes all of us! 

Purchase Fry Bread HERE.

NOTE: FRY BREAD was a favorite at one of my Weekly "Tinker and Talk" Book Chats. Feel free to join us! Open until 12/31/2020 and then, available only to Rate Your Story Memberships. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

REVISION TIPS: Serving Up Another Morsel

      In case you missed it -- 

MORE "bite-sized" tips from ME for Revision Week HERE

over at Lauren Kerstein's Blog. 

And don't forget to sign up for Quick and Affordable Manuscript feedback!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Celebrating reVISION Week with my Cyber Home Girls Joana, Katie, Lauren, Michal, and Shannon

WELCOME to our 2nd annual #ReVISIONweek! Joana, Katie, Lauren, Michal, Shannon, and I are thrilled to be able to bring this back again, despite this year's challenges. 

We've worked hard to create bite-sized tips to help you through the trying times with your writing. 

CLICK HERE for My Revision Week Tip for 9/11 

Be sure follow Lauren Kerstein's blog to get my next tip, as well as the rest of the tips!

And, don't forget...

     so you don't miss any upcoming RATE YOUR STORY NEWS sign up at HERE