Posted in Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway! NEW NatGeoKids Explorer Academy: Dragon’s Blood!

I have been WAITING on this book! I’ve been absolutely hooked on the Explorer Academy series from book one, and finally, Dragon’s Blood is here – grab your copy!

Welcome back to the Explorer Academy! and…

The Explorer Academy: The Dragon’s Blood Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Explorer Academy: The Dragon’s Blood by Trudi Trueit on October 5th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive guest posts from Trudi, as well as 5 chances to win all 6 books in the series so far! The 7th and final book in the series will be released in Fall 2022.


 

What a Character!
by Trudi Trueit

“How do you come up with interesting characters?”

It’s the question I got most often from writers. For me, it’s not a magical thing. Most of the time, characters don’t pop into my head fully formed. If you don’t base them on anyone you know (and I don’t) character building takes time. It’s like getting to know a new friend. The more time you spend together the more that person reveals to you.

I almost always start with a name. Until I have that, it’s hard to get into the writing. I tend to stay away from more common names. I also like to mix things up. I might name a villain something soothing, like Serene, or a timid boy, Rocco. Whenever I hear an interesting name, I write it down so I always have a long list to start with when I am creating a character. Once I choose a name, I start asking questions about that character to get a feel for who they are—and I ask A LOT of questions. I fill out a questionnaire for each major character. First, I cover the basics: name, age, physical description, ancestry, family details, pets, hobbies, sports. Next, I ask:

  • What’s in my character’s purse or pocket right now?
  • What’s my character’s most prized possession?
  • Describe my character’s personality in four words.

Then it’s time to go deeper. The answers to these questions will determine how the character will think and act throughout the story.

  • What’s my character’s biggest flaw?
  • What’s my character’s greatest hope?
  • What’s my character’s biggest problem or fear?
  • What’s my character’s most treasured secret?

And the most important question of all:

  • What does my character want more than anything in the world?

It’s the protagonist’s goal that will drive the plot, so this is a question that must be answered.

If I get stuck in the development phase, I try writing a letter to myself from the character’s point of view. This gets me out of my head and into theirs, where it belongs. I am free to be open and truthful. Once I am, it usually unlocks the character’s true personality and motivations.

Also, you don’t need to know everything about a character when you begin writing. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Start with a name, a problem, and a goal. Go from there. The more you write, the more your character will share—just like a friend. And yes, I think of all of my characters as real people. They are, aren’t they?

Just for fun, if you’d like to find out what Explorer Academy character you are most like, take the quiz!

As for me, I am most similar to Emmett but then I already knew that!


 

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

“a fully packed high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of fun characters.” —Kirkus

“This exciting, fast-paced, far-flung story is full of science facts and James Bond-like gadgets, accompanied by colored illustrations.  The ending is guaranteed to keep readers eager for the next series installment.” –Booklist

Explorer Academy is exciting and smart.” —Karen Bokram, Editor-in-Chief, Girls’ Life

An explosive revelation and a familiar face heighten the mystery for Cruz and friends in the sixth book in this adventure-packed series.

Still reeling from the life-changing discovery he found buried in the mysterious archive, Cruz Coronado grapples with an important secret as the gang heads to China in search of the second-to-last piece of the cipher. Under the watchful eye of a new adviser, life on the ship returns to almost normal…Almost.

Just as things seem to be going smoothly, a familiar face shocks Cruz back into reality, and the final piece in this life-and-death scavenger hunt veers toward a dead end.

Check out the Explorer Academy website, featuring videos, comic shorts, games, profiles of real-life National Geographic Explorers, chapter excerpts and more. 

Follow Trudi: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

TRUDI TRUEIT has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction. Her love of writing began in fourth grade, when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to be a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in kids nonfiction encompasses books on history, weather, wildlife, and earth science. She is the author of all the narratives for the Explorer Academy series, beginning with Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. Trueit was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Everett, Washington.


 

 GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • One (1) winner will receive all 6 Explorer Academy hardcovers (The Nebula Secret, The Falcon’s Feather, The Double Helix, The Star Dunes, The Tiger’s Nest, and the NEW book The Dragon’s Blood)
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/1 at 11:59pm ET
  • Check out the other stops for more chances to win!

 

Blog Tour Schedule

October 18thPragmatic Mom
October 19thImagination Soup
October 20thMom Read It
October 21stAlways in the Middle
October 22ndBookHounds

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Rafflecopter Giveaway: Between the Lines by Lindsay Ward

You read the post, now enter the giveaway! One winner will receive a copy of Between the Lines, courtesy of Two Lions – will it be you? 

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway today!

The fine print: U.S. addresses only, and no P.O. Boxes, please. If you’ve won a giveaway in the last six months, please don’t enter this one: give someone else a chance! Good luck and thanks for reading!

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Ultimate Book of African Animals!

Welcome to the Ultimate Book of African Animals Blog Tour!

Looking to get away? Spend the week on a virtual safari with Emmy Award-Winning Filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert as your guides! Featuring exclusive excerpts from their latest title, Ultimate Book of African Animals (National Geographic Kids Books, ages 8-12), Beverly and Dereck share their intimate stories of life on safari and provide a unique, behind-the-lens perspective on their passion and mission — to save the wild places of Africa and protect the creatures that depend on them.

Journey with the Jouberts

 

Click to enlarge

 

And now, for your moment of “awww”…..

Credit: Beverly Joubert

 

*****

Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? With National Geographic photographer-filmmaker duo Beverly and Dereck Joubert as their guides, readers are transported to the plains of the Serengeti, the sands of the Sahara and the shaded nooks of the rainforest. Dereck and Beverly are eight-time Emmy award-winning filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife conservationists who have been filming, researching and exploring Africa for over 35 years.  By sharing their stories of life on safari and Beverly’s jaw-dropping photography, this dynamic duo gives the reader unique, behind-the-lens access to Africa’s wildlife, how they live, play and hunt and how they have adapted to their wild, one-of-a-kind environments.  A big, beautiful guide to animals that roar, race and “totally rule,” this gift-worthy book is overflowing with facts, stats and photos of animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes — including the tiny bombardier beetle, the sneaky desert viper, mischievous monkeys, elusive Ethiopian wolves, as well as fan favorites like lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more.

Follow the Jouberts: Website | National Geographic | Beverly’s Instagram | Dereck’s Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

About the Authors: Dereck and Beverly Joubert are globally recognized, award-winning filmmakers, conservationists, and National Geographic explorers-in-residence based in Botswana. Their mission for more than 35 years has been the conservation of key wildlife species, with a focus on large predators.  The Jouberts have published 12 books, produced 36 films for National Geographic, and written half a dozen scientific papers as well as many articles for National Geographic magazine. Beverly is also an acclaimed photographer for National Geographic.  Their efforts have one aim: to save the wild places of Africa and to protect the creatures that depend on them.

 

 

GIVEAWAY

  • One winner will receive a hardcover of The Ultimate Book of African Animals
  • US/Canada Only
  • Follow the rest of the tour for more chances to win
  • Ends 9/26 at 11:59pm ET

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule:

September 13thMom Read It
September 14thYA Books Central
September 15thAlways in the Middle
September 16thChristy’s Cozy Corners
September 17thImagination Soup

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, picture books, Preschool Reads

Back to School Giveaway! Win Magic Candies OR Once Upon a Camel!

What better way to get ready for back to school than with a new book! I’ve got one copy of MAGIC CANDIES by Heena Baek and one copy of ONCE UPON A CAMEL by Kathi Appelt – a little something for everyone!

PLEASE NOTE, these are TWO separate raffles. There will be TWO winners; this is not a bundle raffle. You are more than welcome to enter both raffles, but there will be two different winners. Gotta share the book love!

SO! That said, if you want to enter the raffle for Heena Baek’s MAGIC CANDIES, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

 

If you love camels, and want to take a chance on Kathi Appelt’s ONCE UPON A CAMEL, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

 

Good luck to all!

Posted in Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Win your own copy of UNFORGOTTEN: THE WILD LIFE OF DIAN FOSSEY!

Step right up and enter this Rafflecopter giveaway! It’s your chance to win your own copy of Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas by Anita Silvey


This is a perfect addition to your biographies, naturalist, and STEM/STEAM collections, or a perfect gift for a burgeoning explorer and researcher/animal lover.  Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here. Good luck!

U.S. addresses only, please. No P.O Boxes, please!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Snow Dancer by Addie Boswell and Merce Lopez

Was there ever a more perfect book than The Snow Day to describe that feeling when you first hit that first-fallen snow?

The Snow Dancer, by Addie Boswell/Illustrated by Mercè López,
(Dec. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542093170
Ages 4-8

A girl named Sofia wakes up to discover a snow-white world. The snow has fallen while she slept, and it’s unblemished, perfect, on the ground, just waiting. She exclaims “SNOW DAY!” and runs out to enjoy the stillness, the beauty, the absolute wonder of the snow day. She races to the park, and finds it empty, untouched, pristine; she joyfully dances through the crunchy snow until other neighborhood kids show up. But once they do, the spell is broken as they charge into the playground, laughing, pushing, and making a giant mess out of the quiet. Sofia’s solitude is broken until she meets a new little friend with fairy wings and a snowsuit, asking if she is a fairy. The two new friends dance their own dance and join the other kids, creating a wonderful snow day for all. A story of solitude and resilience, Snow Dancer is a gorgeous book to welcome the winter.

Kids and adults alike will get lost in the prose, so evocative of childhood memories: “fuzzy hats on the fire hydrants”, and “her voice hung in the still air. / No buses squealed. / No cars honked. / No neighbors shouted” bring back those incredible memories of being the first one awake and discovering the snow day. Kids will also feel it when the neighborhood kids show up and wreck Sofia’s solitude, and admire her resilience in making the most of her day, especially when making a new friend. Mercè López’s artwork brings the quiet beauty of a snowy morning to life, the mayhem of the manic play as kids try to fit as much as possible into the day, and the quiet solitude at the end of the day as Sofia curls up in a chair, with a mug (of hot chocolate? of soup?) and her cat. A wonderful winter story that will work for storytime and anytime.

 

***********************************************************************************

“A spirited paean to the snow day that will appeal to children and their parents.” —Booklist

“Vivid imagery, onomatopoeia, and supple blue-gradient typography enliven Sofia’s journey as she learns to share her snow day. A dynamic tale of cooperation, adaptation, and friendship.” —Publishers Weekly

Addie Boswell is an artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in murals and picture books that focus on family, community, and the creative power of children. Her recent titles include Go, Bikes, Go! and Go, Boats, Go!, both illustrated by Alexander Mostov, and Five on the Bed, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her debut book, The Rain Stomper, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, was the winner of the Oregon Spirit Award. Learn more about the author at www.addieboswell.com.

Mercè López is an artist from Barcelona, Spain. She holds a degree in illustration from Llotja Art School in Barcelona. Her recent title Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas received multiple starred reviews and was named a Center for Children’s Books Gryphon Honor Book, an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a Kirkus Best Picture Book, and a Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Book, among other accolades. Learn more about the artist at www.mercelopez.com.
Instagram: mercelopez

 

 

 

Win a copy of The Snow Dancer for your collection! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Comet, The Unstoppable Reindeer!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and… ALL HECK WAS BREAKING LOOSE! The elves are stressed, and a fight breaks out in the toy factory. Comet, one of Santa’s reindeer, can’t stand fights, so he tries to break things up and ends up with a broken arm. The doctor grounds him for Christmas Eve; Santa puts a rookie named Freddie on sleigh detail, and Comet is distraught. Everyone’s gone home, Santa and the reindeer are off on their flight, and he’s just lonely. But wait! Santa forgot his sack of toys! And he’s not answering his phone! Comet’s got a chance to make Christmas right, and he’s taking it: but it ain’t going to be easy for this poor reindeer!

Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer, by Jim Benton, (Sept. 2020, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542043472
Ages 4-8

A laugh-out-loud tale of saving Christmas, Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer is by Jim Benton, who we all know and love from such books as the Franny K. Stein series, Catwad, Clyde, Dear Dumb Diary, Attack of the Stuff, and Happy Bunny. It’s a rhyming tale of heroism, unanswered cell phones, massive internal injury, and the spirit of endurance. Jim Benton’s cartoony artwork ties this story together with bulging eyes, a ginormous sack of toys, and a poor reindeer pratfalling all over the world. It’s hilarious, it’s adorable, and it’s pure Jim Benton. My Kiddo has gleefully read this to me twice, giggling madly as he turns the pages. Lighten up your Christmas holidays with Comet.

★“Along with being lit up by themes of caring for others and shouldering responsibility, this hilarious seasonal outing offers great read-aloud potential for its regular but natural-sounding metrics and rhyme.” —Booklist (starred review)

 

“You might want to gift this one a little earlier than Christmas so you can read it to your little ones every night leading up to December 25. It’s the adorable (and all-too relatable) tale of Comet, an unstoppable reindeer.” —Parade

Jim Benton is the award-winning creator of the New York Times bestselling series Dear Dumb Diary and Franny K. Stein as well as the popular It’s Happy Bunny brand. His books have sold more than fifteen million copies in twenty-five countries and have garnered numerous honors. Like Comet, Jim knows what it’s like to hobble around in a cast; however, he is still learning to fly. Find out more about him at JimBenton.com.

 

Instagram: @jimbentonshots

Twitter: @JimBenton

Facebook: Jim K Benton, Author

It’s the holidays, so I’ve got a giveaway! Win your very own copy of Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer: U.S. addresses only, please, and no P.O. Boxes. Visit the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books

Earth Hour Giveaway: The Stars Just Up the Street

What better to cheer up people than a giveaway? Read on for more about The Stars Just Up the Street, by Sue Soltis and beautifully illustrated by Christine Davenier!

The Stars Just Up the Street, by Sue Soltis/Illustrated by Christine Davenier,
(March 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763698348
Ages 4-8

This ode to the nighttime sky makes a smart and strong statement about pollution. Mabel is a young girl who loves the stars, but after hearing her father tell stories about growing up on the prairie, where the nighttime sky boasted thousands of stars, Mabel wants more. She plans ways to find more stars: climbing the tallest tree in her backyard, then going up to the hill in town; it doesn’t get much better. Mabel realizes that the lights from surrounding homes and the street lights block much of the sky’s view, so she and Grandpa begin asking neighbors, and, ultimately, the mayor, to turn off the lights, just for a little while. As the new moon arrives, the town gathers at the hill to watch the sky light up with thousands of stars, and a new tradition is born.

The Stars Just Up the Street is a story of advocacy, showing kids that they can affect change by asking; it also demonstrates the power of a little persistence. The story teaches kids (and adults) about pollution, and how it directly affects the night sky: and how we can begin restoring our planet just by turning off a light. Christine Davenier’s ink illustrations give us friendly faces and gorgeous night skies, where the stars come back to let us know they haven’t left us; we’ve just covered them up for a little while. What a great addition to an Earth Hour or Earth Day storytime, a nature storytime, or an anytime storytime.

Want to learn more about Earth Hour? Check out the website, and the World Wildlife Fund’s website, which has 7 fun activities to do in the dark (it’s a family-friendly site, folks!). Sustainablity.org also has 15 fun activities for Earth Hour, and Canadian website MomsTown has 60 kids’ activities. Earth Hour takes place on March 28th.

 

I’ve got two copies to give away, courtesy of publisher Candlewick Press. US addresses only, and no PO Boxes, please! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

Posted in picture books, Uncategorized

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Along the Tapajós

Along the Tapajós, by Fernando Vilela/Translated by Daniel Hahn, (Oct. 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542008686

Ages 5-8

Amazon Crossing Kids’ latest picture book in translation, Along the Tapajós, is the story of Cauā and Inaê, a brother and sister who live in Pará, a Brazilian state along the Tapajós River. The home in Pará are built on stilts, and there are no school buses: kids travel to school by boat! When the winter season arrives, everyone returns home to pack up their homes and relocate to higher ground to wait out the rains. But when the family arrives at their new location, the siblings realize that Titi, their pet tortoise, has been left behind! Tortoises can’t swim, so Titi faces either drowning in the flooding or starving to death, but Ma stands firm: they’re not going back until the summer season. Determined to rescue their pet, Cauā and Inaê slip away that evening and head back to their home to rescue Titi.

Inspired by one of author Fernando Vilela’s trips to the Amazon Rainforest Along the Tapajós introduces readers to a different culture and a different way of life: going to school by boat? Living in a house on stilts, and moving with the seasons? There is so much going on in Along the Tapajós! While introducing a different way of life to kids, the story links readers through the love of a pet, the fear of forgetting and losing something beloved, and the excitement of an adventure to rescue it.

The digital and woodcut artwork is stunning, with vibrant, bright colors to celebrate the biodiversity of the Amazon: the endpapers show multicolored birds sitting on webs of crossed branches, and opaque waters with a glimpse at the life underneath; yellows, blues, and black stripes all show through the obscured water view. The artwork throughout is stunning, with bold colors and black line work, and images of communities working together to move to a safe space.

Most of my library kids are from countries in Central and South America. I can’t wait to read this to them and see what they think. Maybe I’ll hand out tortoise coloring sheets for an after-story craft! Ooh… and maybe have them contribute to an anaconda that will stretch across some of my display space… okay, I’m off to plan a rainforest storytime (I’ll be using Pragmatic Mom’s suggestions to start me off, along with one of my all-time favorite storytime books, The Perfect Siesta.)

Originally published in 2015 in Brazilian Portuguese, Along the Tapajós is available on October 1 and has a starred review from Kirkus. It also made School Library Journal‘s list, “The Marvelous Translated Picture Books of 2019 (So Far)“.

Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration. Learn more about him online at www.fernandovilela.com.br.

Daniel Hahn is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. His translation of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. He recently served on the board of trustees of the Society of Authors. In 2017, Hahn helped establish the TA First Translation Prize, a new prize for debut literary translation. Learn more about him online at www.danielhahn.co.uk.

★“The vibrant colors in Vilela’s illustrations and the expressive faces of Cauã and Inaê bring lightheartedness to their dangerous journey and the cyclical living it prescribes. A riveting journey.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This is one of those engaging titles that offers a glimpse of a location new to most American readers. More translations like this one, please!” —Fuse #8 Production

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Along the Tapajós, courtesy of Amazon Crossing (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour Kickoff (and a giveaway!): THE ITTY BITTY WITCH

I’m so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Trisha Speed Shaskan and Xindi Yan’s adorable story about being small yet mighty, The Itty Bitty Witch! I reviewed this fun story about a little witch with a big spirit back in July, so today, I’ve got an interview with author Trisha Speed Shaskan. Enjoy!

The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskan/Illustrated by Xindi Yan,
(July 2019, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542041232
Ages 4-7

“Caregivers and teachers will be pleased with the multiple extensions the story offers, all wrapped up in a Halloween theme. Proving size does not matter, this itty-bitty witch casts a bewitching spell.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A familiar portrayal of [a] determined, lone underdog who discovers her sense of worth.” —Publishers Weekly

 

And now, the Trisha Speed Shaskan interview. Thank you so much to Trisha and to Barbara at Blue Slip Media!

MomReadIt: As someone who was always first or second on the size order line at school, I love and appreciate Betty’s story! What inspired you to write THE ITTY-BITTY WITCH?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed The Itty-Bitty Witch. When I was a child, Halloween was magical because the neighborhood kids took over the streets at night, in costumes. Because of my love for Halloween, the first book I chose at a RIF event was Tilly Witch by Don Freeman, a story about a witch who feels happy instead of wicked on Halloween! Drat! That story inspired me to write and read witch stories as a child and into adulthood.

As a child, I was also one of the smallest or shortest kids in my class. And I played many sports—too bad I couldn’t race atop a broom like Betty! I was often the one girl athlete on a team of boys. Kids called me “short” and “Tommy” since I was seen as a tomboy. I didn’t like being labeled because it set me apart from other kids. And although my height and ability to play on any team was often an asset, I didn’t always see it that way. In The Itty-Bitty Witch, Betty is similarly given a nickname she doesn’t like (“Itty-Bitty”) but learns that being small can be a strength.

MomReadIt: Betty starts out being bullied because she’s small, but her bullies change their tune when they see that Betty wins the Halloween Dash! As an educator, how did you teach younger kids about self-acceptance and resiliency?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: My husband/children’s book author and illustrator Stephen Shaskan and I teach kids how to create comics and graphic novels. Recently, we taught a class that had only two students in it, which allowed us to get to know them. Eleven-year-old Brian told everyone he wasn’t a good artist. He clearly felt insecure. But by the end of the class he said he created the best drawing he’d ever created. He built that confidence and in turn self- acceptance in a couple hours. How? First, Stephen and I built a relationship with the kids in the room by listening to them. We learned Brian’s favorite TV show (“Zig and Sharko”), and the names of the cows on his family’s farm. We joked around. Stephen and I modeled the drawing activity. The students made suggestions and Stephen drew a character out of simple shapes. Next, we set out tools for the students to use, such as geometric templates. The template helps kids who don’t feel they can draw the shapes consistently. I praised Brian for his focus and for using the template. I sat down next to him and drew. I’m not a trained artist so I had a hard time drawing the hand. I failed. Stephen gave me an example of a how-to-do it from a drawing book. Brian encouraged me. Brian had a difficult time drawing part of the snowman from a new angle. I encouraged Brian. By the end of the day, Brian invented a hexasnowman, drew it from different points of view, and told us he was going to draw it more at home. How do you get kids to accept and love themselves? First and foremost, build a positive relationship with them. Give them tools. Give them specific praise that focuses on the process, not result. Be honest. Take risks alongside them or share your mistakes or failures. Lift them up.

MomReadit: Will Betty return in another adventure?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: Betty’s return is yet to be determined, but I do have more stories about her brewing!

MomReadIt: How would you encourage younger kids to start their own storytelling?

Trisha Speed Shakan: I write from my own experiences and imagination. But I also write to learn about myself and the world. If kids want to write stories, I encourage them to explore the world through activities and books! Take a walk outside. Develop a hobby. Learn about a subject you enjoy. Learn about an animal you love. While exploring and learning, you’re sure to collect story ideas! Pay attention to the stories you love and why you love those stories, whether it’s a book, a TV show, or a movie. When you set out to write a story, think about those elements and how to incorporate them in your story.

Thank you so much!

When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a child, Halloween meant bobbing for apples, daring to touch brains (which may have been noodles), and—best of all—wearing costumes. She still loves dressing up for Halloween. Trisha is the author of more than forty children’s books, including Punk Skunks and the Q & Ray series, both illustrated by her husband, Stephen Shaskan. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Stephen; their cat, Eartha; and their dog, Beatrix. Learn more at www.trishaspeedshaskan.com.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook

 

Xindi Yan grew up in a small city called Wuhu in China, and like Betty, she was always the smallest in her class. Standing a little shy of five feet, she still can’t reach the high shelves in grocery stores and sometimes finds that shoes made for kids fit her best. But her size didn’t stop her from chasing her big dreams of being a published artist in New York City. Xindi is the illustrator of Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt and the Craftily Ever After series by Martha Maker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and hopes to have a puppy one day. Learn more at www.xindiyanart.com

Twitter: @xindiyan

Instagram: @xindiyanart

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Itty-Bitty Witch, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!