Monday, April 19, 2021

Book Spotlight and Author Interview - Bracelets for Bina's Brothers by Rajani LaRocca • Illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

 The Book- On Sale: April 20, 2021

For the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, Bina is determined to make beaded bracelets for her brothers all by herself. She finds out which colors her brothers like and dislike and sets to work. Working with her every-other-one beading pattern causes Bina to discover something new about patterns--and her brothers.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

The Author-

Rajani LaRocca is a book lover, doctor, and foodie who was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area.

Her debut middle-grade novel, Midsummer's Mayhem, is an Indian American middle-grade mashup of A Midsummer Night's Dream and competitive baking.

I had the chance to ask her a few questions!

1. What inspired this book?

I wanted to write a book about the relationship between sisters and brothers—how siblings can be annoying but also know and love each other. I also wanted to incorporate recognizing and creating patterns into the story in an organic way.

2. What do you hope children will take away from it?

I hope kids recognize that math is everywhere and that it's fun. I hope they think about their siblings and other loved ones and celebrate how special those relationships are.

3. What's up next for you?

I have four more books releasing this year! My next middle grade, MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL (June 15), involves two math competition rivals who find themselves on the same summer baseball team. My picture book WHERE THREE OCEANS MEET (Aug 24) is about a girl who travels with her mother and grandmother to the southern tip of India. My picture book THE SECRET CODE INSIDE YOU (Sep 14) is a child's first introduction to DNA. And MY LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS releases on August 31!

Thank you so much!

The Illustrator-

Chaaya Prabhat is a graphic designer, illustrator, and lettering artist. She holds an MA in graphic design from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives and works in Chennai, India.

Buy it Now-

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker; Stacy Davidowitz

 The Book- On Sale April 13, 2021

A heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity—from Tony award–winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz.

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?

But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?

A Note From the Publisher

Ali Stroker made history as the first actress who uses a wheelchair to appear on Broadway in Michael Arden’s revival of Spring Awakening and the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award for her role in Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma! Stroker is the first wheelchair user to graduate from the NYU Tisch drama program, and she has starred, recurred, and guested in numerous network television productions, including Glee. This is her debut novel. Stacy Davidowitz is the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series and co-author of Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. She is also the author of the Hanazuki series based on Hasbro’s YouTube series. When she is not writing, she is teaching creative writing and musical theater in schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She is a proud graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, where she earned degrees in drama and acting. Fun fact: Growing up, she was in seven productions of Annie. Stacy lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.

The Author-

Stacy Davidowitz is the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series and coauthor of Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. Most recently, she co-authored The Chance to Fly with Tony Award-winning Ali Stroker about a Broadway superfan who uses a wheelchair, and the summer she overcomes fears to turn her fandom into stardom. Stacy is also the author of the Hanazuki chapter-book series based on Hasbro's YouTube series. Stacy has written award-winning plays that have been produced regionally and internationally, and are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Stage Rights, and YouthPLAYS. When she is not writing, she teaches creative writing and musical theater in schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She is a proud graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, where she earned degrees in drama and acting. Stacy lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.


“Every theater kid in the world will instantly fall in love with Nat Beacon and relate to her story of perseverance. The Chance To Fly is as unique, inspirational, and full of heart as Ali Stroker is herself. She and Stacy Davidowitz will make readers laugh, cry, and teach them the true meaning of defying gravity.”

— Chris Colfer, New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe winning actor.

“The perfect read for any dream chaser . . . You’ll realize how unlimited your possibilities are.”

— Kristin Chenoweth, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and singer.

Buy it Now-


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Manuscript Wish Lists - 4/4/21


I love searching through Twitter for what agents and editors are looking for on their lists. So, I occasionally find the time to put it out there for everyone. Hope it lands someone their dreams!

Elizabeth Law- Editor Holiday House

@elawreads You know what we're seeing now that's positive? Rather than a picture book bio per se, picture books about a portion of someone's life, about a new art movement, the invention of something, a [fill in the blank] or moment that changed history. #Kidlitchat

Alexandra Weiss - Associate agent at Azantian Literary

@akaweiss I’m loving all the nonfiction queries I’m getting! I’d also love to see more illustrators/graphic novelists who are interested in creating/working on NF projects for kids. #mswl

Natalie M. Lakosil - Literary Agent at Bradford Lit

@Natalie_Lakosil No joke! I'm open to queries again! 

Open until June 30! Updated #mswl here:

PB/CB/MG/YA/GN, fiction & nonfiction, and adult nonfiction.

Carly Watters - Senior Lit Agent PS Literary

@carlywatters #mswl generational stories of parenthood and family with non-binary and/or trans characters in the commercial or historical adult fiction genre (ie. heavy with plot!)

Lauren Speiller says GET VACCINATED - Lit agent Triada US

@laurenspieller If you have written a swashbuckling, rip roaring, madcap romp of a MG Fantasy, I want to read it. #mswl

Paige Terlip - Assoc Agent AndreaBrown

@PTerlip Sparkles I finally updated my #MSWL! Sparkles

CahillDavisPublishing- Digital Publisher

@PublishingDavis We know, don't mention the C word too early! BUT if you've got a Christmas themed book, submit now to publish for xmas 21. If you've got a completed manuscript that's Winter/Christmas themed, submit to us now #getpublished #mswl #aspiringauthor #christmas.

Terri Baranowski - Lit Agent Gateway

@AgentTerri Gateway Literary is seeking manuscripts in the following genres: psychological and crime thrillers, mystery, contemporary fiction, memoirs and YA. Send your submissions with a synopsis and bio to List QUERY in the subject box. #writingcommunity #mswl

Bibi Lewis- Agent Ethan Ellenberg Lit

@Bibi_Lewis In fact, please give me your high powered lawyer/fixer with dishy clients women's fiction or romance. The chillier the exterior the better #mswl

P.S. Literary Agency

@PSLiterary “Middle Grade fantasy based on non-Western folklore.” @msmariavicente  #MSWL

Carly Hayward, Editor Book Light Editorial

@FromCarly Let’s start with the basics. Here’s my MSWL! It’s pretty thorough, but I always miss something. Basically: give me all the dark, nuanced fantasy and/or scifi #RevPit

Kim Lindman- Assoc Literary Agent- Stonesong

@kim_lindman  all this Satan talk has reminded me that I'd LOVE a re-telling of Paradise Lost #MSWL

Emelie Burl - Associate Agent at Susan Schulman Literary Agency

@BigKidBookworm Okay, time to share my #MSWL: 

Children's, YA, & Pop Culture Nonfiction are my Bread&Butter. I love stories of hope and humor, a good rom-com, strong female leads, and magic of all sorts! Big fan of LGBT+ and BIPOC joy. I don't love murder. DM me for query guidelines!

Monday, April 5, 2021

MG Book Spotlight- Unicorn Famous Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

 The Book- On Sale: April 6, 2021

When your best friend is a unicorn, every day is a stroll down the red carpet. Phoebe Howell’s unicorn BFF, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, is happy to provide the celebrity treatment—teaching Phoebe fancy new spells, giving her a ride to school so she doesn’t have to ride the bus, and even negotiating with the tooth fairy on her behalf.

But when Phoebe starts noticing that unicorns have become a trendy fashion statement, she doesn’t feel quite so unique. Fortunately, she’s distracted by adventures including a visit to the unicorn community and a trip to the woods to see her friend Dakota receive an unusual honor at the goblin award ceremony. Unicorn Famous is filled with amusing examples of the extraordinary lengths friends will go to make each other feel special.

The Author-

Dana Claire Simpson grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington, drawing the entire time. She eventually graduated from The Evergreen State College, despite having spent all her time drawing, and not always for credit.

Attempts at doing real work along the way are hardly worth mentioning; the relevant fact is that, from 1998 to 2008, she drew the internet comic strip "Ozy and Millie." After winning the Comic Strip Superstar contest in 2009, she developed the comic strip "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" (originally known online as "Heavenly Nostrils"), currently syndicated in nearly 200 newspapers.

There have been three "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" book collections, to date. The first, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, won a 2015 Washington State Book Award. The second, Unicorn on a Roll, won a 2016 Pacific Northwest Book Award. A third book, Unicorn vs. Goblins, was released in February 2016.

She currently lives in Auburn, Washington, with her tech genius husband and her fairly stupid cat.

Buy it Now-


Check out Book One

Friday, March 26, 2021

Author Guest Post-- Julian P. Flores “First-time author, long time storyteller”


My name is Julian P. Flores and I am many things - a filmmaker, business owner, music producer, husband, proud parent to a dog, an author - but first and foremost, a storyteller. My first novel, Hicks Road: Jacob’s Story, was inspired by a local legend in Amaden, San Jose, Ca, near where I grew up in Willow Glen. I took the first iteration of the tale first to film, then naturally the plot began to grow within me and I captured my thoughts on paper. Although the story takes place over a century ago, there are some pertinent topics that withstand the test of time, such as self discovery and overcoming adversity, and I hope more than anything that readers come away with a connection to the main character, Jacob, who endures many challenges throughout the course of his life.

 Title: Hicks Road: Jacob’s Story

Author: Julian P. Flores

Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy thriller


 Social media:





 The Book:

Set in Almaden, California in the 1850s, young Jacob Smith is viewed as an outcast by his schoolmates and, following an attack by bullies, his family is forced to make a choice that will change his life forever. As the years pass, and the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Establishment industrializes the town, Jacob feels a strong connection to the land until one day he meets an ancient Native who reveals a mystic secret. Now, with the town endangered by a violent gang of outsiders, it is up to Jacob to harness the powers of spiritual Mount Umunhum and confront a destiny much greater than any boy could dream of. 

How it came to be:

Throughout the course of my life, I’ve become a one-stop-shop for creativity, all fueled by my passion for storytelling, which began at a very young age. Traditionally I write best working from local coffee shops. I like to order my “Earl Grey hot,” plug in my earbuds, and listen to some jazz while writing on my laptop. Since Covid hit, and cafes are no longer accessible, I’ve built out a studio in my home where I can be at peace with nature, looking at the redwoods that surround my home, and enter the writing zone. Something that has been priceless to my story writing has been my use of outlines - extensive, outlines of timelines, and family trees. Especially with a story like Jacob’s, where I also conducted a lot of research on historical facts about Almaden and the time period, I think I’d truly be lost without them.  When I first started writing the manuscript for Jacob’s Story the words just flooded through me, like I was trying to catch a snapshot in time. It ended up being a lot of words with a lot of passion behind them and it needed a lot of attention from an editor.

 After many interviews, I met my editor, and eventual co-writer, Megan Sheridan. She had a personal connection to the tall tales of Hicks Road, also growing up in Almaden like me, and we easily found a shared language between us that allowed us to work together on the manuscript. From a process standpoint, I drafted the first copy while she edited, added, or proposed content. At first, she would edit using color-coded font, or suggestion bubbles, but early on I began to trust her judgment and understanding of the story, and I let her edit more freely, helping to connect thoughts, flourish the language, and build upon the scenery. Megan would also leave comments when she edited, sometimes asking questions about a character's actions or commenting on whether she liked something or not. After her review the next step in the process was to format, which took a bit of teamwork, then a final proofread. This was the most tedious part because our heads were both so connected to the story and the language, making small edits harder for us to spot.

 Eventually, after many, many months of hard work, we were able to publish, first on Amazon then eventually paper. As an artist, printing on paper is what got me really excited because it gave me the opportunity to showcase my design for the cover (take a look below), illustrations within the books, and customize the chapter headings. To date, we have self-published but have high hopes of working with an agent and publisher one day.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Wicked Epic Adventures- Another Wallace the Brave Collection By Will Henry

The Book- available March 23, 2021

Whether tracking a rogue Sasquatch or plotting the perfect summer,

Wallace and his two best friends—timid Spud and girl-of-steel Amelia—

uncover new mysteries and mischief wherever they go. Brought to life

by the intricate ink-and-watercolor art of Will Henry, Wicked Epic

Adventures will delight young readers as well as their parents, who will

recognize a bold curiosity and timeless charm akin to Calvin and Hobbes.

Plus, after finishing the book, readers can embark on their own creative

adventures through “More to Explore” activities designed by Will Henry!

About the Author

Will Henry is the creator behind Wallace the Brave, which earned the National Cartoonists Society’s Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year award in only its second full year of syndication. Will draws his inspiration from everyday life, and in the age of the smartphone, he aims to re-create a world in which kids still collect bugs and fly kites and eat ice cream cones upside down. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife, two children, his cat, and his mistress, the sea.


“Though lovable, self-assured Wallace is a worthy

successor to Calvin, he’s a strong hero in his own

right, and Wallace the Brave is bound to be a

future classic.”

—School Library Journal Starred Review for

Snug Harbor Stories:

Another Wallace the Brave Collection

More Fun

Paper-crafts with Wallace the Brave

Friday, March 19, 2021

YA Book Spotlight - Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

 The Book- On Sale: March 23, 2021

When children start to go missing in the local woods, a teen girl must face her fears and a past she can't remember to rescue them in this atmospheric YA novel, Lost in the Never Woods from the author of Cemetery Boys.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road...

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

The Author-

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden's special talents include: quoting The Office, winning Jenga, finishing sentences with "is my FAVORITE", and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Buy it Now-