Call Me Pollyanna: Top Ten Reasons to Feel Hopeful Today

Wonderful thoughts for an anxiety-laden Sunday.

Sonja Anderson

Image result for fema sign image

Tiny, but actual pangs of anxiety have been coursing through my chest lately as I read headlines from Washington and North Korea, and as I try to imagine what others are going through where earthquakes, hurricanes, shootings, and fires have recently struck. It’s not a good feeling. I’m wondering, friends–How are you doing?

In my house, we’ve been mildly joking that as soon as FEMA completely runs out of resources, the “Big One” will hit the Pacific NW, and we’ll be completely on our own. Somehow, it feels too possible to actually find it funny enough to laugh out loud. (My husband went to Costco recently for a big case of water, just in case, so I don’t think he’s laughing too hard either!)

Hope on the ground feels a tiny bit thin at times, to be honest.

So, in this era of threats and tweets, natural disasters, fake and real news and…

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Carle Honorees on Today’s Picture Book Renaissance

Picture book author Tara Lazar gives us a peek into the Eric Carle Awards. Ed Young’s statement about creating sanctuaries for impoverished inner souls is a beautiful testimony to the heart of the artist. My morning is made.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Tonight the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will present the winners of its prestigious Carle Honors. One recipient is selected in each of four categories: Artist, Angel, Mentor and Bridge.

I asked the honorees to answer one important question about the state of our craft and business, and I hope to elicit more responses from attendees this evening.

Children’s literature has experienced a renaissance of sorts in the last few years (as if people are rediscovering an art form that never faded away). What in particular makes picture books more relevant today than ever before?

Ed Young, Artist

Shadows dancing on cave walls by the crackling fire pit where an oral story is told under a starry sky….

Fast forward to a lone finger sliding make believe pages on a tiny screen where words and pictures are viewed in silence in pre-ordered sequences.

Yes, progress indeed has been…

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10 TIPS for Finding WRITING TIME when you THINK You’re TOO BUSY TO WRITE!

I especially like Tips #4 and 8.

Laura Sassi Tales


Think you are too busy to write?  Here are a few strategies I’ve found helpful to keep me writing regularly.  What tips would you add to the list?  Happy Writing!

TIP #1:    Stay up an extra hour a couple of nights a week to snag some nice chunks of writing time.

TIP #2:    Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you usually do every day, or even just a few days a week, so you can grab those precious start of the day writing moments when, for me at least, that inner  editor is still asleep.  (This is my favorite.)

TIP #3:    Be intentional so you can make the most of unexpected snippets of time (and have a notebook handy!)

TIP #4:    Write for five minutes on the top of the hour – all day long.   (For those other 55 minutes, your mind will be whirring with ideas…

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Interview with Amazing Illustrator Carol Schwartz

Amazing interview with gifted, dedicated artist Carol Schwarz. You can feel the life in her pictures.


Carol SchwartzMV16_19021_4x6webcrop photo by Kevin Harkens

Carol Schwartz’s illustrations are resplendent with color and texture in detailed, accurate scenes showing wildlife and ecosystems rendered for children. She specializes in science and nature books which she carefully researches, then uses skillful composition to create compelling scenes. This award winning illustrator, and charming person, has had her work in The Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Illustrators Club of Washington, D.C., has had her books selected as Outstanding Science Trade Books by the National Science Teachers Association, worked on illustration projects for the National Geographic Society, Time-Life, and the Washington Post. Carol has illustrated sixty picture books. She has spoken at hundreds of schools and libraries and taught illustration at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Her career is remarkable.

JAZ: Carol, thank you for taking the time to share a bit of yourself here. Congratulations…

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Agent Monday: Free Ways to Help an Author Friend’s Book Succeed

Here are a variety of ways to help your author friends. Some great ideas.

Marie Lamba, author

Green Green signing - Let's Play Books - Emmaus, PAHappy Agent Monday, everyone! Phew, it’s been quite a summer. My debut picture book GREEN GREEN: A COMMUNITY GARDENING STORY (FSG/Macmillan, co-authored with my husband Baldev, and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez) just came out. That means I’ve been doing a number of book signings and radio interviews and author appearances. Simply put, a book must be found by readers if it’s going to be successful — so authors must do promotion. The truth, however, is that an author can only do so much, and because of this, many books are just never found by readers — even readers who would really want that book. What we really need for our book to be found and to succeed is reader promotion. Do you have a friend or family member with a new book out? Then they and their book need your help – big time! You can make a huge difference…

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL with Debut Picture Book Author Linda Whalen

I definitely want to be in this for the long haul. I appreciate the encouragement!

Laura Sassi Tales

This summer I’ve been celebrating the release of brand new kids’ books with special guest posts and author/illustrator interviews.  Today, I’m delighted to have debut picture book author Linda Whalen as my guest.  Illustrated by Jennifer Morris, Linda’s book LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY (Sleeping Bear Press) piqued my interest because one of my vivid early memories is of watching an old house being moved in the town my grandparents lived in. The Little Red in Linda’s story is a barn who’s a little scared about moving and all of the unknowns.  As a child who moved around a lot, I would definitely have benefitted from a story like this!  Here’s the book trailer which gives a wonderful sense of the book:

Linda is here today, not only to celebrate the release of this book, but also to share her thoughts on what it means to be a writer who is in it for the…

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