Two Winners For Copies of Nancy Churnin’s New PB’S.


Last month I featured the two most recent PB released by author NANCY CHURNIN. Today I am thrilled to announce the winners of signed copies of those books.


thumbnail C

Jane Healy is the winner of a copy of FOR SPACIOUS SKIES.

thumbnail 5Congratulations! to Danielle and Jane and thanks to all who commented. Please send me your address so I can let Nancy know where to send the books.

We Gave Something Away to These Winners…

On July 15, 2021, Kim Pfennigwerth and I hosted our 6th annual Give Something Away Day. We chose three picture books written by Asian authors. Here are the winners:

Barbara Messinger wins a copy of eyes that kiss in the corner_Darlene

Ellen Ramsey wins a copy of: outside inside_Darlene

And Amy R Sinn wins a copy of:

CONGRATULATIONS! Please email me with your address, so I can get the books out to you. 

Thanks to all who commented on this annual post and may you get as much kindness as you give.

Author Alexandra Alessandri has a new PB: Isabel and Her Colors Go To School.

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the second virtual #nerdcampPA, where I shared discussions with some amazing children’s book authors from all over the country. One of these authors was Alexandra Alessandri who shared her new picture book ISABEL AND HER COLORS GO TO SCHOOL. (illustrated by Courtney Dawson)

English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she’s going to have to learn–and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there’s more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.


I enjoyed this beautiful and poetically written story so much, I wanted to share my review here.

“Written in English and Spanish and told in a lilting and lyrical voice that describes Isabel’s feelings using the colors she loves. “Mama’s voice, soft and amber like a ripened mango.”

Vibrant and fluid illustrations add another layer of depth to a simple but power story of friendship and connection that transcends language.”

The text and illustrations show the range of emotions that come into play with being in a new school where the language is different, but we learn that we also have many things in common that help us connect to one another.

This is a perfect book to begin a new school year and would make a wonderful addition to a young child’s library.

2019_Headshot1 alexandra

Alexandra Alessandri is the author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman) and the forthcoming Isabel and Her Colores go to School (Sleeping Bear Press). The daughter of Colombian immigrants, she is also an Associate Professor of English at Broward College and a poet, with some of her work appearing in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and Young Adult Review Network. Alexandra lives in Florida with her husband and son.


Hooray! Five times we have given books and other items away to recognize this special day and we are back a sixth time to do it again!  After all, what is better for our hearts, our souls, and our spirits than to be part of giving something away.

So for anyone who hasn’t read my past posts on Darlene’s blog, Give Something Away Day is July 15th. I love a day that encourages us to give something away. After all, you can declutter, dejunk, and lighten your own load. You can also celebrate this day giving away a kindness. You can give away your time with a phone call, check-in on a neighbor, or share a lunch with a friend. How wonderful does lunch out sound after this past year of staying so secluded? Even a picnic lunch that maintains a social distance sounds delicious.

With the pandemic raging over this past year, it is important to still stay safe while also thinking of others. And sadly with this pandemic the news also shows the horrendous uptick in anti-Asian racism. That there has been so much anger, animosity, and racism is even more reason to reach out and give something away especially something heartfelt. 

After watching the Free Bystander Intervention Training by Hollaback! the amount of anti-Asian violence and harassment cannot be overlooked. I am convinced more than ever that giving away kindness is an absolute necessity. With that in mind, Darlene and I have chosen to focus our giveaway this year on books by Asian authors or author-illustrators.

Readers who leave a comment will have a chance to win one of three books. I will give away one copy of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho Illustrated by Dung Ho. It is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that lyrically celebrates a young girl discovering her own beauty. eyes that kiss in the corner_Darlene

My second giveaway is one we can all relate to—a copy of LeUyen Pham’s Outside, Inside that celebrates essential workers and a community coming together to face the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

outside inside_Darlene

Darlene’s giveaway is WISHES, a picture book by Muon Thi Van.

“This rich and nuanced tale illuminates the closely held wishes of refugees the world over. It’s unforgettable.” ― BookPage, starred review


Darlene’s review: “A beautiful story, profound in its simplicity. Seventy-five words of heart-wrenching and soul-stirring wonder. Beautifully illustrated and tenderly rendered. A book that transcends time and should be part of every child’s collection.”

       To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us about a kindness you recently gave or received. Your name will be put into a hat and three winners will be drawn at random and announced later this month on the blog. If you share this post on social media, Darlene will give you a second chance to win.

Below please find links to learn about anti-Asian Intervention Training and more by Hollaback! and the links that can always use your time or donations. 


The Innocence Project:

The Trevor Project:

The National Immigration Law Center:

The Loveland Foundation:

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum:

Embrace Race:

Books for Soldiers:

Donate Books – Find your public library:

Dress For Success:

Food Bank:

Vietnam Veterans of America:

Volunteer Match:



Kim Pfennigwerth lives in South Carolina with her husband and bouncy boxer and is a lover of books, beach walks, family, kayaking, and kindness in no particular order! She is often spotted reading piles of books while revising her own manuscripts.


Want Great KidLit Books For Summer reading and Beyond? Check Out #NerdcampPA2021

For teachers, librarians, and anyone looking for great books for kids of all ages, you might want to check out the second virtual #NerdCampPA which goes live this Thursday, July 15, 2021 beginning a 9AM EST.

I have the pleasure and honor of being on two panels to talk about my books.

The first panel at 10 AM is:

Historical Fiction for a Middle Grade Audience: Empowering Students to Create Fictional Stories Using Pieces of History with authors Dianne Salerni, Jennifer Robin Barr, and Tamara Bundy.

The second one at 11AM is:

NerdCampPA_11am slide

There will be give-aways of books, curriculum materials, and lots of information to use in the classroom and beyond. Hope you’ll join me and check out this exciting FREE event. Feel free to share.

Slimy Summer Fun!

What Kid doesn’t enjoy a fresh pile of slime to play in?  On days when it feels too hot to play out in sand or make mud pies, you can still give your kids a tactile experience by making your own SLIME.  There are plenty of recipes out there.  Here are two that will help you create colorful slime for indoor fun.  One glows in the dark and has glitter.

Happy Sliming!

The first one is borax, glue and chemical free:   No Borax Easy Slime Recipes - LOVE Slime? Have NO glue? NO Borax? NO Chemicals...??!! Check out these AMAZING play safe (and often "taste" safe) Slime Recipes for Kids. Explore, discover and have LOTS of sensory fun!!! The best sensory slime play activities for preschoolers and beyond. #Safeslime #noborax #slime #noglue #slimerecipes  Glitter-glow-in-the-dark slime recipe

Want Clean Beaches? How You Can Help.

Clean Beaches Week is the “Earth Day” for beaches. 

Held annually from July 1-7, it is a celebration of the clean beaches lifestyle.  Founded in 2003, the week has drawn enormous public support: over 150 coastal governors, mayors, and county commissions have now issued proclamations in support of the week.  In 2007, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions enacting the week by unanimous consent.

Beaches, provide recreation, supply us with a variety of delicious and nutritious food. They need our protection. You can celebrate CLEAN BEACHES WEEK by

Show beaches the love they deserve. beach

While you get ready for a day at the beach, here are some books to get kids excited about the day.

Beach Day cover jpeg

Book Giveaway: Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature by Kristen Nordstrom

I was fascinated by the evolution of this new picture book and thought you would be too. Anything that champions the health and wellbeing of planet earth is a winner in my book!

Writing and Illustrating

Kristen Nordstrom​, M.Ed. has a new non-fiction picture book titled, Mimic Makers, illustrated by Paul Boston and published by Charlesbridge Children’s Books. It is coming out on July 13th, but is available for pre-order, now. They have agreed to send a book with one lucky winner living in the US. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Kristen, and Paul!


MIMIC MAKERS profiles ten inventors from around the world whose investigations about nature lead…

View original post 1,394 more words

Whistling Grass

Here is a simple and fun activity everyone can enjoy when you’re outdoors and anywhere near grass.  Just take a wide blade of grass and place it tightly between your thumbs.  Blow onto the small opening and the grass will whistle!

It actually sounds like a turkey call.  Try different blade thicknesses and widths to see if you can change the sound.

 Can you make up a song using this whistle from nature?

Summer Solstice + National Smoothie Day.

June 21, 2021 (June 20 in the US) is the first official day of the summer solstice. The longest day of light is a welcome event worldwide and there are many festivals to celebrate the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Night view of arches of huge rough-hewn vertical rocks with rocks lying across them. Crowd in foreground.

One of the most famous festivals occurs at Stonehenge, England. Ancient cultures worshiped the sun and this monument is a testament to their recognition of the cycles of the earth.

To learn more about Summer Solstice and the celebrations surrounding it visit:

sunJune 21, 2021 is also National Smoothie Day!

While you are enjoying the summer sun why not treat your family to a homemade smoothie? There are so many delicious ways to blend fruits and veggies into a refreshing concoction.  You can use your favorite milk, yogurt, fruit juice, berries, bananas, nut butters, greens…the ingredients and combinations are endless.

Here is one of my favorites:

In a blender mix: a splash of orange juice, two scoops of plain yogurt. frozen berries, one half of a banana. Blend until smooth. 

Drink and enjoy!Let the kids come up with their own recipes. It’s hard to make a mistake if you use ingredients you already like.

What’s your favorite recipe?



National “Go Fishing Day”…Take a Kid Fishing.

Tomorrow, June 18, is NATIONAL GO FISHING DAY.  Fishing has been around as long as man and women have.  It is a major industry that yields billions of dollars worldwide annually. It is also a great recreational activity for everyone, young and old. It’s a way to add food to the table and an opportunity to bond with family and friends.

The benefits of fishing are numerous. Did you know fishing actually boosts your immune system? When you do something you enjoy, your body responds by healing and strengthening itself. Being out in nature helps promote relaxation and is a way to practice calm and patience. It can lower blood pressure and can be done individually or with others. You can fish from the shore, from a boat or by standing in a stream.  However you decide to do it, why not teach a kid, your kid or a friend’s kid, to fish.

Check your local recreational areas for competitions and rules regarding proper fishing etiquette. Even during this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s okay to go fishing. 

kid fishing

When you go fishing, or teach a child to fish, you never know what you might catch.

Here’s a case in point, where eleven-year-old JACK takes his five-year-old sister KATY to fish for the first time from my newest MG novel in verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston)   WoCCover01

Katy feels sorry for worms
and won’t fish with them.
I make balls of dough
from the crusts of our sandwiches to
bait her hook.

She breaks every rule about fishing.
Making loud noises, scaring the fish.
She can’t stand in one spot
more than a minute without
tangling the fishing line,
asking so many questions
my ears are ready to

When are we going to catch a
FISH!!! she shouts for the
tenth time, dropping her pole to
chase a butterfly.
Fish don’t come around when it’s noisy,
so zzzzip your lips, I say.

She pretends to zip her lip,
humming the tune to
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Good grief.


After lunch I’m ready to leave.
No fish today, let’s go, I say.
Maybe the fish don’t like worms.
Maybe they’re veterinarians, Katy says.
She means vegetarians because
she hands me a grape and says
put it on the hook, Jack, please?

Can you sit without making a sound,
quiet as a stone?
She puts a finger to her lips, Shhhhh.
I hook the grape, toss the line,
hand the rod to Katy.

Before I settle onto the grass,
the line gives a tug.
Too heavy for me, I can’t do it, Jack.
I grab the rod and pull a fish out,
a fish with one eye.

It’s Fred, I tell her.
Katy strokes Fred’s tail with a pinkie.
A special fish, I say.
Like magic special?
Katy’s two eyes as wide as Fred’s one.
Don’t know, I say.
Katy frowns, so I say,
make a wish, quick before Fred goes back.

Pancakes for supper! she wishes,
kissing Fred on the tail.
Pancakes, I agree. As I slip
Fred into the water, he seems to
wink his eye before he swims away.

While you may not catch a fish that grants wishes, taking a child fishing will be something you’ll both remember for a long time.