The Free Book Winners Are…

I am happy and excited to announce the winners of several recent book give-a ways her on the blog.

A copy of PIPPIN PALS ARE HERO HELPERS by Donna Marie goes to Robin Newman.

A copy of ELEANOR, ALICE, AND THE ROOSEVELT GHOSTS by Dianne K Salerni goes to Donna Taylor.





A copy of LIBBY LOVES SCIENCE by  Kimberly Derting and Shelli R Johannes goes to Cynthia Ahern




A copy of GURPLE AND PREEN:A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE by Linda Sue Park and Debbie Ridpath Ohi goes to Janet Smart.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners and thanks to all who entered the give-aways. Please contact me with your addresses so I can be sure you receive your books!


Two New Picture Books Reviewed + A Give-Away of Each

LIBBY LOVES SCIENCE by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R Johannes, Illustrated by Joelle Murray

Libby Loves Science

A fun introduction to chemistry and some kid-friendly experiments (with adult supervision) are sure to peak the interest of kids who enjoy science. Recipes for making giant bubbles, rainbow slime, and more are shared in a colorful and informative way. Perfect addition to classroom or home-school science curriculum for the youngest kids.

GURPLE AND PREEN: A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure

A whimsical cosmic adventure where an ordinary box of crayons become something extraordinary thanks to this creative author and illustrator team.  Ohi has elevated broken crayons to an art form and continues that here in this fanciful tale of creativity and learning that you can accomplish difficult things by working on them one step at a time.

A good lesson for young and old alike.


I am giving away a copy of each book (Libby Loves Science is signed by the author). Leave a comment about one of the books and your name will be entered. Share this post on social media and I will add you name again and draw two winners, one for each book. The winners will be announced in a later post on this blog.


A Place at the Table

A PLACE AT THE TABLE  by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan is a delightful and thoughtful story of how two sixth grade girls from different backgrounds and cultures try to navigate middle school and the changes happening within their families.

Sara, who is Muslim, and Elizabeth, who is Jewish, become unlikely friends at an after school cooking club taught by Sara’s mother Mrs. Hameed.  Cooking and food traditions become the bridge across cultures and remind the girls, and readers, that they have more in common than they realize. The story is also a wonderful reminder that when we open our hearts and share our talents, we can make room for everyone at the table and in our lives. A perfect story for our time.

PIPPIN PALS ARE HERO HELPERS! by :Donna Marie. A New Series To Answer Kids Questions About the Pandemic. Enter to Win A Book!

Today it is my pleasure to feature a timely new book series that answers children’s questions about the pandemic. Written by Donna Marie PIPPIN PALS ARE HERO HELPERS. Here’s Donna to explain:

 What prompted the writing of this timely book?   

Back in March, when this pandemic really hit the U.S., I was glued to my Twitter feed and CNN; not all that much different than regular days, but with much more intensity. I was blown away by the KidLit community, from publishers on down, along with librarians and teachers when, very early on, they were offering all kinds of amazing things to families with children to help them get through the whole stay-at-home situation. I really wanted to contribute, but it took days before my foggy brain pulled up a book around 1993ish. It was called The Rainy Day. In it were ideas of what to do on a rainy day. I first thought to post the list of things to do on my blog, but nixed the idea just as quickly because it really wouldn’t offer more than what was already out there, so why waste my time? Then I thought maybe to rewrite the story’s beginning and post it on my site with a few of the dummy illustrations. Once I began writing, I ended up with an almost totally new story.

You did a perfect job of showing something scary in a safe and non-threatening way. How did you decide on the format of rhyming text?

Such high praise! Thank you, Darlene! And you’re right—it’s scary. The Rainy Day was written in rhyme (which comes naturally with most of my picture books) so I started there. I kept it in rhyme because the musical quality of it helps soften such hard subject matter, and I felt it might keep younger children more engaged. I did my best to explain, and also show through illustration, something as abstract as a virus as best I could, and depict what children are witnessing going on around them in a way they could understand. They are being asked to comply with unusual rules and much of their normal lifestyles have been upended. It’s hard enough for us adults to adjust, let alone kids!

I love how the book can be personalized so that children of color can see themselves in the pages. Explain how that came about in your illustration process.

Ah, well, THAT is why this story ended up actually becoming books and not just a blog post. As timing would have it, last fall I became aware that Shutterfly accepted unsolicited submissions. In researching, I saw how they really expanded how personalized customer’s could make their books by picking more than just their name. They could sometimes choose the main character’s gender, skin color and hair. Wanting to submit to them, I figured out a way to create a book that could include my six diverse characters. I wrote a story that would work with the personalization, but in the midst of it I found out Shutterfly closed book submissions due to administrative changes. I lost that project, BUT, as often is the case—the creative process wasn’t in vain. My having come up with a way to make the same book with interchangeable characters for diversity’s sake, when it dawned on me that I could do that digitally and could publish them as ebooks on Amazon, I was “sold.” Once I realized I had the power to execute these books, there was no stopping me! And now that I finally accomplished the publishing part, once I have promo behind me, I plan to create 2 more inclusive versions 🙂

What is your hope for this book?
Having to do things like stay physically distant, wear masks and wash hands often does not come naturally to most people, and getting kids to comply is not easy. Being compliant is not only critically important to help contain the spread of the virus, but it’s also the right thing to do. Caring about others should come easily, but doesn’t always, and children need to learn this at a young age. The seriousness of a global pandemic is certainly a time to set this example. By doing these basic, simple things we help ourselves, the people around us, and ultimately the heroic, essential workers. I’ve always felt that, especially with young children, they learn—and listen—when tasks and lessons are presented as “fun” or a “game.” Blending that with their penchant to often emulate or want to “be” Superheroes (and princesses), I believe it helps them understand that they are “heroes” by being Hero Helpers. I think it’s appealing in a way that helps reinforce these new “super power” habits we’re trying to instill.


I’d also like to encourage parents, teachers, doctors—anyone—to go to the website I created specifically to share free downloads. I originally wanted to include hand-washing and mask-wearing instructions in the book itself, but that really didn’t work for the storytelling, and couldn’t add pages for that purpose, at least not initially. That’s when I decided to create a website and know the value of having printed instructional material. You will find an array of kid-friendly, printable downloads to post anywhere from bathrooms to kitchens to bedrooms to classrooms to doctor’s offices and more, that could serve as useful tools to instruct and reinforce these habits. I made them in both 8 ½ x 11” and 11 x 17” sizes for this purpose.

PURCHASE LINKS for Amazon and Apple Books ebook and paperback versions of Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! are on Donna’s website:  Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! Books. Just remember—all versions are the same story; you just pick the character/s that suit the readers best. And one lucky reader can win a copy of the version of their choice by leaving a comment below. One random winner will be drawn from all who enter and announced in a later post.

You can follow :Donna on Twitter and Facebook, and her Writer Side UP! and Creativity “Cookbook” blogs, and Pippin Pals at  , Twitter and Facebook   COMING SOON: 2 more inclusive versions of Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers!: one interracial family, one with same-sex parents.

Throughout her life, :Donna Marie has had many jobs and pastimes. Just to name a few: cashier, bartender, waitress, a wide array of art jobs, party planner, clown and face painter, and A.R.A. for the NJSCBWI, some of which could be fun, none of which could be classified as a passion. The one consistent thread which started as a child first as a love, then an aspiration as a young adult, and eventually becoming a serious pursuit and true passion as an adult, has been children’s literature. With the publication of Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! her pursuit  finally became a “job” that incorporated her passion. Her sincerest hope is that these books benefit as many children as possible.

Author Robin Newman Brings on Fall with a Case of Bad Apples.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons—it’s back to school; crisp air and brisk walks in Central Park; and if you’re a fan of apples, as I am, it’s apple picking and baking season!

So, it’s no surprise that my character Porcini Pig is also a big fan of apples.


In my latest book in the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, THE CASE OF THE BAD APPLES, Porcini finds what appears to be a gift basket of apples. Naturally, he pigs out. He is a pig after all. But strangely, he becomes sick as a dog. Fortunately for him an anonymous squealer calls in a SWINE-1-1, and the MFI (Missing Food Investigators) are investigating what looks like a Code 22 (attempted hamslaughter). Who poisoned Porcini and why? Could one bad apple have poisoned the bunch? One bad765 apple indeed.

One especially sweet treat about my latest book is Mollie Katzen’s APPLE-TAS-TIC recipe for apple pockets.





My family and I devoured these apple pockets for breakfast and afternoon snack with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

apple pockets

And while you’re snacking on your yummy apple pockets, please be sure to check out the adorable book trailer for THE CASE OF THE BAD APPLES!


Enjoy and bon appétit!

robin bio

Two Winners For Two New Books Are…

I am pleased to announce the winners for last month’s book give-aways.

A signed copy of the picture book WAITING TOGETHER by Danielle Dufayet goes to: Beth Anderson

A copy of THE STORY OF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by Annette Whipple goes to Rosi Hollenbeck.  Please contact me with your address so I know where to send the books.

Wright Brothers (3)Congratulations to the winners! Thanks to all for commenting and sharing your favorite books.