Laurie Wallmark Presents: Dino Pajama Party – A New Picture Book Review.

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of a new picture book by author Laurie Wallmark. Here’s my review:

Dino Pajama Party by Laurie Wallmark,  Illustrated by Michael Robertson is a delightful new bedtime picture book for the little ones. Though Laurie is known for her award-winning STEM biography  picture books, this first foray into fiction is sure to be a winner.

As dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes rock and roll their way to bedtime, kids will enjoy the action and lively illustrations as they get ready for their own bedtime pajama party. A fun, rhyming, read-aloud that is sure to be a favorite with kid dinosaurs and their parents.”

Dino Pajama Party: A Bedtime Book

Here’s the link to the activity kit:

Laurie Wallmark 

Dino Pajama Party (Running Press Kids, October 2021)

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter (Abrams Kids, 2021)

Numbers in Motion (Creston Books, 2020)

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling Kids, 2019)

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Kids, 2017)

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015)

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTION, CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and her debut fiction picture book, DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor. You can find Laurie on the Web at and @lauriewallmark. 

Laurie Wallmark 


SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS by Annette Whipple Will be Arriving to the House of…

The winner of the recent give-away of a signed copy of SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS  by author Annette Whipple is…drum roll please…

Danielle Hammelef.  Congratulations! and thanks to all who left a comment about this interesting and fascinating book on spiders. For those who didn’t win, the book is available at:

and at local INDY bookstores:

Cover for Scurry! the Truth about Spiders

Book Giveaway: DEAR MR. DICKENS by Nancy Churnin

Head on over to Kathy Temean’s blog for a chance to win a copy of this fascinating book by author Nancy Churnin.

Writing and Illustrating

Nancy Churnin’s picture book DEAR MR. DICKENS, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe and published by Albert Whitman & Co is coming out on October 1st.

 Nancy has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner in the U.S. mailing territory. 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 Nancy and Bethany.


In Eliza Davis’s day, Charles Dickens was the most celebrated living writer in England. But some of his books reflected a prejudice that was all…

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Author Annette Whipple Presents: SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS + A Chance to Win a Signed Copy.

Today it is my pleasure to feature Author Annette Whipple with the third STEM book in her Truth About series: SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS (Reycraft Books).  Annette is here to tell you about her research and some fascinating facts about these amazing creatures. And she will be GIVING AWAY A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK TO ONE WINNER CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM THOSE WHO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. Now, here’s Annette:

Thanks so much for featuring Scurry! The Truth About Spiders on your blog! Since Scurry is the third book in the series, I finally had a few things figured out. Researching it was a ton of fun. I knew it would be a question- and-answer book and that I wouldn’t be able to include all the cool information I learned. Scurry cover

After some very basic spider research (no note-taking, just wanting to better understand spiders in general), I began brainstorming. I used the bubble method and explained how I did it for the topic of spiders and specifically for Scurry! The Truth About Spiders in this blog post about nonfiction brainstorming.

Spider brainstorming

After brainstorming, I categorized similar topics together and decided (loosely) what questions I wanted to include in this Q&A book. That narrowed my research quite a bit. I took notes in a spiral notebook and printed out and saved bunches and bunches of research, too. (Keep an eye out for a blog post about my research notebooks. It’s on my to-do list.)

Once I began researching, I used books focusing on spiders (even a field guide), as well as websites like and published papers. I consulted with an expert who had over 60 years of experience studying spiders. He answered my questions and reviewed my manuscript (with small suggestions and clarifications). I also worked with another spider expert…and met hundreds of tarantulas! I even held one! And I might have brought a spider exoskeleton home with me. Edna’s been a huge hit during author visits. (I always warn people before I remove her from her box.)

annette with spider

I knew spiders were cool, but through my research, I found out they are truly fascinating! I’ll share 3 spider-ific facts!

1. I was surprised to learn that 99.9% of spiders are not dangerous to people. Insects—very dangerous. People—very rarely! Honestly, I thought that was an exaggerated statistic. But it’s true!

2. If a spider is in danger, they can self-amputate. So if a bird grabs onto a spider’s leg, the spider can just pop off that leg—and grow a new one! Or at least it will grow a new leg if it has another molt left.

3. We use our tongue to taste, ears to hear, and nose to smell…but spiders use the hairs on their bodies to sense their world! (Most spiders have very poor vision. Jumping spiders are the exception to that.)

I love to include activities in my books, especially activities that get kids focused on STEM. A web-building challenge is included in the back of the book!

Scurry 14-15 cover

Even if you don’t love spiders, I hope you’ll give Scurry! The Truth About Spiders a try! Just request it at your local library or bookstore. Oh, one more fun fact…the hardcover editions of

The Truth About books include a full-size poster! I think that’s pretty cool and am so thankful that Reycraft Books puts so much thought into creating beautiful books for readers.

Other titles in this wonderful and informative series are: Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls, and Woof! The Truth About Dogs. Next year the series will continue with a book about frogs and another about cats!

 To be entered in the giveaway of a signed copy of SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS, leave a comment. If you share this post on social media, let me know and I will give you a second chance to win. US residents only, please.

 About MeAnnette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder while exciting readers about science and history. She’s the author of ten fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press), The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press), and Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls (Reycraft Books). The Truth About series also includes books about dogs, spiders, frogs, and cats. When Annette’s not reading or writing, you might find her baking for her family in Pennsylvania. Get to know her and explore her resources for teachers and writers at


Another enriching and fascinating non fiction picture book by Award-winning author Nancy Churnin.

Writing and Illustrating

Nancy Churnin was another picture book CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT, HOW Charlie Sifford BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER IN GOLF, illustrated by John Joven and published by Albert Whitman. It hit bookstores on Sept. 1.

 Nancy has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner in the U.S. mailing territory. 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 Nancy and John.


Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play…

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Jack and Katy Get Ready For School: A Poem From WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY.

No matter how much fun we have each summer, we eventually have to go Back To School. While this can be welcome by some, and dreaded by others, the new school year 2021 continues to be a challenge for all.

As teachers and students head back to school virtually, or in person, or as some hybrid combination, may all of you be blessed with good health, curiosity, excitement for learning, and may it be a good year for all.

Here’s a Back-To-School poem from my novel in verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston) where Jack and his sister Katy just spent a day with Mom, Gran and Pops, shopping for school goodies.




hours later, my stomach
growling like a grumpy bear, we
carry out shopping bags
stuffed with all the loot a kid needs for school.

Even though Mom protested,
Pops emptied his wallet to pay for everything.
Besides shoes
socks, underwear,
there are two pants and shirts for me,
two dresses for Katy.
A Barbie lunch box that has Katy wanting to
put food in it already.
Why didn’t you get a lunch box, Jack?
Guys my age brown bag it, I say.

A second shopping bag holds
a 64 pack of crayons that has Katy
sniffing and squealing over the colors,
wanting me to read the names of each one.
Later, I tell her.

There’s also enough chalk to draw a line on the
highway all the way home probably.

Katy wears her
patent leather black shoes in the car, sitting
up front with Gran and Pops,
both of them beaming at her,
their own miracle,
their one-of-a-kind treasure no wish or
money can buy.

Mom snaps a picture of me with
my nose pressed
between the pages of one of the notebooks.
I take a whiff,
the smell of school disguised as paper,
a good smell, even though I complain.

I’ve done a lot of
thinking today, but not about school.
You know how
when you’re not even thinking
about something and
an idea,
a good idea
maybe the best idea comes to you?
That’s what I’m hoping
will happen to me.

May all of you “hang on” through the ups and downs of this school year and may you find what you need to shine like the patent leather shoes Katy wears.

If you don’t mind, I’d love to hear your favorite Back-to-School ritual from your own childhood. Care to share?