AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: A Chat with Annie Silvestro in Celebration of the Release of her Debut Picture Book BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB!

Laura Sassi Tales


Today I’m delighted to have children’s author, Annie Silvestro, as my guest. Annie and I met several years ago at the NJSCBWI annual conference and I’ve enjoyed following her (and cheering her on) in her writing journey.  Her debut picture book BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss and published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers, releases this month. The story of a book-loving bunny who sneaks into the town library and borrows books for all his forest friends, KIRKUS REVIEWS hails BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB as a “sweet salute to reading” . And in its review, PUBLISHERS’ WEEKLY states that Annie “makes the pleasures of reading abundantly clear.”  What’s abundantly clear to me is that Annie has a gift for charming storytelling. Welcome, Annie and let’s get started.

Your love of language is evident in BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB. How was that love developed?

Thank you for saying that! I have always been a reader and my love of language…

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Why are Picture Books in Prison? 2.7 Million Reasons…

This is a worthwhile project and a way to pass on some great children’s books your own family may have outgrown.

Michelle Eastman Books


The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma.

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melts away when kids and parents are able to share a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times…

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Book Giveaway – Charlotte Bennardo

Such a wonderful series deserves to be read and shared.

Writing and Illustrating

Congratulations to Charlotte Bennardo for her second book in the Evolution Revolution series – Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans. Charlotte has agreed to give do a book giveaway. 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 did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

charlottebook2BOOK DESCRIPTION:

After leading the battle against the construction machines to save his woods, Jack the squirrel continues visiting his human friend, Collin. He brings Sister, and Bird, who can copy Collin’s words. This allows Jack to ‘talk’ to Collin. When Jack shares what he learns with the other woodland animals, Fox wants no part of learning anything human. Rat…

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More Book Winners & Celebrate Winter

Congratulations to all the winners! Linda please forward you re-mail so I can send you your book!

Writing and Illustrating

Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner – Deliver Her by Patricia Perry Donovan
Donna Cangelosi – Normal Norman by Tara Lazar
Linda Mitchell – Wheels of Change by Darlene Beck Jacobson
Teresa Robeson – The Legend of Glass by Trinka Hakes Noble
Leila Nabih – Land Sharks by Beth Ferry

martha-aanimals_postcard_back_wtWatching the snow come down inspired adding this snowy illustration by Martha Aviles. She  studied graphic design at the University of Mexico, and has worked as a full-time illustrator since 1991, when she published her first Children’s Book. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday.


by Eileen Spinelli

  1. Make snow angels. No Snow? Make paper angels.
  2. Bring a basket of socks, gloves and scarves to a shelter.
  3. Invite a friend in for hot chocolate and cookies.
  4. Treat yourself to a pair of new pajamas.
  5. Cozy up with a book of poetry. Read one aloud.
  6. Play a board game…

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Your New Year Challenge

At the start of a new year, many of us make resolutions and try to make some changes in our lives.  The idea of a fresh start is always an exciting one for me. It is an opportunity to begin with a clean slate and endless possibilities.

For 2017 I am offering you and your children a challenge.

Learn something new together. Take dance classes, an on-line puppet tutorial, learn to yodel or juggle.  Whatever takes your fancy. Every time you learn something new, you fire synapses in your brain and give it a boost.

Try new foods. If you cook and prepare meals with your children, they will be more inclined to eat new foods.

Learn a new skill. Sewing, knitting, woodworking, ceramics, gardening, knot tying, origami, basket weaving…there are so many wonderful ways to express creativity.  Once you learn a skill, it will be with you forever and yours to pass on to others.

Visit a place you’ve never been to before.  Art museum, dinosaur dig site, beach, mountains, cave, National Park, anywhere near or far that you’ve wanted to visit and have yet to do so. You’ll be happy you did.  It’s a great way to make memories.

Help someone in need.  Do at least one kind thing for someone else each week. Your good feelings will last long after the event.

When you receive a kindness – be it a compliment, gift, gesture, or whatever – Pay It Forward.

A Happy, Peaceful and Productive 2017 to all!

Book Giveaway – The Warden’s Daughter – Jerry Spinelli

Writing and Illustrating

Newbury Award Winning author Jerry Spinelli has a new book, THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER hitting the book shelves on January 3rd. He has agreed to join our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza. I loved it. It’s a rich, heartwarming middle grade story that is perfect for children and adults. It was so much fun being taken back to 1959 with hula hoops, black and white tv’s, the music of the day, Bandstand, and Sputnik. If you enjoyed reading Maniac Magee, then you will love returning to Two Mills – I know I did. Jerry delivers a well written diverse book. Don’t miss this one. Here is the link to pre-order.

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…

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