Counting Down the Days! Is It Over?


Here’s a quick update on the release of my first picture book, officially releasing on June 6, 2021.



It is now listed at retailers, so you can click to find it where you prefer to shop:


Barnes Noble:


Support independent booksellers via Indiebound:

and, of course, PenIt! Publications, where you can inquire about discounts for bulk orders.

You can mark it as WANT-TO-READ, and also read what others think on GOODREADS:

Just a side note here, in support of MY books, naturally, but for all authors’ works. There are many things you can do to support books and authors you enjoy:

  1. Ask your local librarian to stock the book. They have limited budgets, but truly want to shelve books that their patrons want to read.
  2. Leave a review/rating on booksellers sites, especially AMAZON. You do not have to buy it from them- I review library books there often. You will not be able to post a review until after the release date, but then can do so. As you must realize, Amazon is the largest bookseller in the world, and so their ratings have an outsized impact on attention to any title for any audience.
  3. Naturally, buying books is always a support, but BOOK-TALKING  it to friends and on social media is an enormous help, and costs less!

Launch day is only a week away (Tuesday evening, July 6). To meet me and  illustrator Rebecca Hirsch”virtually”, register for our Eventbrite session  at 6:00 PM central time. It’s free, and anyone who registers is entered in a raffle to win copy of the book signed by both Rebecca and ME!

Hope to see you there!

Dads: A Special Picture Book

Carolrhoda Books, 2020

I’m sharing this remarkable photographic picture book a bit late, since it published more than  a year ago. And yet it is exactly the right time. Fathers’ Day is just around the corner. This collaboration between succinct writer John Coy and gifted photographer Wing Young Huie is a homage to the purest, simplest ways in which Dads matter. Coy tags himself on his website: author, speaker, educator. To that i would add, Man of Few Words. They are, however, the right words.

Jacket copy quote from text:

“Dads work, dads share, dads laugh, dads fix.”

The spare text (just a few words per page) tags utterly, gloriously mundane photography by Huie in color and black/white. In each image, a father is featured, with offspring (often boys, but not exclusively), with other fathers or multiple generations.They represent  a wide range of ages, identities, ethnicities, economic and social standings, and communities, few of them typically featured in such a universal concept book. In an era of selfies and  casual “pix”, these images are both familiar and extraordinary. Each is a story in itself, framed and focused to invite our attention, trigger memories, welcome inquiry, and always recognize something deeply familiar. Both intense and minimalist, these pages have a powerful impact.

Often attributed to one of the most iconic sitcom dads of all time, some say,








This book reveals how showing up, being there, taking part in the lives of others is a foundational contribution beyond measure. I hope you’ll give it a good look, and then give it to a dad you know and love, even if your own dad isn’t around anymore.









IS IT OVER? Nope, Just Getting Started!

If you subscribe to my newsletter and also to blog updates, this could  reach you twice. Please forgive me, if that is the case, but I’m trying not to miss  anyone who might be interested in joining in on this journey.

Today the countdown begins…

My first picture book will release exactly three weeks from today, July 6, 2021.

There are several ways to participate in the excitement:

A virtual BOOK BIRTHDAY event on July 6, an actual in-person outdoor event for those in the area on July 18, and a 10% discount on preorders through the publisher, Penit! Publications.

By the way, I heard earlier today that the discount code, PENIT10, was glitchy in the early hours. I  requested a check on that, but please send a comment if you encounter a problem. The discount ends on release day. 

If you did NOT get the newsletter with details, here are a few links that could help:

Newsletter online link:

Direct link to the virtual event, which requires registration:

Both the virtual event and in person event include a chance to win a free copy of the book, so I’ll include that offer here. Anyone who comments here, from today through July 1 will be included in a drawing for a free copy of the book, signed by me AND Becky!

That’s about it for now, but watch for some upcoming reviews of OTHER great picture books involving Dads/Daddy/Fathers, just  to set the mood for



I’ve had requests to include the release sheet with full information, and so I am adding a download here for anyone interested.


Cover Reveal for IS IT OVER?

When you choose a picture book and steps up to a counter, or click on a web page shopping cart, the last thing on your mind is the complex journey that brought that particular book to your hands  You  may select a picture book based on cover appeal, a catchy title, the back blurb, the subject matter, a recommendation, or even a full review. Seldom is the reason for a purchase based on the author or illustrator whose work made that book possible,.

That’s as it should be, even when considering all-star creators among the world of children’s books.  The magic power of picture books is their ability to cast a spell on readers in ways we can’t entirely understand. The back story of the journey from idea to checkout counter is circuitous and challenging, even in the best of circumstances. Today I begin the process of revealing the magic I hope you’ll find in my new picture book, IS IT OVER?

In coming days and weeks I’ll be sharing some examples of those ups and downs and sidesteps, but today is a time to celebrate.

As of today, it is official.

My picture book, IS IT OVER? is not yet ready for sale (at an independent bookseller in your neighborhood, or an online shopping cart) but it will be, on July 6, 2021! For today, though, the cover reveal is featured on the amazing blog of a friend, colleague, and coach extraordinaire, Rochelle Melander.



I am thrilled  to have reached this day, and here’s why:

In the publishing world, a cover reveal is as much a “NO TURNING BACK NOW!” shout to the world as it is an “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!”  swoon of excitement. I hope that you’ll click over to Rochelle’s post to read some or all of my guest post about this book and how it came to be.

In case you are in a hurry, though, THIS IS IT!

Having my words and story become a book is joyous, but I’m doubly excited to share this cover  to celebrate the GORGEOUS, lively, and sensitive illustrations of another friend and colleague,Wisconsin SCBWI artist Rebecca S. Hirsch. Click her name to see her website for some added sneak-peeks at a few interior scenes. If anything draws readers to this book it will be Rebecca’s storytelling illustrations, inviting browsers to check out the story, and helping them to fall in love with Risa and her Dad.

I hope to have Rebecca as a guest here in the coming weeks, sharing more about her approach to converting letters on a page (or screen) into a visual narrative that tugs at the heart and invites chuckles and smiles.

I’ll have more news about this cover reveal and about the back story of bringing this picture book to your hands, including Rebecca’s work in my newsletter. If you haven’t subscribed, you may want to, just to be sure you won’t miss any breaking news. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and click the SUBSCRIBE tab. I tend to send out three-to-four newsletters per year with some updates and seasonal wishes. To tell the truth, though, in the coming months I’m likely to send out a newsletter every  there-to-four weeks, keeping you posted on reviews, events, availability, and more. Don’t worry though, after the wave of release activities subsides, I’ll resume a more seasonal approach. And if you try it but find you aren’t interested in receiving it, just unsubscribe.

If you’re a social media person, you can also tune into my ongoing news leading up to and after  the release of IS IT OVER? Just use the tabs on my home page and follow. While you’re at it, follow Rebecca on Instagram: @rhirschillus  and Twitter: @rhirschillus. Find Rochelle @WriteNowCoach, and the publisher @PenItPub.

As I said in the opening paragraph, books find their own fans. I’m not too shy, though, to invite any and all family, friends, and followers to jump on board this bandwagon and enjoy the ride with us!



Happy EARTH DAY, 2021

All this week I’ve been sharing posts recommending picture books that can inspire and ignite a spirit of conservation and activism regarding our one and only planet, Earth. Today is the actual and official EARTH DAY, 2021, the fifty-first such day, and noteworthy for a variety of reasons. If you care to take a look at my picture book blog posts, I’d suggest starting with today’s, since it acknowledges the power of combined effort in Wisconsin’s Senator Gaylord Nelson’s effort to launch this environmental awareness and activism movement.

The post includes several picture books that will blow you away with the power of their text and illustration. It ends with a link to a YOUTUBE video of the song BLUE BOAT HOME, lyrics and music written by Peter Mayer.  (If you don’t move over to that post, the title is linked here, too.

Why would I mention all this here? Because some changes are coming soon to this website.

By mid-May this location will expand and update to include information about the release of my first picture book. Watch for the cover reveal and details about celebration plans. This site will also be rolling in an addition page that will cross- post new picture book posts, ones that, until now, I’ve only had on my longstanding blog, UNPACKING THE POWER OF PICTURE BOOKS. Posts will soon appear on both sites in an attempt to reach readers with wide interests. And, if my best intentions are carried out, I will be reworking the archives on my picture book site to make archived posts more readily accessible for those seeking a “just right” book for particular readers, topics, and occasions.

For now, this post is simply to answer a few of the questions I hear, including:


Oh, my, yes. But much of it has been behind the scenes. Stay tuned!