Blogs Welcome IS IT OVER?

On July 6, launch day, our picture book was welcomed to the world, virtually. with a book-birthday-blast on  the blog of prolific and generous author, Vivian Kirkfield. She graciously featured IS IT OVER? with a brief note from me, then added simple introductions to illustrator Rebecca S. Hirsch and me, and is hosting a randomized giveaway of a signed copy of our book AND a stuffed Ivan the elephant!

Vivian not only writes remarkable and award-winning picture books (fiction and nonfiction), she mentors other writers, sponsors contests, and delights audiences, young and old. Check out all of her books here, including FROM HERE TO THERE, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD, SWEET DREAMS SARAH, and others. More are on the way, too, making Vivian Kirkfield a force of writing wonder who is worth knowing about and following if you love picture books.

Then Dianne White asked terrific questions in an interview on her blog, Readerkidz, HERE. Dianne is the author of award-winning picture books that are among my favorites, including: Green on Green, Blue on Blue, Who Eats Orange, Goodbye Brings Hell0, and Winter Lullaby.
You can check out her books page by clicking on the titles above, and read my interview with her by clicking HERE. While you’re there, subscribe to her blog to stay up to date on her picture book recommendations.

Next, writer, coach, and inspiration, Rochelle Melander, invited me to share ideas about ways teachers, librarians, and family might use IS IT OVER? to extend learning and engagement with the text. If that sounds interesting to you, I nope you’ll check out my interview, HERE, This post was lots of fun and includes a link to the teacher resources page on this website. Rochelle has a new book coming out in  two weeks. I had the privilege of an advanced read, hosting the cover reveal, and interviewing Rochelle HERE. Encourage teachers you know to check out Rochelle’s suggestion blog as a quick and quality way to find out about recent releases and get quick tips from the authors for ways to encourage kids to interact and expand thinking.

Then, in the midst of a Midwest thunderstorm, blogger Patricia Tilton offered a lovely review on her blog, CHILDREN’S BOOKS HEAL.

I was particularly pleased because I’ve followed her blog for years, always finding wonderful titles with emotional resonance. To have my own picture book among her posts means that it may find its way into the hands of kids and families for whom it will play a heartwarming and healing role. I was especially pleased that she commented on the expansive and emotional power of the illustrations by Rebecca S. Hirsch, and added this in her comments:

“The entire book is gorgeous and will be a winner with families.”

For the first two weeks in the wide world, these are such heartwarming and encouraging welcomes. Thank you to the blog hosts, to you who are reading this, and to whatever is happening in my life that invites such support. It is a grace and goodness I deeply appreciate.

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!