Posted in Book Review

What would happen?

By Crispin Boyer

Have you noticed yet that I really like National Geographic Kids books? They do send me books to review but I really like them. If you have kids and see a National Geographic Kids books, you should just get it. It will be good.

What would Happen? is a book with “serious answers for silly questions.” For instance, what would happen if the world stopped moving? The serious answer is you would fly off Earth.

I liked that I learned facts in a funny way. It is like when I listen to Wow in the World with Guy and Mindy (psst Guy, you need this book for Mindy). Teachers should have this book for the kid who asks a million questions like Little Brother.

I also recommend this to my friends who are homeschooled.

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Nancy Shaw


When you were my age, did you like to read? I have always loved to read.

What was your favorite story? In elementary school, I liked Beverly Cleary, Ruth Stiles Gannett, and especially Half Magic by Edward Eager. (I like Harry Potter and I’m sure they would have been favorite books if I’d had them when I was young.) I kept loving to read all the time I was growing up, and I still do.

How do you get your ideas? Why Sheep? Ideas can come from real life–I wrote Elena’s Story because of visiting a middle school in Guatemala. I wrote Raccoon Tune because raccoons kept messing up our trash cans. The Sheep stories started from goofing around with rhymes–I wanted to see if I could tell a whole story that rhymed with “eep”–and then grew because sheep are fun to put in silly situations. They have a reputation for not being very sensible.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? It’s hard for me to write a book–especially getting started, and then making the characters have enough of a problem to be a real story.

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? I’m fond of Raccoon Tune and Sheep Out to Eat, but I like them all.

What author do you really like right now? I have many favorite authors, especially Jane Austen and Anthony Doerr for adults. Some of the authors I like for young people are Maryrose Wood, Gennifer Choldenko, Lisa Yee, Cece Bell, David Wiesner, and Jerdine Nolen. A new favorite is The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Reading what you love is good practice for being an author. You will get a sense of how stories work, even if you are not thinking about it directly. And write what you enjoy writing, too

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Amy Nielander






I am the Author Illustrator of the wordless picture book, THE LADYBUG RACE. I have always loved being creative since I was your age! I remember drawing my  neighbors houses when I was little for fun and typing stories  out on our typewriter.

When you were my age, did you like to read? I did like to read. I can’t remember exactly what I was reading at that particular time but a few books I do remember enjoying were Where the Sidewalk Ends, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  and The Littles.

What was your favorite story? My favorite story was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. My favorite picture book was Popcorn by Frank Asch.

How do you get your ideas?My ideas come from many places. Stories sometimes come to me if something happens and it affects me emotionally. Ideas may also come in the form of an object…like pajamas! When my daughter was three she had a favorite pair of
polka dotted pajamas. She loved them so much (so did I) that I created a story about…a polka dot family!

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? It depends. If all parts of the story come together easily, then its not so tough! But, usually its the other way around and I have to try and try (and try!) to figure out the  best solution.

What is it like to both write and illustrate your book? It is fun to do both the writing and illustrating. I am still learning how to be the very best author and illustrator I can possibly be!

What author do you really like right now? I like many authors and illustrators. But, if I were to go back to the very beginning of my journey.  I would say Marla Frazee (Mrs. Biddlebox, The Boss Baby, Walk On!)  was the artist I looked up to most.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read as much as you can! And write.


Amy says you can find the Ladybug Medal activity on her website.

Posted in Book Review

Pax and Blue

By Lori Richmond

Pax is a boy and Blue is a pigeon. They are friends. Every day Pax goes out to a bench and feeds Blue a piece of toast. One day, Pax is in a rush and doesn’t stay. Blue doesn’t understand and follows on to the subway. Won’t tell you what happens when a Pigeon goes on the subway but it is cute.

I liked the illustrations. I like this because it helps you understand that being a friend means helping. It also shows you can be friends with people or animals that are different from you.

Since everyone should read this book, I am suggesting you pair it with Be a Friend by Salina Yoon and Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev.

PS Lori is illustrating Tim Kubart’s book. Yesterday they revealed the cover so go check one of their feeds.

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Kristin Bartley Lenz


Author website/social media:,,

Tell me a little about yourself: I am a writer and social worker, and I live in metro-Detroit with my husband, teen daughter, and two puppies, Henry and Harper. I used to work as a social worker at Children’s Hospital in Detroit, but now I’m blending writing with social work. In addition to working on my own stories, I do freelance writing for non-profits/social service agencies, and I manage the SCBWI-MI blog.

When you were my age, did you like to read? I was a total bookworm growing up. I was often sick due to severe asthma, and I spent a lot of time resting and reading.

What was your favorite story? I don’t know if I had one favorite story, but Judy Blume was my favorite author. I loved all of her books.

How do you get your ideas? My ideas are sparked by real-life incidents or emotions or “what if” questions. For example, my novel The Art of Holding On and Letting Go was inspired by my own rock climbing experience and wondering what it would be like to be raised by professional mountaineering parents. How would she grow up differently than me, and how would her upbringing shape her worldview?

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Yes! Sometimes a story idea is there and the first draft will flow, but I often get stuck in the middle. And even when the full story is written, there’s still a lot of revising to do. My first draft is often just the bare bones of a story, and then with each revision, the characters, plot, and themes become more developed.

Can you explain what you do for SCBWI? What is it? SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s an international, professional organization that supports children’s writers and illustrators, and every state has a chapter. I manage the blog for the Michigan chapter, so that means I work with a small team of co-editors to publish a weekly blog post about any writing/illustrating/publishing topics that are of interest to not only our Michigan members, but any writer, illustrator, or reader of children’s books. You can follow the blog here:

What author do you really like right now? Gary D. Schmidt is speaking at the SCBWI-MI fall conference, so I just re-read his novel, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy. I loved it just as much as I remembered from ten years ago.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Keep reading and being curious. Over time, reading a lot of stories will naturally give you a blueprint for how to write. And if you’re curious and continue to learn about the world, you’ll have a steady stream of ideas to write about.


Bridget Note:  I have not read Kristin’s book yet but my mom has. She says it is amazing and hard to put down, but also for kids a bit older than me.

Posted in Book Review


By Brady Barr

Chomp is a book about animals, their bite force and their menus. These are the animals you don’t want to meet in the wild when they are hungry. They describe each animals bite force, which is the amount of pressure an animal applies when it bites down. An adult human has a bite force of 200 pounds.

My favorite was an alligator snapping turtle nicknamed slicer. It looks like a dinosaur and has really sharp teeth.

Kids who are into science and learning stuff would like this book. Schools should have this book. It is easy to read and understand. They make each animal interesting.

I think it would be cool to meet Brady Barr one day. He has a cool job

Posted in Book Review

Bear and Squirrel are Friends… Yes, really

by Deb Pilutti


I picked this book up at Book Beat’s birthday party.  Annoying Little Brother thought the title was funny! Guess what – the book is very funny! It is a pee your pants funny one!

This is the story of a bear and squirrel who are friends. Yes, you heard me right. They play together. They clean together. They eat together. Their other friends are confused. The other bears want to eat squirrels. The other squirrels say “don’t be friends. He is going to eat you.” When Bear wakes from winter nap, he looks at Squirrel differently.  Is he going to eat him? Nah, Squirrel just goes to make him breakfast and lunch and probably brunch and probably dinner and maybe breakfast again. I am sure a bear is very very hungry when he wakes up.

I like this book because it is funny. It teaches you that friends won’t eat friends. You can friends with anyone.

This would not be a good bedtimes story because you would be laughing too much. It could be good for kids who are biting their friends. Also maybe people who are unsure who they could be friends with.

PS. Deb shared about a book event this weekend that will have lots of kids authors. I don’t know if I will make it but check out Kerrytown Bookfest