Tag Archives: #author

Wolf in the Snow Book Review

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell, follows one little girl on her journey home from school. A blizzard is suddenly upon her. She does her best to move in the direction of her house, but is blinded by the snow.

At the same time, a young wolf pup is having difficulty keeping up with his pack. They are much older than he is and are used to the harsh weather. The pup struggles to keep his feet moving as the snow continues to pile up around him.

Suddenly, the girl and pup meet. She can see that he is scared and lonely. Picking him up, the girl attempts to send him on his way, but the snow has become too deep. The pup simply sinks.

The girl is now faced with a difficult dilemma. Should she help reunite the pup with his pack or continue her treacherous trek home?

This is one of my all-time favorite children’s books! Being a nearly wordless picture book, this story relies heavily on illustrations. Cordell knocks it out of the park with stunning hand drawn images that will leave the reader speechless.

Each turn of the page conveys strong emotions. Empathy, fear, and courage are on display in Cordell’s story. Children will delight at the detailed illustrations and will fall in love with the characters.

This is a wonderful book for readers of all ages. I could definitely see this being used for humane education classes at local shelters and rescue groups.



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Harriet Gets Carried Away Book Review

Harriet loves wearing costumes. Whether she is going to the store, the park or the dentist, Harriet has the perfect costume for every occasion. The day of her dress-up birthday party has arrived. Her dads ask her to get ready to go to the grocery store in preparation.

Donning her penguin costume, Harriet heads to the store. Her dads go to the deli and Harriet waddles off in search of party hats. On her way to the party aisle, she sees a group of penguins getting bags of ice in the frozen section!

Curious Harriet follows the penguin pack to a group of hot air balloons waiting outside. The penguins quickly accept her as one of their own and begin to head back to the arctic. Will Harriet be able to find her way back home? Will she miss her own birthday party?

I absolutely love this book! Harriet is a delightful character full of spunk and heart. I love that Harriet expresses herself through costumes. She doesn’t appear to care what others think of her. Harriet is unique and she owns it!

I also love that Sima embraces different family units. Harriet has two dads, unlike your typical children’s picture book. I am reminded of a similar family dynamic in the picture book Honey and Leon. Children definitely need to be exposed to the ever expanding family types and Sima conveys this beautifully through her illustrations and text.

Sima’s illustrations are simply stunning. The cool color palate gives off a chilly vibe, perfect for reading about penguins. Children will fall in love with Harriet and her tuxedo clad friends.

I greatly admire Sima’s attention to detail along with hints of foreshadowing in her illustrations. I love that Harriet’s dog enjoys playing dress-up too. If you look closely, you will see that Harriet has a poster of Kelp, the unicorn turned narwhal from Sima’s first picture book, Not Quite Narwhal. See what other things you and your child can find as you read together!

I had the great honor of meeting Jessie Sima at the book release event for this book at The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Missouri. Sima is extremely down to earth and one of the friendliest people on the planet. I cannot wait to see what she works on next.

This is a fantastic read for children ages 4-8.



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Jessie Sima Author Event

I screamed when I read my Facebook notification.  My favorite children’s picture book author/illustrator, Jessie Sima, would be coming to The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Missouri!  She would be celebrating the release of her second book Harriet Gets Carried Away.

My fingers could not dial the phone fast enough.  I immediately called and asked my mom to come along.  We decided to leave early on the day of the event to avoid any rush hour traffic.  What we were not expecting was the freak and sudden snow storm that we encountered the further we drove into Missouri.

We reached The Novel Neighbor and I excitedly exited the car.  I could not believe that I was about to meet Jessie Sima!  Of course, mom and I turned out to be the first ones there.  Better early than late, we always say.

Jessie was still setting up.  My heart raced as we entered the room.

“Hi, guys!  Welcome and thank you for coming!” she greeted.

I immediately had a fan out moment.  I gushed and told her that Not Quite Narwhal is my favorite children’s book of all time.

Aww!  Thank you so much!” Jessie said.

She stopped setting up and posed for selfies, autographed my copy of Not Quite Narwhal that I snuck in and graciously accepted the copy of Priceless Penny that I handed to her.

Selfie time with Jessie Sima!


“This is for me?” she asked.  “Thank you so much!  I love it!”

Mom then returned with two copies of Sima’s newest book, Harriet Gets Carried Away.  Jessie happily autographed both books and then took the time to speak with my mother about her career as an elementary school teacher.


Love this autograph from Jessie!


I am beyond touched that Jessie liked Priceless Penny!


Jessie was beyond down to earth.  Speaking with her was like being with an old friend.  I am glad that she didn’t think my fanning out was too crazy.

The event was great fun.  Jessie read Not Quite Narwhal and Harriet Gets Carried Away aloud.  She then drew a narwhal for the children in attendance to color.  Jessie also answered any questions that the children (and their parents) had.

This was truly one of the best days of my life.  I hope that Jessie will come back to Missouri for future book releases.  To learn more about this amazing author/illustrator, visit her official website at:  jessiesima.com.

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Picture Book Summit Review 2017

The date was circled on my calendar in bright red.  I eagerly began counting down the days in the middle of September.  My very first Picture Book Summit was only days away!

What is a picture book summit, you may ask?  It is a day-long writing conference for picture book authors and illustrators that is conducted webinar style.  I get to enjoy the summit from the comfort of my own home.  No long car rides or pricey hotel fees.  Just me, a cup of tea and my laptop.  Paradise!


Lauren PBSummit2

With tea in hand, I am ready for the #PBSummit!

October 7th arrived and I jumped out of bed.  I didn’t want to miss a single moment.  The summit began with a dance party.  I loved watching the summit founders bust a move!

My excitement level was at an all-time high when acclaimed author/illustrator Tomi DePaola took to the web cam.  He looked like a jolly elf that I just wanted to hug!  His presentation was truly inspiring.  I could not believe that he used to tap dance, like me!  He also spoke of his artistic process and shared a glimpse at some new projects he is working on.  I literally could have listened to him speak all day.

The second speaker was none other than summit founder Julie Hedlund.  Her presentation was about the layers of children’s picture books.  I loved her detailed description of each layer.  I never knew that there was so much substance within the pages of picture books.


Lauren and Penny Featured in the 2017 Picture Book Summit

I am so honored to have been featured in the PBSummit slideshow!

Renowned picture book author Carole Boston Weatherford shared insight on the importance of point of view in picture book writing.  She also gave summiteers a glimpse into her writing process that she likened to a spiritual experience.  Fellow founder, Laura Backes, followed up with a fabulous presentation about writing with a purpose without sounding “preachy.”  The takeaways she provided were not only helpful but inspiring.

Ending the day with Adam Rex was truly like the proverbial cherry on top of a sundae.  He was absolutely hilarious!  I learned how valuable humor can be in a picture book and that the days of “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes are long gone.

I greatly appreciate the literary agents who also took part in the summit.  They gave clear descriptions of the types of picture books they are currently in the market for.  I loved getting to learn tips and tricks for how to make my writing stand out and avoid the slush pile!  I will definitely be doing some serious re-writing this weekend.


Dash the Fox

I cannot wait to see Dash again next year!

I had an absolute blast at the Picture Book Summit!  I will definitely be attending next year (and every year after!).  The presentations were so inspiring that I also signed up for the Summit Founders’ Sessions.  The sessions will be held once a month from November 2017 to February 2018.  I know that I am going to learn even more about the fabulous world of picture book writing.  I cannot wait!

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