K is for Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 3

Welcome to Show and Tell, where your fan favorites and #kidlit authors & illustrators share their kindergarten pictures and a kinder memory each #tbt.

This week’s Kinder grew up to be picture book author and musician

Tim McCanna. 

Tim is the author of BITTY BOT, WATERSONG,

and his recent release:


with illustrations by Allison Black (Abrams Appleseed).

School Library Journal recently called it, “A great title for toddlers and preschoolers; even babies would love the funny sounds. A definite purchase for any size children’s collection.”

Tim’s kindergarten memory is about the BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER:

I had an amazing birthday party when I was in Kindergarten! It was very traditional with games like Pin the Tail On the Donkey, a big cake with cowboys on it, and I was surrounded by all my closest friends. My mother, however, remembers it a little differently.

Her heart was in the right place—she invited every single kid in the class of 25. She had all kinds of activities planned, including an idea where she hid jigsaw puzzle pieces around the house for us to find and then put together. But, she only had my older step-sister to assist with the event, and no parents stuck around to help. I hear that it was an exhausting few hours managing so many kids. And months later, we were still finding puzzle pieces around the house.

Soon after, a family friend told Mom to only invite a number of guests equal to the age of the child. That may be good advice, but from my 6-year-old perspective, it was the biggest and best birthday ever.

Ah, yes–with Kindergarten comes the etiquette (and pressure) of Birthday party invitations. Thank you to all the parents who made our childhood dreams come true–and never left anyone out! 

Thanks also to Tim, for sharing your Kindergarten Show and Tell.


Tim is offering a picture book manuscript critique to benefit the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and EveryLibrary.org.

Here’s the LINK. Deadline 6/11/17.

To learn more about Tim, go to TimMcCanna.com.

I can’t wait for his next book: JACK B. NINJA (illus. by Stephen Savage, Fall 2017/ Cartwheel Books/ Scholastic),

Speaking of waiting, 67 days to go until August 15th, the release date for K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN, illustrated by Joseph Cowman (Sleeping Bear Press)!

**Book Giveaway info to come!

Check back next week to meet the kindergartner who would grow up to be

picture book author JaNay Brown-Wood


K is for Kindergarten: #tbt Show and Tell

Ever wonder what your fan favorites

and #kidlit authors & illustrators were like as kids?

Welcome to Show and Tell, where we’ll share their kindergarten pictures and a memory of  kindergarten days each #tbt.

Antoinette Portis  “…aka The Sun Is In My Eyes.” (I have more than a few squinting pictures, myself! Do you?)

Today’s Kindergarten Show and Tell is from award-winning author/illustrator

Antoinette Portis,

whose books include WAIT!,  BEST FRINTS IN THE UNIVERSE,


NOT A BOX, and more.

She attended Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena, CA.

Here is her Kinder memory: 

I was the oldest kid in my family and there was no one to give me the skinny on Kindergarten. So I went off to the big school with trepidation. It was: Oh no, not another place where I have to figure out not to get into trouble.

One day near the beginning of the year, I got caught in the rain walking the two blocks to school. I was late and sopping wet when I stepped into the classroom and expected to get bawled out and sent to the Principal’s office for committing this crime. Instead the teacher took me by the hand, led me over to the sink and dried me off with wads of paper towels. That act of kindness changed my mind about how school was going to go.  Plus, I found out I loved show and tell.

Antoinette’s newest book, NOW,

will release with Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press in July:

Repetition of the simple sentence structure makes for a perfect read-along as the author creates a lovely rhythm layered with meaning … Text and art enhance each other, both like an East Asian sumi-e painting: deceivingly simple but highly sophisticated, every mark with meaning and purpose. Portis perfectly captures how children experience the world, the immediacy and magic of it all; exuberant and quiet, simple and complex, and extremely satisfying.” – KIRKUS (starred)

“Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe) writes in the voice of a girl who knows what it means to live in the moment … (she) invites children to ask themselves what gives them joy, making it clear that favorite things needn’t be logical, and can be simple, silly, and fleeting.” – PW

Thank you, Antoinette, for sharing your Kindergarten Show and Tell.

To learn more about Antoinette Portis go to antoinetteportis.com. 

Do you know an almost Kindergartner who’s feeling a bit nervous about the first day?

Maybe Antoinette’s Kinder memory –and her teacher’s lovely act of kindness– will ease the anxiety, or help to start a conversation about Kindergarten jitters.

Shameless plug: My new book, K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN, illustrated by Joseph Cowman (Sleeping Bear Press) has a page about jitters too.

I can’t wait for you to see it! 

74 days to go–August 15th to be exact! (But who’s counting?)

**Book Giveaway info to come!

Next up: Part 3 of Show and Tell. Meet the kindergartner who would grow up to be author Tim McCanna (WATERSONG, BITTY BOT–and his newest: BARNYARD BOOGIE).


K is for Kindergarten –#kidlit pals Show and Tell

Ever wonder what your favorite authors and illustrators were like as kids? This new blog series will share kindergarten pictures of #kidlit pals, along with a memory of their kindergarten days.

Here’s the first–and pretty adorable–

Kinder photo from author/illustrator Gianna Marino:

Gianna aka Mickey

Gianna’s memory:

When I was in kindergarten I was too shy to speak to anyone. If I was brave enough to say anything, it was to remind people to call me “Mickey.”

Gianna’s latest picture book, SPLOTCH (Viking Books for Young Readers)

–about a boy, his dead pet fish, and his well-intentioned mother (!)–

just hit the shelves:

Spot-on kid-humor and splashy illustrations are a signature of Gianna Marino’s work. The perfect follow-up to I Am the Mountain Mouse and Night Animals, SPLOTCH will not disappoint!

“…The work is amusing, making light of a possibly upsetting scenario while simultaneously giving credit to the wit and cunning of children…
The gouache and pencil illustrations are spot on.” –SLJ

“The illustrations focus on the child’s emotions, the mother’s deviousness, and the cat’s observations as a series of robust, colorful fish come through the bowl.  Pair with Goldfish Ghost, by Lemony Snicket…” –BOOKLIST

To learn more about Gianna Marino go to GiannaMarino.com.

Who knows?

If you have a shy Kindergartner in your family, maybe your “Mickey” is busy imagining future picture books and wonderful character friends of her very own!

Thank you to Gianna for sharing her Kindergarten Show and Tell.


Next up: Click here to meet the kindergartner who would become the award-winning author/illustrator of WAIT!, BEST FRINTS IN THE UNIVERSE, NOT A BOX, and more– including her upcoming NOW:

Antoinette Portis 

And since you’re still reading (Thanks!) my new picture book,


illustrated by Joseph Cowman, will release with Sleeping Bear Press in

80 days.

August 15th to be exact! (But who’s counting?)

**Book Giveaway info to come!

Second Graders Accept Writing Challenge!

Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox #erindealey

Mrs. Hicks’ 2nd graders from Mt. View Elementary, in Corvallis OR, accepted my writing challenge!

Behold their sequels to GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX:

I love them ALL, but the rhymed ones really tickled me. Here are a few excerpts–which pieced together make quite a fun story!

illustration by Rylan

Brother Locks has chicken pox from head to toe.

Goldie recovered, as we know.

by Abby

“Brother has chicken pox?”

Goldie Locks was truly shocked…

Jack be Nimble came to play.

Brother said, “Go AWAY!”

by Mirielle

illustration by Ariella

[Goldie] –Little Red wants to play.

Today’s the right day.

by Lilly

Jack and Jill came down the hill

with a pale

Mother said,”…We took his temperature.

It went off the scale!”

by Mirielle

illustration by Phoebe

Then Bo Peep went looking for her sheep

and she saw what happened to brother.

She said, “Don’t let it spread to another

especially Mother!”

by Scarlett

The Doc came down the clock.

Then we saw the spots

on Mother’s face.

by Abby and Scarlett

[The doctor said,] “I know the cure.

You should get cheese and muffins and vinegar.”

by Abby

illustration by Brynne

Bing pop floot

they were gone.

The End!

by Abby

Awesome job, my writing friends. Congratulations to all! 

I Wish People Knew…. an eighth grader speaks out about adoption and foster care

This week’s post is from “E” — age 14:

As her mom noted, “She’s got a lot of thoughts brewing and I hope these are useful.”

I wish people knew…Adoption is about finding parents for children who need them. NOT for adults who want to “Get a baby.”I wish they knew that Children are in foster care not in it because of anything the child did, but because the adults in their life either were unable to or couldn’t figure out the best way to take care of them. I wish they knew that once a kid is three years old in foster care the chances are then very small that they will ever be adopted. I wish people knew kids over three years old are people too, and they deserve love.

I am amazed at how many people still think foster care is where people dump their ‘bad kids’.

I wish people knew...kids in foster care are taken, not ‘given up.’ It is for the kid’s safety, and every single case is different – but NEVER because the kid did something wrong. It is sad for all kinds of reasons but there are some really good foster parents. I wish people knew that. Not all birth parents are bad, some just need extra help. And not all foster families are terrible, a lot of them are really nice and just want to help and give kids a safe place to live for a while or even forever.

There are not enough foster families or social workers,and they all work a ton. Social and adoption workers do not get paid enough.

I wish people knew and would teach their kids that there are other kinds of families besides the kind made up of parents and some bio kids. Kids in my classes (I’m in 8th grade!) act like they’ve never heard of adoption. They ask ridiculous questions like Why did my mom not want me, and Where is your real mom? Those are awful things to say to someone, but kids in my school think they are perfectly fine things to say.

Their parents have not taught them about adoption, or other families, or about kindness, I guess.

I wish people would... Not think of adoption as a last resort, only for when they can’t have a kid of “their own.”

I wish people would not think of adoption as a way for them to “Get a baby.” Adoption is not about adults and what they want. It is about kids and what they need. Adoption is not ‘Buying a baby.’ Adopting from foster care should not be a last resort either.

People only want perfect babies and that is sad, when you think about the kids in foster care who need parents. They are just people who need someone to love them. Not everyone can handle a kid who has been abused, but they don’t need to act like the abused kids are worthless. A kid is just as worthy of love if they are not a newborn or related by DNA to the parents.

Not all kids want to find or meet their birth parents. Some kids do, and I wish people would not freak out about that and think wanting that means a kid is not ‘grateful’ enough to adoptive parents. White parents adopting children of color need to make sure they have people of color in their lives for their kids to know.

I wish people would stop assuming I am Chinese, and that I was adopted from China. I am neither. But I have friends who were, and they get tired of people asking them if they speak Chinese. Most of them don’t. I don’t know what a ‘Gotcha Day’ is and I think that phrase sounds awful. It seems to be a cute way to describe a kid who has lost their birth family and is now ‘gotten’ by other people, and I don’t think that is a cute thing. It’s very serious. But also some people are fine with this. I wish people would know that many religions, like the Catholic Church, do not think gay parents should be allowed to adopt children. I wish people would know how stupid and cruel that is, and think for themselves and not listen to religion when it says to be cruel.

I wish people wouldn’t.…Say that kids who have been adopted should be especially ‘Grateful’. That makes it sound like a kid who has been adopted is bad and they should be so grateful that anyone bothered to be nice to them at all. Kids didn’t ask to be born, or to be abused, or to be an orphan or in foster care.

I wish people would’t blame kids who have been in foster care for any not great behavior. They need help, not blame.

I wish people wouldn’t tell me how I’m supposed to feel, or tell me they know for a fact that I have a “Primal Wound.” (Gross! And not true!) I wish people wouldn’t use the word “Adopted” as an adjective. It is a past tense verb. Some people who have been adopted don’t care about this. I do.

I wish people would just ask if they have questions – but THINK FIRST, if the question is unkind or insulting.

“Where were you born?” = Good.

“Why didn’t your mom want you?” = Bad.

There are families with one parent, two dads or moms, no kids, one kid, ten kids, different ethnicities – and a lot of the white families with birth kids I know really often don’t seem to understand this. And that is crazy! It is 2017! I wish those parents wouldn’t act like their lives are the only ones that matter or are real.

I am so very grateful to “E” and the other brave contributors to this series, I WISH PEOPLE KNEW. 

If you are a parent, child, or sibling of adoption interested in sharing your thoughts, use the contact form on my web site or leave a message in the comments below. Here’s a link to the first post in this series which explains the details.

A few guest bloggers have asked for a bit more time, so check back in a few weeks for the next posts. I believe this is an important, ongoing conversation. I hope you do too.