Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 16

Today’s #tbt Kindergarten Show and Tell is from

 Jill Santopolo. 

I LOVE the little hearts on her tights! Pretty sure my daughter wore some just like these every chance she could… : )

This sweet kindergartner grew up to be an author of both #kidlit and adult books, the Editorial Director of Philomel Books (Penguin Young Readers) with TWO #1 bestsellers in 2017 (!), and an adjunct Creative Writing professor.
Did I mention Jill Santopolo has
TWO new books of her own out this year too?


–the tenth and final installment in her Sparkle Spa chapter book series.

(Aladdin / Cathi Mingus, illustrator)

“Girls are sure to enjoy the concept of a kid salon and the everyday activities of sisters, family, and school situations. The simple, easy-to-read text flows effortlessly…”

Library Media Connection /All That Glitters



(G.P.Putnam’s Sons)

Jill Santopolo’s NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL Best Selling

debut novel for adults,

now available in over 30 languages!

“A beautiful and devastating story that will captivate readers.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“It’s the epic love story of 2017 and the ending is one you’ll be feeling for months to come.” —Redbook

One Day meets Me Before You meets your weekender bag.”—The Skimm

Here is a sample page:

As Jill said recently at memorial event on September 11th,

“…story is a bridge between people with different backgrounds. “


It’s no wonder that this is her Kinder memory:

I don’t remember a ton of things from kindergarten (it was so long ago now!), but I do remember that we had a piano in our classroom, and my kindergarten teacher played the piano for us while we sang. I couldn’t tell you what songs they were, but I do remember that I loved the sound of her playing and the whole class singing along, together. No one ever misbehaved during song time.

TOGETHER is the key word here,

and in my opinion, we need this more than ever.

Music does indeed bring kids (& grown-ups) together–

no matter our differences.

I firmly agree with Jill, that story does this too.


As the Editorial Director at Philomel,

Jill Santopolo has helped to shape many wonderful books. Her list includes authors Amy Ephron, Lisa Graff, and more,

not to mention… 

the #1 New York Times

bestselling picture book, 


Thirteen American Women Who Changed the World

by Chelsea Clinton

(Philomel Books/illustrations by Alexandra Boiger)


the #1 New York Times bestselling

GIRLING UP: How to be Strong, Smart, and Spectacular

by Mayim Bialik, PhD.

(Philomel Books)

Congrats to all!

To learn more about Jill Santopolo, go to 

and follow @jillsantopolo on Instagram and @JillSantopolo on Twitter.  


My sincere thanks to Jill and all who have contributed and joined us on this #Kindergarten blog series project.

(Go here to see how it started.)

And check back next week for our final #tbt Show & Tell from

Nancy Castaldo,

educator and #kidlit author of nonfiction books for children, including Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World, Deserts, Rainforests, and River Wild.

Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 15

It’s kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell again,

and today’s post is from #kidlit author Dashka Slater.

This Kinder kid grew up to write amazing books in many genres

and there are incredible new ones on the way!

Her picture books include:


(FSG, illus. Sydney Hanson)

Escargot’s voice is parfait, an airy blend of ego and need masterfully balanced in witty and well-turned sentences that leave plenty of room for audiences to get the joke…”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review


(Dial Books/illus. Valeria Delcampo)

“A sophisticated romp.” — Publishers Weekly

“Humor and wordplay…sit alongside the danger.” — Kirkus Reviews

And check out this beautiful book–released this month:


(Beach Lane / illus. Terry Fan & Eric Fan)

An inquisitive fox sets off on a seafaring voyage with a crew of deer and pigeons in this enchanting tale of friendship and adventure.

Kirkus review here. 

THE ANTLERED SHIP is currently a  in Children’s Fox and wolf books on Amazon!

Here’s Dashka’s memory:

I came to kindergarten already knowing how to read, the byproduct of having spent the previous year traveling with my parents while my father was on sabbatical. Since I didn’t have other children to play with, my mother had decided to teach me to read and by the time I arrived in kindergarten, I’d had plenty of time to practice.

I was young for my grade — the result of having a late-November birthday — and having this one precocious skill meant that my schoolteachers thought I must be some sort of genius and treated me a bit like a performing seal.

I remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Egan having me read a book to the rest of the class for story-time. It felt both wonderful and strange to sit in the teacher’s chair with the other children clustered around me on the floor. The chair was too big for me, and my feet didn’t reach the floor.

I liked Mrs. Egan quite a lot — she was young and glamorous seeming, with a very tall and fancy beehive hairdo — and I remember her being extremely nice. But I also remember feeling a bit peculiar about all the attention I was getting for being able to read, which would persist through first grade and would eventually make me fairly unpopular with the other children. It was a relief when everyone else caught up!

As parents and teachers, it’s good to remember that our amazing, precocious children, early readers, math whizkids, do not always immediately fit in with their age group.  

As much as we may have prepared them for academic success,

the social aspect is equally important. 

Keeping the dialog open between parent & teacher as well as parent & child can help to smooth this transition. 

To learn more about Dashka Slater go to and follow her on Twitter @DashkaSlater

I’m equally excited to share Dashka’s non-fiction narrative based on a true story (and a fabulous piece she wrote for the NYT magazine)

of two Oakland teenagers.


A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

“The text shifts from straightforward reporting to lyrical meditations, never veering into oversentimentality or simple platitudes. Readers are bound to come away with deep empathy for both Sasha and Richard. VERDICT Slater artfully unfolds a complex and layered tale about two teens whose lives intersect with painful consequences. This work will spark discussions about identity, community, and what it means to achieve justice.”

SLJ starred review

“With a journalist’s eye for overlooked details, Slater does a masterful job debunking the myths of the hate-crime monster and the African-American thug, probing the line between adolescent stupidity and irredeemable depravity. Few readers will traverse this exploration of gender identity, adolescent crime, and penal racism without having a few assumptions challenged. An outstanding book that links the diversity of creed and the impact of impulsive actions to themes of tolerance and forgiveness.”

Kirkus starred review

Using details gleaned from interviews, social media, surveillance video, public records, and other sources, Slater skillfully conveys the complexities of both young people’s lives and the courage and compassion of their families, friends, and advocates, while exploring the challenges and moral ambiguities of the criminal justice system. This painful story illuminates, cautions, and inspires.”

PW starred review

You can pre-order it here. 

To meet the other Kindergartners who have contributed to this Kindergarten 

SHOW & TELL series, start here.

Thank you to ALL who have helped K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN earn a ribbon too!

Children’s Humorous Poetry 


And check back next week to meet the kindergartner who grew up to be

#kidlit author (GLAM OPENING/Sparkle Spa series, plus adult novels like THE LIGHT WE LOST too!) and editor (SHE PERSISTED by Chelsea Clinton) 

Jill Santopolo.

Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 14 #windowsandmirrors

It’s kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell again,

and we’re celebrating


with important books that are windows and mirrors

in our world.

Meet this week’s kinder, who grew up to be

#kidlit author and educator

Gayle E. Pitman.

By day, Gayle teaches Psychology and Women/Gender Studies at

Sacramento City College.

By night, she writes awesome–and much needed–children’s books like


(Magination Press/ illus. by Kristyna Litten )

Winner of the


2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award

“This beautifully illustrated book is a great addition to a school or personal library to add diversity in a responsible manner without contributing to stereotypes about LGBT people.” –School Library Journal

Click HERE to view the awesome book trailer. 

Check out the Study Guide. 

Pitman’s most recent picture book is


How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community

(Magination Press/ illus. by Christopher Lyles)

Extensive information about Lyon and Martin’s activism, marriage equality, and San Francisco itself (contained in a readers’ note) offers a useful overview of LGBTQ history and women’s rights. —Publishers Weekly

A great conversation starter and a rare non-fiction book about LGBTQ equality for the younger age group. —Bay Windows

**Did you know activists Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin are now a required part of CA 4th grade curriculum? Pitman has a Teacher’s Guide. 

Pitman’s forthcoming non-fiction title: FEMINISM FOR A TO Z

(Magination Press)

is scheduled for release in October.

Pre-orders have started –Right Here! 

Feminism from A-Z takes readers on an alphabetical journey through the basics of feminism. Each chapter features writing and action exercises geared specifically for the tween and teen reader, along with suggestions and resources for how readers can take feminism to a higher level.

Here’s Gayle on her first day of Kindergarten, at Riverview School in Denville, NJ.

Gayle’s Kinder memory:

I can remember walking from my house to the bus stop every morning. The bus stop was a few blocks away from our house, and I always walked by myself. What a different time it was back then!
I remember learning how to tie my shoes in kindergarten, Mrs. Hoffman, my kindergarten teacher, rewarded us with M&M’s every time we tied them correctly. That’s something else that would never happen today!
A river ran behind my elementary school. Our first field trip was a walk to the river to feed the ducks. It was probably a five-minute walk, but it felt like a big deal at the time.
(The duck field trip made me think of
 And yes–it was a “different time.”
Did you know that Pitman’s wonderful book, THIS DAY IN JUNE, was the target of book banning and censorship recently? THANK YOU to all who spoke up about this, and to the Chicago Library Who Voted To Keep the Book on their shelves. This book shows acceptance. Inclusion. It does NOT have any sexual content.


Yes–Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, my friends. If you do not want your child to learn about others who are “different,” that’s your choice. When you go to the library or book store, actively help your child to pick out books you approve of. But –like children–let’s make room for ALL books, different or not, on the shelves.

It’s that simple.
In my opinion, we need to do all we can to make sure today’s children (and adults) grow up to be kind, empathetic, inclusive citizens of the world.
 To learn more about Gayle Pitman and her books, go to You can also find her on Twitter @GaylePitman and Facebook.
Check back next time to meet the kindergartner who grew up to be #kidlit author (ESCARGOT; DANGEROUSLY EVER AFTER; THE 57 BUS–and more!), journalist, and poet Dashka Slater.

Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 13

It’s kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell again,

so get ready, friends because this week’s #kidlit author is

a duck?

Wait–no, no, no– We’ll get to the ducks later.

First let’s meet Josh Funk,

who writes FUN rhymed picture books like DEAR DRAGON,

Viking Books for Young Readers, with illustrations by Rodolfo Montalvo:

“Montalvo’s visual irony skillfully paces alongside Funk’s gamboling rhymes, rendering readers’ investigation of each spread just as rewarding as the page turns. A playful celebration of difference (and poetry).”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST  now has  its recently released sequel:


(Sterling/ Illustrations by Brendan Kearney)



AND…(drumroll, please)





(Two Lions, illus. by Edwardian Taylor)

will be released.

Psst– you can pre-order HERE now…

As many of us remember, there are lots of firsts in Kindergarten.  Josh’s memory is about his very first field trip:

“When I was in kindergarten, on my very first field trip ever, my class visited the Public Gardens in downtown Boston. You know the place – it’s where Mrs. Mallard ends up bringing Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack in Robert McCloskey’s 1941 classic MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS.”

I told you we’d get to the ducks…

“Well, as we prepared to board the swan boats, I strayed a little too far from the group. I don’t know what came over me (maybe it was my inner Ouack), and I honestly don’t remember how it happened, but I managed to fall into the lagoon. I have a vivid memory of looking up at the grey sky through the frigid water for a crumb of an instant. Maybe it was a brave teacher. Perhaps it was a parent chaperone. It could have been a police officer named Michael. All I know is someone pulled me out by my arms and extended my five-year-old life. And then I had to sit in the grass in my underwear with a towel while my clothes dried out. And that’s why I am afraid of ducks.”

I’m so thankful they pulled you out of the lagoon, Josh!

Find out more about Josh–plus check out his coloring pages, songs, and activity kits–  at and follow Josh Funk on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

I’m also VERY thankful for all of you who have helped me

celebrate the launch of

K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN, illustrated by Joseph Cowman.

Click here to scroll through the whole Show & Tell blog series and meet many more creative kindergartners who grew up to do COOL things.

And check back next week to meet #kidlit author Gayle Pitman!

Kindergarten #tbt Show and Tell –part 12

Today’s #tbt Show and Tell is from Joseph Cowman, 

the kindergartner who grew up to illustrate


(Sleeping Bear Press– on shelves now–YAYYY!)  

This little guy didn’t think he would be an illustrator some day.

Joseph says he loved building things as a kid, “all kinds of different contraptions out of old stuff I found,” and he was sure he’d become a scientist or an inventor.

I am beyond thankful his joy of creating lead to ART. 

I hope all of you will have a chance to discover

the magical world he invented for

K is for Kindergarten. 

Here’s Joseph’s kindergarten memory :

I won’t lie, Kindergarten terrified me when I first started. But I had a teacher’s assistant in my class that made all the difference in the world.

She spent personal time with me every week while I learned my alphabet.

Her kindness and patience made me feel comfortable, confident and proud to be me.

Thank you to all of the school teachers and staff out there who work so hard to make a difference.

I agree 100% with Joseph.

Thank you so much dear teachers and staff, and happy BACK-TO-SCHOOL. You make a difference EVERY day. One of the perks of writing for kids is getting to meet you and your students. Thank you for making their world safe, inclusive, and full of wonder.

To learn more about Joseph Cowman, visit

Follow josephcowman on Instagram, and @JosephCowman on Twitter.


If you can, please come join me at one of these K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN events:

August 19th Barnes & Noble Birdcage/Citrus Heights  CA 11-1

August 19th  Avid Reader Davis CA 3-5pm

August 26th Barnes & Noble Folsom CA 11am Story time

September 9th Barnes & Noble Roseville CA

Sept 16th 2pm & Sept. 17th 11:30am ScholareShare Children’s Book Festival. FairyTale Town, Sacramento CA.


And be sure to check back next time for

#kidlit author Josh Funk’s

Kindergarten Show & Tell.