Happy Book Birthday LITTLE EWE! (Plus FIVE FUN FACTS)

Baah! Baah! Yay! 

It’s on its way!  

Sweet LITTLE EWE

Releases today! 

Here’s the official description from Beaming Books:

Little Ewe would rather jump on logs and investigate spider webs than follow the shepherd when he calls. But what happens when she gets lost? How will she find her way home? Told in whimsical rhyme, this humorous counting book for our littlest ones is a delightful reminder that, like a loving parent, our Shepherd will find us and care for us, even when we wander from the path.

In Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep, award-winning author Laura Sassi and illustrator Tommy Doyle tell an endearing tale of a distracted sheep and her persistent shepherd, inspired by the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15.”

This book has an extra special place in my heart because I am so grateful for the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who cares for us unfailingly! I hope the book is read and enjoyed by little sheep and their flocks, er I mean, little ones and their families, for years to come!

Now, to celebrate its release, join me over on Glenys Nellist’s blog as I share five fun facts about the book. And in the extra fun category, she’s organized a three-book giveaway! So grab a cup of tea and head on over. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link.

GUEST PODCAST: Laura Sassi Interview on The Bible For Kids

In the super exciting department, my interview with best-selling children’s author Amy Parker and co-host Mike Nawrocki (aka “Larry the Cucumber” for all you Veggie Tales fans) is this week’s podcast episode on The Bible for Kids! What a WONDERFUL way to introduce families to LITTLE EWE!

Per their website, the goal of The Bible for Kids is “to provide a platform of discovery and information for authors, platforms, musicians, games, films, and more, that seek to help instill biblical principles in kids. We desire to be a resource for churches, small groups, teachers, parents, grandparents of kids ages 0-18 to help them pass along Christian values to the kids in their lives.”

Thank you, including me and Little Ewe!

Click here to got to their podcast page. You’ll find us there!

And, ooh, I just found the link to the podcast itself: http://thebibleforkids.cpn.libsynpro.com/s3ep8-laura-sassi-little-ewe-the-story-of-one-lost-sheep

PICTURE BOOK MASTER CLASS: Interview with Laura Sassi

I’m so excited to be teaching the Master Class on Picture Writing for the Write2Ignite Conference for Christian Writers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature this coming April 24, 2021. Taught virtually – so writers from near and far can attend – it’s going be a day full of learning and fun – all while stretching our story-telling skills. And today, as way of introduction, they’re interviewing me on their blog! I hope you’ll pop on over to check it out. Registration details are included at the end of the post… and there’s a giveaway! Here’s the link:

Illustrator Saturday – Tommy Doyle

PASSING ALONG A GREAT INTERVIEW! I really enjoyed learning more about Tommy Doyle, the talented illustrator Beaming Books selected to illustrate LITTLE EWE, in the interview he did with Kathy Temean on her blog today. What an interesting journey he has had. And I’m over the moon with how he illustrated LITTLE EWE. For both of these reasons, I thought you might enjoy this insider’s interview with the illustrator, himself!

Writing and Illustrating

Tommy Doyle is an Illustrator and graphic designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from Montreal, Qc Canada, he relocated down under in 2007.

He has been working in the industry for over 20 years. Illustration is a big passion of his and finds that, it is an effective and creative way to communicate a message or an emotion. His work is bold and rich in simplicity. Tommy loves playing with shapes and textures, mixing digital and traditional mediums.

Clients includes; Apple, Microsoft, Hallmark Cards, Cottage Door Press, Auzou, Milan, Mattel, Oreo, Target and more.

HERE IS TOMMY DISCUSSING HIS PROCESS of one of his recent illustrations:

This illustration is for a one meter long floor puzzle for kids. The theme here is transportation. The cool thing about this giant puzzle is that it contains 5 mini puzzles within the big puzzle itself.

You can see where the mini puzzles are…

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LITTLE EWE: Book Journey and Giveaway

One of the fun parts of having a new book release is visiting other blogs to celebrate! And today I’m delighted to kick things off with a visit to Kathy Temean’s blog to share the LITTLE EWE’S book journey from inspiration to publication. I met Kathy several years ago at a NJ SCBWI June Conference and she’s a wonderful champion of all things kid lit. She posts daily on her blog and I’m honored to be featured today. There’s also a giveaway, so hop on over! Thank you for having me, Kathy!

LITTLE EWE Book Launch Party Craft: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE!

All my book launch parties up until now have been in-person, but this year is different! This year I’m having a virtual party, but one that I hope will feel just as fun as the in-person version. To give it that “in-person” feel, I’m keeping all the elements of an in-person party including a story time (of course!), games, a snack (virtual of course) and a craft!

I’ll explain about the snack as we get closer, but I wanted to share the craft today so you can be sure to have all the items on hand for the party. The materials are easy to gather and if you are local, it’ll be extra easy because I’m putting together party craft kits which you can pick up at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ starting later this week.

Now for the craft:

PARTY TIME CRAFT: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE! 

Inspired by illustrator Tommy Doyle’s sweet rendering of Little Ewe with a red kerchief, our launch party craft will be to create our own Little Ewes. 

To make one, each child will need:

  • a cut out of lamb body (approx 2.5” x 1.5”) from card stock with three holes punched for legs and bow (as shown) 
  • two cotton balls
  • two six inch-long chenille sticks
  • a piece of yarn or ribbon (about 8 inches)
  • markers and glue. 

Here are the steps:

Begin by coloring in Little Ewe’s face on the cardboard body. Be sure to color in both sides.

Next, have each child thread the yarn through the hole at the top and tie into a bow. This will be Little Ewe’s “kerchief”.

Next, fold each 6” chenille stick in half and gently twist together to create sturdy legs, as shown.

Let each child thread a twisted strand through the front leg hole. Stop half way, then bend in half and twist (like you would a twist-tie) to secure in place.  Adjust the ends to form two short legs. Repeat for back leg hole.

Stretch and fluff the cotton balls. Then, using fingers or toothpicks, apply tacky glue to the front and back of the little lamb body and press. Let dry.

Baa-ahh! Your fluffy Little Ewe is finished and ready for a game of “Oh,where is Little Ewe?” (Rules for that can be found in the activity kit.

As a closing reminder, this is the adorable craft that I’ll be presenting at the Little Ewe Book Launch Party which will take place LIVE on my Author Facebook Page on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm eastern.  Here’s the event link for that or you can just “like” my Facebook author page and then you’ll be sure to get all the updates for this and other bookish things.  

How to Write Picture Books – DIVA Style!

February 8th is OPERA DAY! And since DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE is all about opera, I thought it would be fun to re-share a favorite post inspired the book’s protagonists, Delores and Fernando. My opera-loving duo made their opera debut when the book released in 2018, but as any well-trained diva knows, singing on stage is just the final thrill. What comes before that?  Hours and hours, even years of hard work! But is it all worth it? You bet!

Now celebrations of opera and divas and picture books, here are five tips to help you write picture books – diva style!

  1. Go to the opera… a lot!

If you are going to be an opera star, it only makes sense that you immerse yourself in the glorious world of opera by attending operas, listening to opera music, and all-around saturating yourself in all things opera.  Likewise, if you want to write  picture books, it only makes sense that you immerse yourself in the world of picture books.  For me, this means making regular trips to the children’s section of my library, or my favorite local bookstore, and reading, reading, reading!  I read with two purposes:  first, just for the pleasure and joy of it, and second… to learn. That’s why I always bring along my writerly opera glasses and a notebook so that I can thoughtfully ponder and record what makes each opera (i.e. picture book) sing… or not.

  1. Rehearsal is important.

If you want to be a diva, you have to spend time rehearsing and developing your craft. For opera stars, I imagine this means a daily routine of warming up with scales, practicing a variety of pieces, working on voice projection etc. Similarly, if you want to to write picture books, you have to be willing to invest the time and effort into writing daily. My daily writing routine includes free writes (my version of scales), as well as working on a variety of poems, blog posts and the handful of picture book manuscripts I’m working through at any given moment. 

  1. Control those crescendos.

I’m not an opera expert, but it seems to me that in the field of opera, like in the field of picture book writing – less is more!  I mean divas don’t just cut loose and sing at the top of their lungs willy-nilly!  No, they artistically control their voices so that it plays a magical role in telling the opera’s story. Likewise, as a picture book writer – and especially as one who loves to rhyme – I work hard to control my crescendos so that every word, sound, phrase, action, magically moves the story forward.

  1. Be confident, yet humble. (i.e. be willing to learn from others)

Confidence is good, but if you want your singing, er writing, to shine,  I’ve learned over the years that confidence must be tempered with an open heart, open mind, and gracious spirit when receiving constructive feedback.  As a young writer I thought my writing was fabulous! But now that I’m more seasoned, I look back on those early pieces and cringe. They would definitely have benefitted from a little more humility and willingness to productively process and put into place suggestions from more experiences writers! 

(Which leads me to my last bit of advice.) 

  1. Everything’s better with a buddy!

As Diva Delores discovers at the opera house, the journey to success is just all-around better with a buddy. Likewise, I’ve found that the picture book writing journey wouldn’t be the same without a nice support system. For me this includes my family, my talented agent, and the wonderful network of like-minded children’s writers I’ve connected with over the years, many of whom have become dear friends and trusted critique partners. So, my last bit of advice for writing picture books – diva style! – is to find a buddy or two to encourage you and help you grow along the way.

Note: A version of this post first appeared on Darlene Beck Jacobson’s lovely blog. She’s been kind enough to host me for the release of each and every one of my books. Thank you, Darlene!

You’re Invited to a VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for LITTLE EWE!

Click here to get to the event page on Facebook. If you mark yourself as “interested” or “going”, then you will receive a reminder on Facebook so you don’t miss it. It can also be viewed after the event.

Who’s ready for a party? I am and so is Little Ewe. That’s why we’re inviting “ewe” to join us for a FACEBOOK LIVE BOOK PARTY on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm Eastern to celebrate the release of LITTLE EWE: THE STORY OF ONE LOST SHEEP (Beaming Books, February 23, 2021). Enjoy a reading, games, a virtual snack (inspired by Little Ewe’s taste buds) and a simple book-inspired craft. To access the party, simply stop by my Facebook Author Page at 7pm Eastern on the 25th.

BUT, WAIT. THERE’S MORE!!! Since SIGNED copies are part of the fun, I’m delighted to share that my local independent books store, The Town Book Store in Westfield New Jersey, will have copies available for purchase and I will come in and sign any books that are ordered through them. Anne, the owner, is even offering a 10% off the book if you mention the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

If this interests you, please call the store or stop in to order LITTLE EWE. Be sure to explain that you would like to have the book signed by the author and pass along the names you’d like included. They will take the order and do the transaction. I will then come in and sign the book or books.  Depending on where you live, you can either pick them up in-store or curbside at no extra charge, or have them mailed. There will be a shipping fee to cover the cost of mailing, but they can give you those details. 

You can reach The Town Book Store at (908) 233-3535. You can also email the owner, Anne, at anne@townbookstore.com. Either way, remember to ask for the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

NOTE: If you are long-distance and prefer to order from your own local book shop, I’m also happy to make arrangements for a signed book plate to be sent to you. Just let me know.

HOLD ON… THERE’S EVEN MORE!!! The craft is all ready! We’ll be making our own fluffy Little Ewes and then I’ll explain how they can be used to play a game. It’s all going to be so, so cute and so, so fun. (Just saying.) You can find craft instructions here. Local people can also pick up craft kits at the Town Book Store beginning February 10th and while supplies last. Here’s picture of the craft.

SPRINGTIME OFFER: Free LITTLE EWE Visit with the Author!

One of my favorite parts of having a new book out is sharing the story at author visits. And now, with so many preschools, daycares and churches learning via hybrid and/or virtual, I have a special invitation. 

From now through June 30, 2021, I am offering free 15-minute LITTLE EWE author visits to TEN special groups – ideal for preschools, church ministries, homeschool coops and more. These can be in–person or VIRTUAL which means I can visit near or far!

If you are interested, reach out to me here.

IMPORTANT DETAILS:

For each FREE 15-minute LITTLE EWE visit I will:

  • I introduce the story with the help of Little Ewe, my adorable stuffy companion. 
  • I engage the children in an interactive reading.
  • Ponder together who the real Shepherd is— Jesus! 
  • Close by sharing a follow up game idea they can make on their own to play their own round of “Where is Little Ewe?”  or have a brief Q&A.

BONUS: Here’s an activity pack chock full of follow-up activities to extend the fun after reading the book together.

REQUEST:  The visit is free, but I respectfully request that you purchase a copy the book for your class/church library and let families know that they can purchase copies as well. I do not sell my own books, but they are available through the major online vendors as well as your favorite local indie book stores. To help spread word to families, I can provide an order form for schools/groups to collect and order as a group from the vendor of your choosing. Or you can simply let families know that they can purchase books on their own by providing a link to the local or online vendor of your choice. Either way, be sure keep a list of first names for book inscriptions and, as a thank you, I will provide a signed and personalized book plate for each book purchased!

I look forward to spreading Springtime joy in this special way. 

 

SAVE THE DATE: A Picture Book Master Class with Laura Sassi

I’m so excited to be teaching the Master Class on Picture Writing for the Write2Ignite Conference for Christian Writers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature this coming April 24, 2021. Taught virtually – so writers from near and far can attend – it’s going be a day full of learning and fun – all while stretching our story-telling skills. To learn more about the Write2Ignite Master Class programs as well as the story of how this wonderful non-profit came to be, check out their website and blog. Registration details coming soon via their website. I hope you’ll join me!