board books, Christmas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD: Five LOVELY Endorsements (Plus a PPBF!)

On this chilly November Friday, as we head into what feels like the start of wintry celebrations, with Thanksgiving first up, I thought I’d take a moment to give thanks for all the support and encouragement I have experienced with the release of my new book, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD. It’s a simply told board book that uses counting and rhyme to introduce littlest ones to real gift of Christmas – Jesus- and the feedback I’ve gotten so far is that it’s striking a tender chord in hearts of all ages. Today I thought I’d share five endorsements the book has received – including one from a Children’s Ministry Director!

I’m also delighted to share that HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD is the featured book today over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. The post there includes a review and a craft/game from the author – me! Here’s the link for that. Oh, there’s a giveaway there as well. So be sure to head on over. Happy Friday!

“A fun and engaging introduction to the Christmas story.” —School Library Journal



“You will not be able to read this book without smiling! Every single page of this counting Christmas offering from Laura Sassi is filled with delight. From one stable to ten tiny toes, this book is a joyous, fun, interactive way to celebrate the season with little ones.” —Glenys Nellist, author of Snuggle Time Christmas Stories and Good News! It’s Christmas!


“A creative re-telling of a timeless story—young children will smile with the turn of each page.” —Christine Voegeli, Director of Children’s Ministry at New Providence Presbyterian Church


Happy Birthday, Christmas Child has everything I’m looking for in a faith-based picture book—lilting rhymes, a sweet story, and, most importantly, Biblical truth! It deserves a place in your holiday book basket.” —Kristin Wynalda, creator of Big Books, Little Ears

“Simply told in lovely rhyme, Happy Birthday Christmas Child is presented in a way that is true to the bible’s telling but written for youngest readers to enjoy, with things to count on every page along the way – from 1 stable to 10 tiny toes.” —Susanna Leonard Hill, New York Times bestselling children’s author

board books, Christmas

MEET MOUSE: My Companion for HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD Author Visits

My decision to use puppets at author visits began quite by chance. Since a pair of skunks play an important role in my first book GOODNIGHT, ARK, and figuring that some of my very youngest readers might not be familiar with the species, I thought having a pair of skunk puppets would be a fun way to introduce the story.

The skunks were such a great hit, that when my second book, GOODNIGHT, MANGER, came out, I knew I wanted a new, book-specific puppet. Thankfully, without too much trouble, thanks again to Folkmanis, I found the perfect companion — Rooster!  

My third book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, stars a diva seal and opera-loving mouse.  And again, they are the warm-up act to my story times and, boy, are they a hit!  Delores even sings opera!  (She gets the kids to sing too… and the parents and teachers!)

My fourth book, LOVE IS KIND stars Little Owl and that puppet was made for me by the very kind director at one of the programs I visited. She said, “I can make you a puppet that looks just like Little Owl!” and then a few days later a delightful package arrived in the mail. Isn’t he darling! 

For  LITTLE EWE, I opted for a stuffed toy made by Gund rather than a puppet. I named her Little Ewe, of course, and doesn’t she look like she’s just hopped off the cover of the book – ready to share her story with children everywhere at author events? 

For BUNNY FINDS EASTER, and inspired by that kind ministry director who made Little Owl, I fashioned my own felt Bunny puppet and she was indeed a hit at visits, though the bunny hat I later made I think out dazzled her.  

And now, with two weeks to go until my first HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD school visit, I’m delighted to introduce you to Mouse, my newest puppet, who arrived in the mail today.  Designed by The Puppet Company I can’t wait to share him and the book this Christmas season. 

If you decide to bring a puppet along to your next author visit and want a few tips for creative ways to incorporate puppets into your presentation, stay tuned for next week’s blog post with 10 tips for doing just that!

board books, Christmas

Five COUNTING Tips to Get the Most out of HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD (plus 2 Reviews and a Giveaway!)

I have FOUR fun newsie bits for today’s post. (Perfect for a book about counting.)

First, it’s been one week since HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD released and over the weekend I got my first glimpse of the book being read “in the wild” by a lovely grandmother/grandaughter pair at my book signing down in Ocean Grove. I loved watching the interaction between the two as they turned the pages together – with granddaughter proudly counting. So cute. And they purchased the first copy that day!

Second, since counting is such an integral part of this little Christmas board book, you may wonder if I had it in mind from the beginning. Find out today over at author Darlene Beck Jacobson’s blog as I reveal that plus Five Counting Tips to Get the Most our to HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD. Paraclete Press is also providing one copy for a giveaway, so you have two fun reasons to head over there.

Third, be sure to check out Sally Matheny’s review of HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD. Her reviews are always so thoughtful. Here’s the link . While you are there, I hope you will enjoy exploring her many other reviews as well.

Fourth, check out the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW!!! I was delighted to discover last weekend that School Library Journal reviewed HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD in their September issue. (Thanks to my librarian for letting me have a peek.) It’s a good one. What’s their verdict? See below. It’s a YES!  

Now, a SPECIAL REQUEST. Will you help this book reach little hands by recommending it for acquisition at your local library? 

Want to purchase copy? It’s available wherever books are sold. Links and more on my new designated book page.

board books, Reading

TEN Tips for Reading BOARD BOOKS with Babies and Toddlers plus a PRECIOUS Memory

Every night when my kids were little – starting when they were babies – we would wrap up our day with some cozy reading time, followed by a lullaby and a prayer. They loved it. I loved it. My husband loved it. 

We had our favorite board books which included Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (to which we always added a long list of items in their room), Time for Bed by Mem Fox, and my son’s all-time favorite What to Wear, Jesse Bear” by Nancy White Carlstrom (to which we made up our own tune and actions).

And this picture, oh this picture, makes me smile.  I think my husband took it or maybe my sister. It was taken shortly after our sweet Miss A arrived and my son, then four, was so excited that he held her hand during our bedtime readings. Wasn’t that a precious and tender way to demonstrate his love?

Now, in celebration of the joy and bonding that happen when we read with our little ones, here are 10 tips for reading board books with babies and toddlers.  What would you add?

Tip #1: Make reading time special. (It’s about more than just reading. It’s about
bonding, interacting and fostering love of story and storytelling.)

Tip #2: Ask questions. “Where’s the___?” “Who/what’s that?” “What’s ___ doing?”

Tip #3: Read anywhere, anytime. Read often.

Tip #4: Add simple actions and/or sounds. (Like animal sounds)

Tip #5: Vary the delivery. Sing the story. Use different voices.

Tip #6: Let toddlers turn the pages. Anticipate what will happen.

Tip #7: Point and name things as you read.  

Tip #8: Extend the story with an activity. (Like counting or drawing)

Tip #9: Read the same stories again and again… if they ask! That’s how they learn and grow.

Tip #10: Establish weekly library visits. (Let them pick some of the books.)

Happy Reading, all!

Looking for some new board books for your littles? Check out mine in the Books Tab above!

Note: If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my blog using the subscribe button in the footer. I post once or twice weekly with inspirational reflections, tips, interviews and more.

Bible, board books, Publishing

COVER REVEAL: Introducing MY TENDER HEART BIBLE by Laura Sassi

MONDAY JOY! I have bible story board book coming out in February 2023 with Paraclete Press and the cover is just starting to pop up on the web, so I thought I’d share it here too.

The book is called MY TENDER HEART BIBLE and it’s something I was working on this past spring. It was the joy of each day. Hasn’t illustrator, Sandra Eide, done a marvelous job of capturing the wonder of meeting Jesus?

Here’s the scoop from Paraclete Press:

With sweet, rhyming text and whimsical illustrations, this sturdy board book, My Tender Heart Bible, offers a collection of the most loved and classic Bible stories for beginner readers. Simple yet creative paraphrasing of Old and New Testament re-tellings are paired with a “Heart Moment” for families to read aloud and act out. Scripture references are noted with each story that tell of God’s redemption plan.

My Tender Heart Bible:

• Makes the Bible memorable and accessible for young readers

• Helps kids think deeper about what the Bible says about God’s creation, His plan for humanity, and His love for all of people as His children

• Is perfect as bedtime reading for your toddlers and little ones, especially during the holiday season

• Offers details in the artwork for little ones to enjoy and find for “point and learn” discovery

• Serve as a base for introductory Bible discussion

• Includes an inviting padded cover and sturdy pages for little hands

• Makes a great gift for Easter, new baby, christening, baptism, baby showers, new grandchildren, curious toddlers, and boys and girls ages 0 to 4 years old

From Creation to Abraham to Moses and Jesus, God’s story of redemption is told through each individual story and as a collection. Look in the mirror and thank God for making you unique—what makes you different from others you see in your neighborhood? Can you count the stars and make your hands twinkle? Flap your arms like the dove that appeared when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. How many coats and blankets can you spread out for Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem? Let’s read the stories and celebrate God’s perfect plan from the marvelous beginning of Creation through Easter’s glorious hope made known by Jesus’ resurrection.

Thank you, Paraclete Press, for bringing this one into the world. I can’t wait for it to release.  

If you are thinking of adding this to your own collection or giving it as a gift, will you take a moment to pre-order a copy of MY TENDER HEART BIBLE today and/or mark it as “to-read” on Goodreads? Those are two wonderful and easy ways to help a new book make a lovely little splash when it releases.

Thank you, and, happy reading!

Note: If you enjoy knowing the latest about my booksand more, please consider following my blog. I post once or twice (and occasionally three times) weekly. Posts are devoted to celebrating reading, writing and life!

board books, Book Launch, Christmas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD is at the Warehouse (And a 20% off DISCOUNT Code!)

Hooray! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD which releases October 4th, 2022 is officially in the warehouse! Here are pictures of the books being unpacked taken by the hardworking team at Paraclete Press.

This early arrival is exciting news for a couple of reasons. First, it means the book is right on track for release day. Second, it means it’s available NOW if you order directly from Paraclete Press. Yep, and it get’s even better because if you use the code SASSI when you order, you will receive 20% off the list price. And in the “living the dream” category, this is the first time I’ve had my last name as a discount count. That’s a snazzy sounding discount code, don’t you think? Just saying. =)

If you decide to order from Paraclete (or anywhere) remember to go to the book’s landing page https://happybirthdaychristmaschild.com to get the free downloadable activity kit that goes with the book. It’s full of all sorts of fun things including a birthday party plan, printable cupcake toppers, printable sticker templates, coloring pages and more. (See sampling below.)

Note: If you enjoy knowing the latest about my books and more, please consider following my blog. I post once or twice (and occasionally three times) weekly. Posts are devoted to celebrating reading, writing and life!

board books, Christmas, signed books

SIGNED Copies of HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD Available Through Premiere Collectibles!

Signed books make wonderful keepsake gifts for the little ones in your life. They can also be given as gifts to teachers, pastors, caregivers and more. And now you can give signed copies of HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD: A COUNTING NATIVITY BOOK even if you can’t make it to a signing.

That’s because Premiere Collectibles, America’s largest autographed bookstore, is now selling signed bookplated copies of my new board book available to all, no matter where you live. I will be signing special gold book plates that that will be affixed to the book. Each book will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity – making it an extra special keepsake.

Here’s the link where you can learn more: https://premierecollectibles.com/happybirthday

Thank you, Paraclete Press and Premiere Collectibles for making this special opportunity possible!

Author Visit, board books, book events, Christmas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD: Schedule a FREE Author Visit!

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTMAS CHILD: A COUNTING NATIVITY BOOK (Paraclete Press) releases October 4, 2022. 

Here’s the description: Count to TEN with Mary and Joseph as they await the birth of Baby Jesus in this sweet rhyming board book for littlest ones. Illustrated by Gabi Murphy with plenty to notice and count on each spread, it’s a charming introduction for littlest ones to the real gift of Christmas – Jesus!

And here’s the book trailer:

Now, in celebration of the book’s release, I have a special offer.

From now through December 24th, 2022, I am offering free 20-minute HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD author visits to the first TEN groups who reach out to me via my contact tab and book a visit. This special visit is ideal for preschools, church ministries, homeschool coops etc. and can be in–person (within 20 minute radius by car) or VIRTUAL.

IMPORTANT DETAILS:

For each FREE 20-minute HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD visit I will:

Introduce myself and the story with the help of my mouse puppet.

Engage the children in an interactive reading which includes having them count along and notice fun details on each spread.

Review the message of the story asking “Whose birthday do we celebrate at Christmas?” and close by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. 

REQUEST:  

The visit is free, but I respectfully request that you purchase a copy the book for your class/church library and that you offer families the opportunity to 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. The publisher also has a great deal on bulk purchases with significant discounts starting orders of 10 or more. 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. 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 Christmas joy in this special way.  

P.S. If you decide to pre-order a copy today, you can head over here to redeem the free activity kit the publisher created to go with the book. It’s chock full of printables and even includes Happy Birthday, Christmas Child party plan!

Bible, board books, Christmas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD! Enjoy a SPECIAL PRE-ORDER OFFER from Paraclete!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD invites children and their families to join Mary and Joseph as they wait for Jesus to be born. Inspired by a favorite Christmas verse from Luke 2:19 that describes Mary’s soul-filling wonder as she pondered the events surrounding the birth of Baby Jesus, it is my hope that by infusing counting into HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD, littlest readers and their caregivers, will similarly slow down and explore and count and marvel with Mary and Joseph across each and every spread.

SPECIAL OFFER! Will you help me celebrate Christmas in July (and get a nice little start on your Christmas shopping done) by pre-ordering copies of my new board book HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD?

Here are FIVE wonderful benefits of pre-ordering today:

  • You will be among the first to receive the book!
  • You will be ahead of the game in your Christmas shopping… and perhaps better able to slow down and savor Christmas when December finally rolls around.
  • Paraclete will send you a FREE PRE-ORDER GIFT in the form of a downloadable jam-packed activity kit that includes the items pictured below plus coloring pages and a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party plan full of ideas. To redeem, simply purchase a copy of the book at the vendor of your choice, then head over here to claim your gift. 
  • If you order from Paraclete Press, the book will be mailed to you in August.
  • If you order from Paraclete Press, they offer discounts for multiple copies and free shipping for purchases totaling $60 or more. They are also having a Christmas in July sale through 7/29/22 with lovely savings of $12 off purchases of $40 or more and $25 off of purchases of $80 or more.

All the details can be found on the special landing page Paraclete created just for the book. This page is worth a special visit.  It includes not just information about purchasing the book and redeeming the activity kit, but lots of FUN things including the book trailer, a lovely endorsement, information about author and illustrator, an inspirational video, event details and a contact form. Here’s the link.

Blessings to one and all this Christmas in July. Let me know if you are interested in having me visit your school or church or group this holiday season. I’m started to book events now. Learn more here.

board books, Book Launch, Christmas

Book Trailer Premiere on KidLit TV: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD

Happy Christmas in July! I wasn’t familiar with this summery nod to Christmas as a child, but I think it’s a delightful excuse to premiere the book trailer for my new Christmas board book!

Here’s the scoop from Paraclete Press:

Join Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, sheep, and various stable critters as they celebrate the birthday of a very special baby in this rhyming counting book for little readers and their families. 

Written by bestselling author Laura Sassi and illustrated by Gabi Murphy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD! celebrates the warmth, wonder and excitement of the night Jesus was born. Written in gentle rhyme with bright illustrations and lots of things for little ones to notice and count, it’s sure to be a Christmas favorite. 

Thank you, KidLit TV for hosting the reveal. Now, top up that cup of coffee and head on over for the trailer premiere. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link. Enjoy!  

Interested in pre-ordering copies for Christmas?  Here are details from the publisher about a really terrific PRE-ORDER SPECIAL they are running.  (I’ll be sharing more on this tomorrow.)

Happy Monday, all!