Book Launch, Christmas

Happy Book Birthday to HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTMAS CHILD!

In her memoir A CIRCLE OF QUIET, Madeleine L’Engle writes, “Those of us who write are responsible for the effect of our books… Like it or not, we either add to the darkness… or we light a candle to see by.”  As a writer for children, I take those words to heart and I hope my my newest board book, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD, will do just that.  

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, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD offers littlest readers and their caregivers a chance to slow down and point and count and marvel on each and every page as they celebrate the birth of the Light of the World.

Here I am sharing that inspiration on my porch this summer:

Learn more about the book on my brand new book page or by heading over to happybirthdaychristmaschild.com. Both spots include easy links for purchasing at a variety of vendors.

Happy birthday, brand new board book!  And happy reading, all!

Book Launch

A Web Update, Countdown to BOOK LAUNCH DAY (plus two fun HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD posts)!

Happy news! The process of updating this website is almost complete, and I think it’s time to welcome you back. I hope you enjoy perusing the fresh pages and soaking up the new look. Keep in mind that I’m still working on many details including adding social media links “above the fold”. Any guesses as to what that means? The books page and links are also still a work-in-progress, but I hope to have those complete by next week.

Now here’s a fun challenge for you. Remember how I said I wanted to somehow honor my mom – whose beautiful banner graced this blog for its first ten years? Well, I figured out a way to do just that. If you discover it, please let me know in the comments section.

Finally, it’s hard to believe, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTMAS CHILD releases in FOUR days! The virtual blog/podcast tour kicked off this week with these two wonderful blog stops.

Tour Stop #1: Have you ever wondered about the journey a book takes from inspiration to publication? Find out HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD’s journey in this post over at Kathy Temean’s blog. And while you are there, be sure to enter her giveaway for a fresh-off-the-press copy of the book. All the details are on her blog. And only a handful have entered so far… just sayin’.

Tour Stop #2: Head over to Write2Ignite for a thoughtful review of HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD by Kathy O’Neill. Also included are thoughts on “7 Ways Happy Birthday, Christmas Child Helps Us Slow Down and Allow Little Hearts and Souls to Fill with the Wonder of Jesus’ Birth.”

Happy Friday, all.

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!

Interview, Picture Books, Reading, review

LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL: A Back-to-School interview with… LITTLE MOLE!!!

Oh my, but do we have a special treat for you today.  It’s an interview.  And who is our guest?  It’s Little Mole, the darling protagonist in Glenys Nellist’s newest book LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL (Beaming Books, Fall, 2022) When I received my advanced reader’s copy a few weeks ago, I fell in love with Glenys’ sweet story about Little Mole, who is nervous about starting school for the first time. Will he like his teacher? Will he make friends? Will he be able to learn? My Little Owl worries about these things, too, so we read the story together. And guess what? Little Mole in the story (and my Little Owl, too) discover that school is a marvelous place where we all have special roles to play and gifts to offer. Little Owl loved the book so much that he asked if instead of having me interview Glenys, as I would normally do, he could interview Little Mole instead.  So that’s what we’ve done!  Take it away, Little Owl and Little Mole!

Little Owl: Hoot, hoot, welcome Little Mole. I’m so excited to meet you, but I have a confession to make. Just thinking about back-to-school makes my feathers tremble. How did you feel when you first learned you were going to be in book about going to school?

Little Mole: Hi Little Owl! I’m excited to meet you too! When I found out I would be starring in Little Mole Goes to School it was a whole big mixture of excitement and anxiety! I mean, I was thrilled to be in a book, but starting school is a big deal, and I was pretty nervous about lots of things. What if I was the last to know my alphabet? What if I wasn’t good at anything? What if I had a bad first day? (But I didn’t!)

Little Owl: I love everything about your story, Little Mole.  Did you have a favorite a-ha moment in creating it with your author, Glenys?

Little Mole: Well, when she first wrote the story, we didn’t know what the title should be. Our ideas at first were: Little Mole Saves the Day, Little Mole to the Rescue, or Little Mole is a Hero! But the a-ha moment came when we realized it should simply be called, Little Mole Goes to School. Back-to-school books are always popular (and we hope ours will be too!) 

Little Owl: The woodland world your illustrator, Sally Garland, made for you, is so fun looking. I just want do dive in and become part of the story. Do you have a favorite scene?  Why is it your favorite?

Little Mole: Sally Garland is amazing, isn’t she, and she really brought me to life! My favorite illustration might be the one at the end of the book where I’m standing with Little Lark.  In the story, I meet three new friends and we all use what we’re good at to help each other. (I won’t tell you what happened, in case you haven’t read it yet, but I felt so good about myself… as you can tell by looking at my little face!)

Little Owl: There might be a lot of other little owls and moles and mice and, oh all sorts of littles, who might be a little scared about going back to school.  How might your book help?

Little Mole: Well, I hope that my story will help anyone out there who might have their own ‘what ifs’ about going back to school. And also, in the back of the book, you’ll find five great tips to help a child who’s feeling anxious about starting school written by a child and family therapist. I’m pretty sure they’ll be helpful, too. There’s even an activity pack full of helpful and fun activities.

Little Owl:  Thank you, Little Mole, for joining me today.  Where can I ask Grammy (and anyone else who might want it) to get your book? 

Little Mole: Grammy can buy my book at her favorite bookstore, at Amazon, or wherever good books are sold. I do hope she loves it!

GUEST BIO

Little Mole was born and raised in the imagination of author Glenys Nellist and brought to life by the pen of illustrator Sally Garland. He is the star of three popular picture books, including Little Mole Finds Hope, Little Mole’s Christmas Gift, and his most recent release, Little Mole Goes to School. When he’s not digging for worms, Little Mole enjoys playing with his friends at Woodland School. He is looking forward to starring in his fourth picture book entitled Little Mole Gives Thanks, publishing August 2023 from Beaming Books.

INTERVIEWER BIO

Little Owl is the sweet protagonist in Laura Sassi’s LOVE IS KIND, published by Zonderkidz. He loves adventure, chocolate, and making new friends. This is his first time interviewing a guest for the blog.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! If you’d like a chance to win a fresh off the press copy of LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL (Beaming Books, 2022) follow this blog and leave a comment letting us know. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) Thank you, Beaming Books, for providing the winning book. This giveaway ends Thursday, 9/1/22 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced the next day.

[Note: Thank you, Beaming Books, for sending me a copy of the book which I was under no obligation to review. The views and opinions expressed on this blog about books and other things are purely my own. Also, if you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog. I post once or twice 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!

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 trailer, Crafts, Easter

Time for the BUNNY FINDS EASTER Bunny Hop: Stop Four (Plus the BOOK TRAILER reveal!)

Happy Friday, friends! Bunny and I have two fun things to share with you today.

First, check out the amazing 30-second book trailer Zonderkidz created to introduce the book. It really captures the essence of the story and showcases artist Ela Jarzabek’s delightful illustrations. Thank you, Zonderkidz!

Second, I’m delighted to be the guest interviewee over at The Chirping Moms, a website devoted to parenting and enjoying motherhood. In addition to asking me great questions, host Courtney Byrne has also created an adorable craft – a colorful tape resist cross that can be painted on canvas or a little tote bag and be used by your little one to gather goodies Easter morning! Here’s the link: https://thechirpingmoms.com/bunny-finds-easter/

board books, Book Launch, Easter

Pre-Order Your SIGNED Copy of BUNNY FINDS EASTER

Will you help my new board book BUNNY FINDS EASTER make a BIG SPLASH when it releases next month by pre-ordering your copy today? I didn’t realize with my first two books just how important pre-orders can be in capturing the attention of readers, booksellers, reviewers and more. As I have now learned, those pre-order sales get included in the sales numbers for the first week of the book’s release. High numbers can influence how many runs a book has, whether it makes a best-selling list and more. All good and fun stuff!

So, if you are thinking of purchasing copies of BUNNY FINDS EASTER (which is the perfect size for Easter baskets, just saying), I would be delighted if you would consider pre-ordering it from your favorite book store.  It is for little ones ages 0 – 4.

Or…. if you want SIGNED copies, my favorite indie has a special deal for you! If you PRE-ORDER my new book from The Town Book Store, in Westfield, NJ, any time between NOW and February 1st (the book’s release day), owner Anne Laird is offering a 10% discount off the retail price.  Simply mention that you want the “BUNNY FINDS EASTER DISCOUNT”.

If this interests you, please call the store. 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 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 “BUNNY FINDS EASTER” discount.

Thank you, The Town Book Store, for making this possible and thank you, readers, for supporting my books!

NOTE: If you are long-distance and prefer to order from the vendor of your choice, I’m also happy to make arrangements for a signed book plate to be sent to you by sending me a SASE. Just let me know and we can make that happen.

board books, Easter, holidays

Meet BUNNY from BUNNY FINDS EASTER!

In exactly four weeks from tomorrow, my newest Zonderkidz title, BUNNY FINDS EASTER, will release. And a few days ago, it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t yet have a story telling companion to help me at school visits and other events. This is a problem because I have special helpers for all my books. Most have been puppets that I purchased and embellished so they had a specific bookish flair. But then, a few years ago in a tremendous act of kindness, a lovely woman named Stacy Currie, who was the church children’s ministry director at one of the churches I visited with LOVE IS KIND, surprised me by handcrafting a Little Owl puppet that looks exactly like Little Owl.

Her puppet has been a big hit at visits and it has inspired me to try for the first time to hand-craft the puppet for this newest book, BUNNY FINDS EASTER.

And now, without further fuss, let me introduce you to BUNNY, inspired both by illustrator Ela Jarzabek’s delightful depiction of the little rabbit and by Stacy Currie’s puppet-making technique using felt and glue, and in my case, pencil rather than crayons. I also added a ribbon – repurposed from a festive holiday package.

After the glue dried, Bunny and I enjoyed chatting for a bit and my daughter took the lovely picture featured above. Bunny and I are both very excited at the prospect of doing oodles of school visits between release day (February 1) and Easter! Interested in a visit? Reach out to me using the contact tab above and we’ll set something up.

Also, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with details for you can arrange for a FREE mini-visit from us!

Happy Monday!

board books, holidays

FIRST PEEK: Bunny Finds Easter!

FIRST PEEK! Look what arrived on my porch this weekend! It’s an advance copy of my next book with Zonderkidz, a board book called BUNNY FINDS EASTER.


I can’t wait for you to meet Bunny! In this sweetly rhyming story, charmingly illustrated by Ela Jarzabek, Bunny is determined to find out if Easter is all about special breakfasts, chocolate bunnies and fancy new bonnets, or if it might be about a little bit more. I wrote it to be an introduction for littlest ones to the true meaning of Easter.


BUNNY FINDS EASTER is:

  • For ages 0-4
  • A board book perfect for little hands, and in a size that works great for lap reading
  • Ideal for Easter gift-giving and fits perfectly in an Easter basket
  • A conversation starter for a discussion of the true meaning of Easter

SPECIAL REQUEST: Before you hop off into your day, will you take a moment to pre-order your copy of Bunny Finds Eastertoday and mark is 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.