Bible, board books, Book Launch

The COUNTDOWN for MY TENDER HEART BIBLE is on!

With less than three weeks to go until MY TENDER HEART BIBLE officially releases, I’ve been busy getting ready. In anticipation, here are just a few of the things I’ve had on my to-do list:

1. Training Teddy, who has been my special bear since I was two, to be my storytime companion. He’s holding a tooth brush because the theme of our visits will be establishing cozy bedtime routines that include brushing teeth, getting in jammies, praying and snuggling up with a favorite stuffy to read books like MY TENDER HEART BIBLE!

2. Scheduling school, library, and bookstore events for the winter and spring. If you would like me to visit your school, library or bookstore, please reach out to me via my contact page.  I’m also offering a handful of free 20-minute virtual visits, so reach out to me there as well if that is of interest.  Check out the visits I have set up so far on my Upcoming Events page.

3. Setting up a small, but enthusiastic, book launch team to do things like share the book in their communities, recommend the book for purchase at their local schools and libraries, share about the book on social media etc. 

4. Arranging and then preparing for a virtual book tour that includes stops at blogs, podcasts and more. Let me know if you’d like to be one of the stops.

5. Creating extension activities and crafts for teachers/parents to use after reading MY TENDER HEART BIBLE.

6. Being intentional about connecting and engaging daily on my various social media feeds. I hope you’ll join me there. There are buttons in the header and footer here for easy connecting.

7. Updating my author bio info on various book-related websites. 

8. Preserving daily time in the midst of all this to write new stories, poem, and picture books. (I have several in progress.)

9. Remembering to BREATHE and ENJOY the process…  

LEARN MORE about the book, including links for where to purchase, on my website’s dedicated MY TENDER HEART BIBLE book page.

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

Bible, Book Launch

Pre-Order SIGNED Copies of MY TENDER HEART BIBLE

Will you help my new bible story book make a BIG SPLASH when it releases next month by pre-ordering your copy today? Published by Paraclete Press, MY TENDER HEART BIBLE is a collection of 12 of my favorite bible stories, retold in rhyme with a simple prayer “heart moment” for each. Presented in 24-page board book format, it’s perfect for birth through about age 6. The publisher’s website offers a great description of the book as well as a sneak peek at three of the spreads which give a very good sense of the book. Here’s the link for that: https://paracletepress.com/products/my-tender-heart-bible

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 MY TENDER HEART BIBLE (perfect for Easter, birthdays, baptisms, baby showers etc), I would be delighted if you would consider pre-ordering it from Paraclete Press, Amazon, Christian Book or your favorite vendor.

Or. if you want SIGNED copies, my local book store 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 7th (the book’s release day), owner Anne Laird is offering a 10% discount off the retail price. Simply mention that you want the “MY TENDER HEART BIBLE 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 MY TENDER HEART BIBLE 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.

Christmas, faith, Inspiration

SISTER MICHELLE and THE CANDLE: A Special Christmas COUNTING Memory

 

If you have followed my writing journey at all, you know that most of my books have in some way been inspired by my childhood or my children’s childhoods. My newest book, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD, is no exception. Indeed, as I was writing it, all sorts of memories became sparks — including one that I’d like to share today.

In the fall of 1977 eight-year-old me moved with my family from Minnesota to Paris, France where everything was new and different including…school! The school my parents chose was called Marymount International School of Paris. It was a special place. For starters, it was within walking distance from our apartment which meant good exercise for us all. Second, the children who attended were from around the world and I quickly made friends from all over including Norway, Sweden, Pakistan and Scotland.

Here are two pictures from the time. The first shows me and my sister standing outside our apartment, ready for the first day of school. (I’m the taller one.) The second picture was also taken that school year and shows us with our Norwegian friend tromping to Marymount through the snow.

The third special thing about the school was that it had nuns! I had never been to a Catholic school before. The older nuns wore habits with wimples, just like the nuns in The Sound of Music. The younger nuns didn’t wear habits. Instead, they wore simple sweaters or tops in soft, solid colors, pleated skirts and sensible shoes (as my mother called them).

My teacher’s name was Sister Michelle and she was one of the younger nuns. Her classroom was situated on the 1er étage (2nd floor) of an old French maison. It had formerly been a very grand bedroom with tall decorative plaster walls, an elegant marble fireplace, and two sets of original French-door-style windows that overlooked the school’s playground.

Sister Michelle’s desk was directly in front of those windows and I remember it as being piled with books and papers and other teacher-y things.  We students sat at four clusters of desks pressed together to make “tables”. Mine was near the fireplace.  

Here is a picture my dad found of me at my table with Sister Michelle presiding. It might be hard to tell from the picture, but Sister Michelle was no-nonsense, yet kind, and she got me excited about reading and math.

But my favorite memory about her, and the one which was brought vividly to mind as I wrote this newest book, dates to December 1st, 1977. That’s the day she brought in the candle.

We all watched as she set it on a little table next to her desk. The candle was long and tapered with numbers from 1 (at the top)  to 25 (at the base) imprinted down the side. Sister Michelle then explained that the Christmas season was special and that as part of advent, we would be taking a few moments each morning to light the candle, read a short Christmas passage, say a prayer, and then blow out the the candle. Pointing to the numbers, she explained that each day we’d let the candle burn until that day’s number melted.

I had never heard of such an activity, but it soon became my favorite part of the day. That’s because Sister Michelle wasn’t the one to light the candle, read the passage, and pray. NO! We the kids did that and from my eight-year-old perspective that was amazing! She was supervising from close by, but still! I’d never lit a candle before or read a Bible verse aloud to my class.  

Looking back, I realize that those Christmas verses we read along with the candle lighting left a beautiful imprint on my heart as to what Christmas is really all about – the birth of Christ, the Savior of the World. 

The experience also opened my heart to the richness of digging into God’s word -not just for the 25 days leading up to Christmas, but every day. I have Sister Michelle to thank for that — for instilling in me the importance of pausing daily to read God’s word, to pray, and to let that moment set the course for the day.  

Of course, the little ones I wrote HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD for are too young yet to be reading and pondering scripture, but they can still enjoy slowing down to count and point to and wonder at the miracle of Christmas as they enjoy my simple recounting of the night Jesus was born.

For years I have been searching, unsuccessfully, for where I might purchase a candle like Sister Michelle had all those years ago. They are very hard to find. In fact, I had pretty much given up hope, but then, my Lexington VA friend, Phyllis, surprised me with this! It turns out Phyllis has been making numbered Christmas candles for years, giving over 50 each year to family and friends. She takes regular-old red candles and green crayon wax that she melts to inscribe the numbers using a thin paint brush. It’s almost exactly like the one Sister Michelle used except that Sister Michelle’s, as I recall, was white. I can’t wait to start lighting it on December 1st.  

How I would love it if Sister Michelle could see this post and know the impact her Christmas candle activity has had. Maybe one of your shares will land in the feed or inbox of someone who knows her. Wouldn’t that be neat? It may be a long shot, but this is the season of miracles, right?  

Blessings, all!

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

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

Christmas, Extension Activity

PARENTS! TEACHERS! KIDMIN!  Get your FREE Activity Kit for HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD

Reading HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD is just the beginning.

Below you will find the link to the FREE printable activity kit designed especially for littlest ones.

The nineteen page kit includes:

  • “Happy Birthday, Jesus” Party Ideas and Activities
  • Printable Cupcake Toppers for the Christmas Child!
  • Printable Happy Birthday, Christmas Child! Stickers
  • 3 Coloring Pages
  • 10 “Trace and Learn” pages

Here’s the link to the FREE HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD ACTIVITY KIT.

If you decide to use any of these resources, please take pics and tag me!  I’d love to see  them being enjoyed “in the wild”!

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

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.

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!

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!