READ, DISCUSS, DO! Snack and a Story with LOVE IS KIND

I’m so excited to be a part of a fabulous reading initiative geared to families, librarians, teachers and anyone, really, who enjoys reading picture books with their kids.

Created by founder and picture book author Rebecca J. Gomez, Read, Discuss, Do! exists to help you extend the magic of story time beyond the last page by following three simple steps:

Read a book. 

Talk about the book. 

Do a simple activity inspired by the book.

And this summer we are launching our second annual summer reading challenge. Each week features a fun reading theme with suggested books and ideas for engaging with books in creative and kid-friendly ways. Jump in whenever! Download the printable calendar (plus bookmarks) here.

In the super fun category, this week’s theme is Tasty Treats and, as part of the fun, Rebecca has put together a delightful Snack and a Story post featuring LOVE IS KIND. Thank you, Rebecca!  Here’s the link so you can check it out.

BAPTIZED IN THE WATER: An Interview with Glenys Nellist

Today, I’m delighted to host best-selling Christian children’s author Glenys Nellist for an interview in celebration of her newest release with Zonderkidz, BAPTIZED IN THE WATER. This colorful picture book showcases beautifully diverse renderings of children and adults being baptized by the many varying means across Christian denominations. It got me thinking about my own baptism at age 12 via immersion in a little missionary church in Paris, France! As part my baptism, I also spoke aloud my profession of faith – that I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I’m so glad I took that step all those years ago, for it has made all the difference in this journey called life. Maybe the book will get you thinking about baptism memories as well. And now for the interview, with my questions in blue to match the lovely cover of the book. (Oh, and there’s a giveaway so be sure to check that out at the end of the post.)

Welcome, Glenys, what inspired you to write a book about baptism?

Since I’m married to a pastor, I have had the privilege of witnessing many baptisms. In our denomination the water is poured or sprinkled, but I’ve also been present at baptisms where the person was fully immersed. Each time I’ve attended this sacred event, no matter where, or how, or when it occurred, it simply felt that we were celebrating our belonging in one wonderful, united family in Christ. The inspiration, then, for writing a book on baptism came from a desire to celebrate this oneness, this unity in Christ, despite the varying traditions or beliefs that may be held. For me, baptism is a beautiful, holy, mysterious moment that none of us really understands. I hope that Baptized in the Water captures some of the mystery and meaning of this ancient sacrament. 

How do you hope churches and families will use the book?

I hope that pastors, Christian Educators, Sunday school teachers, parents and grandparents might use Baptized in the Water to inspire curious conversations with children about the mystery and meaning of baptism. I know that many churches and families have also bought the book as a baptism gift, which is wonderful!

Do you have a favorite spread?

Anna Kazimi did a beautiful job with the diverse illustrations and it’s hard to pick just one!  But I really love the following spread, because it illustrates all the different ways to be baptized.

Are there any special resources that go along with the book that readers might enjoy?

Yes! I wrote this free downloadable Activity Pack to accompany the book, which includes tips for talking with children about baptism as well as signed bookplates, commemorative bookmarks and a certificate. 

Finally, what’s next in the pipeline?

In July my next picture book with Beaming Books will be published, called Little Mole Goes to School, and then in the fall, I have three board books releasing. Good News! It’s Creation! and Good News! God Loves You (Our Daily Bread publishers) make their appearance in September, and the seventh in the Snuggle Time series, Snuggle Time Love, (Zonderkidz) hits the shelves in December. So it’s another busy year for me!

Thank you, Glenys, for joining me today. I wish you the very best with this and all your books.

BIO Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple children’s books, including the bestselling ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas, The Wonder That is You, and five popular series: Love Letters from God, Snuggle Time, ‘Twas, Good News and Little Mole, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy and hope in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David. Connect with her here:

Author Website Instagram

Facebook Twitter

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! If you’d like a chance to win a copy of BAPTIZED IN THE WATER (Zonderkidz, 2022) follow this blog and comment below saying you’d like to be entered. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) Thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing the winning book. This giveaway ends Monday, 6/6/22 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced the next day! 

[Note: Thank you to the publisher for an advance copy at the book. The views and opinions expressed on this blog about books and other things are purely my own.]

LOVE IS KIND: MOTHER’S DAY is for GRANDMOTHERS too!

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my mother and my grandmothers, all of whom I remember fondly, especially in May when we celebrate Mother’s Day. My mom and her mom also shared the same birthdate in May (isn’t that neat?) and so that makes the month extra nostalgic for me as I remember the wonderful bonds we shared.

As the author of LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) I think I can say, with fair certainty, that Little Owl from the book also loves taking time in May and on Mother’s Day to celebrate the special bond he shares with his Grammy.

In the story, for those of you who haven’t read it, Little Owl is on a quest to show Grammy how much he loves her by buying her a box of heart-shaped chocolates. Along the way, however, he encounters obstacle after obstacle, and ends up arriving with nothing. Nothing, that is, until his wonderful Grammy points out that the gift he has to offer is LOVE and that HE is the gift when he shows love along the way, a gift much better than chocolate!

Here’s a sweet glimpse of that special moment when they both celebrate that HE is the gift captured in a special clip illustrator Lison Chaperon made to celebrate the release of LOVE IS KIND:

I love reading LOVE IS KIND any time of year, but I feel a little extra sentimental as we leap into May. And that sentimentality is actually commemorated in the book. If you have a copy near you, open it up to the dedication page. Do you see who I dedicated it to? My grandmothers!

Sadly, both they and mom, passed away before I ever wrote the first word of the story. Still, I always think of them – and the great bonds we shared – every time I read the book. It is my hope that the book might also become a special bonding story for your families, as you read and enjoy it together with your children and grand children.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Note: 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!

Time for the BUNNY FINDS EASTER Bunny Hop Round up!

Happy Friday, friends! Bunny and I have five fun things to share with you this week. First, if you live in the Bedminster, NJ area, I invite you to join me at Pluckemin Presbyterian’s annual Eggstravaganza taking place this Sunday, April 10th from 11:15 – 1 pm. Here are the details. No registration required. There will be copies of BUNNY FINDS EASTER on hand for purchase. Cash or check only.

Next, here are two interviews you might enjoy. The first is over at Read,Discuss, DO! where I chat with Mindy Baker about the inspiration behind the book, the board book format, book-themed activities and more. The second is a feature article that appeared this week in my town’s TapInto news outlet. This the one to read to get the inside scoop on what the journey to publication in the picture book world has been like (at least for me).

Fourth, I am the guest author today over at StoryJumpers, a bi-weekly Christian podcast that features a children’s book read by the author and an interview with the author. The podcast airs today, April 8th, 2022 over at The Bridge Podcast Network, part of The Bridge, a community supported, non-commercial Christian radio station serving Delaware, South Jersey, parts of Maryland and beyond. Here’s the link to the BUNNY FINDS EASTER episode.

Finally, just in case you missed it, I thought you’d like to see the Easter bonnet I created, with the help of my daughter, to wear to all my visits. It’s getting a lot of smiles because I look so silly, er I mean, beautiful wearing it! It’s just like Bunny’s from the book. What do you think? (This is from one of my zoom visits this Easter season.)

Time for the Bunny Finds Easter BOOK SCAVENGER HUNT (and a GIVEAWAY)!

Special Note: This post was created by my ADORABLE niece. She’s just 13 but she sure knows how to create an incredible book scavenger hunt. Enjoy her post. Take it away, Miss E!

Hello, parents! If your kids (and maybe even you!) are really enjoying Laura Sassi’s new book Bunny Finds Easter, you may want to try this BOOK SCAVENGER HUNT. To start, you can read the book to refresh your child’s memory. Then, on each spread, (after reading the words) this list will give you prompts to ask your kids so that they can enjoy the wonderful illustrations even more! 

(Remember, if your kid is getting antsy, you don’t have to use all the prompts. You can also make your own–they are open to interpretation. Each illustration can spark many conversations!)

Spread #1 (Bunny waking up and choosing clothes)

  • Do you see the butterfly? (For older kids: There are six butterflies in this book. Can you find them all?) What color is Bunny’s shirt? How many outfits do you see in Bunny’s wardrobe?

Spread #2 (Scene in the kitchen)

  • Count the hot cross buns. Can you find 3 plates? Can you find 2 spoons? What do you think is cooking in the pot on the stove?

Spread #3 (Bunny painting eggs)

  • Can you name and count the colors on Bunny’s palate? Can you count the eggs Bunny painted? (You can point out to your child that the egg Bunny is painting on the left page matches the curtains! These illustrations have many thoughtful details!)

Spread #4 (Bunny picking flowers)

  • Count the bees. (For older kids: Count the flowers Bunny has picked.) Can you spot the bird’s nest?

Spread #5 (Bunny in the town)

  • How many lily pads can you find? How many chicks? Can you spot three tadpoles? Can you find the church in the distance?

Spread #6 (Easter egg hunt)

  • (For older kids: Try to find all 30 eggs.) How many animals do you see? Can you find the church? For an extra challenge, see which animals have baskets.

Spread #7 (In the church)

  • Count the animals in the room. Which ones are wearing hats? Do you see Bunny? Can you see the cross? What do you think the cross means? 

Spread #8 (Bunny and her family)

  • Have your child point to Bunny’s mommy and then her daddy. 

Spread #9 (Happy Easter)

  • Count Bunny and her friends on the Happy Easter page. Can you find the ladybug? Can you find an animal friend with a heart on his shirt? Which animals have hats? (The list goes on and on.) Then, tell your child more about what Easter is all about!

Wow, Miss E, that was AMAZING! Readers, don’t you agree? And now in celebration of this post (and the fact that Easter is just around the corner), I’m offering a FREE copy of BUNNY FINDS EASTER to one lucky reader. Details below.

BUNNY FINDS EASTER GIVEAWAY!!! If you’d like a chance to win a copy of my newest book BUNNY FINDS EASTER (Zonderkidz, 2022) follow this blog and comment below with your favorite tip from Miss E’s book scavenger hunt. (NOTE: Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) Thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing the winning book. This giveaway ends Tuesday, April 5th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced the next day. 

BUNNY FINDS EASTER Friday Roundup

Happy Friday, friends! Bunny and I have four fun things to share with you this week. First, if you live in the metropolitan NY/NJ area, I invite you to stop in at Perwinkles Gift Shop in Cranford, NJ, tomorrow March 26th from 1 – 3. Owner, Elaine, will have a broad selection of my books on hand, including BUNNY FINDS EASTER! Let’s help her sell them all. Details in image.

Second, be sure to check out Sally Matheny’s review of BUNNY FINDS EASTER. 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.

Third, I was honored to be featured in writer (and former English teacher) Joyce McCullough’s Spring 2022 Newsletter with an in-depth interview. Thank you, Joyce. Here’s the link.

Finally, earlier this week I had the pleasure of getting to chat with Christian children’s author, Christie Thomas about books and other fun things including, BUNNY FINDS EASTER. Here’s the link for that:

BUNNY FINDS EASTER Bunny Hop: Zonderkidz Blog Edition (Five Fun Ways to Point Toddlers and Preschoolers to JESUS at Easter)

In my new board book, Bunny Finds Easter, Bunny is on a quest to find out if Easter is all about chocolate eggs and jelly beans or if it might just be about a little bit more. Indeed, amidst all the fun of jelly beans and easter bunnies, it can be hard for little ones to understand that Easter is about Jesus. With that in mind, I’m delighted to share the post which Zonderkidz invited me to write for their blog. The topic? Five fun ways to point toddlers and preschoolers to Jesus at Easter.

First, enjoy the book trailer which will give you a good sense of the book. Then, I hope you will grab a jelly bean and hop on over to my post on the Zonderkidz blog. Here’s the link: https://www.zonderkidz.com/5-fun-ways-to-point-toddlers-and-preschoolers-to-jesus-at-easter/ And, if you have little ones, be sure to pick up a copy of the book at your favorite retailer.

It’s Time for… the BUNNY FINDS EASTER Friday Roundup!

Happy Friday, friends! Bunny and I have four fun things to share with you this week. First, be sure to check out my blog interview with children’s author and host, Mindy Baker, as we chat about the magical role illustrations play in board books – with a focus on a favorite spread from BUNNY FINDS EASTER. Here’s the link: https://mindybakerbooks.com/a-chat-with-laura-sassi-about-her-new-book/

Next, did you know that March 9th was “Get Ready for Easter Day?” I didn’t either, but I learned about it over at one of my favorite blogs, Celebrate Picture Books, which pairs a picture book with a holiday. Each post includes a review of a book and an activity. And for this holiday the book was… BUNNY FINDS EASTER! Here’s the link: https://celebratepicturebooks.com/2022/03/09/march-7-get-ready-for-easter/

Third, in case you missed it yesterday at 12:12 eastern, here is the replay of my Instagram LIVE interview with host Valerie Ellis, creator of Our Everyday Parables, a blog dedicated to encouraging and empowering parents to use everyday moments and kids’ books to teach, connect, listen, and inspire. We had some technical difficulties at the beginning, but they resolved and she explains in the link how you can skip over those bits.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to enter the 25 book giveaway for BUNNY FINDS EASTER which Zonderkidz is hosting over on Goodreads. (And while you are there, please add the book to your to-read list and/or review it, if you you willing.) Thank you! Here’s the giveaway link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/340275-bunny-finds-easter

YOU’RE INVITED! Join Me and Host Valerie Ellis for an Our Everyday Parables LIVE Interview

Tune in this Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 12:12 eastern on Instagram for my first Instagram LIVE interview. I’ll be joining Valerie Ellis, host and founder of Our Everyday Parables, a blog dedicated to “inspiring families to faith and compassion through everyday moments and excellent books”.  

The interview will include questions from listeners, so if you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask about any of my books or about using books to foster faith in our little ones and want it answered on Instagram LIVE (squee!) please let me know in a comment here and I will share it with Valerie.  You can also DM her with questions on the Our Everyday Parables instagram page.  You can also type your question in during the interview. 

If you want to come, I highly recommend popping over to her Insta page and signing up for the reminder. It’s easy and then Instagram will remind you to come!  Neat, huh?  I signed up so I won’t forget to come either. LOL.

Oh, and there will be a multi-book giveaway too. This image gives a clue as to which four books will be included in that. I hope you can make it.

Blessings all! And remember to leave your question. Any that aren’t answered at the interview, I will put in queue to incorporate into future blog posts!

The BUNNY FINDS EASTER Bunny Hop Continues with… a Review, a Podcast and a BIG Giveaway!

So many fun things to share this week as Bunny hops her way towards Easter. First, be sure to check out this fresh-off-the-press review for BUNNY FINDS EASTER from author Rebecca Gomez. She’s a real stickler for rhyme… and she loved it! (Phew.) And this cute little fella weighed in as well. Isn’t he darling? Here’s the link: https://www.rebeccajgomez.com/2022/03/review-bunny-finds-easter-by-laura.html

Also, last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mel Rosenberg for his “You’ve Got Mel” podcast. Enjoy it and all his other interviews with children’s authors on the New Book Network. Here’s the link: https://newbooksnetwork.com/bunny-finds-easter

Finally, Zonderkidz is sponsoring a 25 book giveaway of BUNNY FINDS EASTER on Goodreads. Be sure to enter. While you are there, please add the book to your “to-read” list. That will help others to discover it. And after you read it, or any of my books, if you could also leave a review, that would be wonderful. Good or bad, every review helps. Thank you! Here’s the link to the giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/340275-bunny-finds-easter