Book News

Post-Turkey Debriefing

The month is over, right?
I so sleepy.

First things first: an apology.

Over the past few weeks I have been pretty terrible about reading and replying to other people’s blogs. I’ve even been slow to respond to comments on my blog. I am sorry about that.

November was nutty — and most of this nuttiness was self-imposed. All month long I was shamelessly promoting Sarah Gives Thanks at book stores and schools. When I wasn’t doing that, I was trying to conjure up 30 new picture book ideas for PiBoIdMo. (Must you really do this in November, Tara?) Meanwhile, at my day job, I was running up against hard and fast deadlines for the winter issue of The Lawrentian, the magazine I edit.

But my exhaustion was mixed with healthy servings of exhilaration, too. Thanks to the salesmanship of David Gardner, Sarah’s wonderful illustrator, he and I were interviewed on Santa Fe Public Radio. We turned out to be a good team; David was the calm and steady Yin to my blathering, rambling Yang.

Wanna hear our lovely voices? Take a listen.

I also had the chance to be a guest author at my boy’s school, which was wonderful. I did my dog and pony show all day long for the first, second, third and fourth graders. The PTA pre-sold a big stack of books (including one copy in Braille!), and I proved to hundreds of children that grownups can (and should) be goobers.

And I signed every last one of 'em!
Thanks PTA!

Also, a number of lovely people out there interviewed me or reviewed my book. The folks listed below are not just great people, but great bloggers as well. You should follow them if you don’t already.

Vanessa Chapman
Susanna Leonard Hill
Catherine Johnson
Wendy Lawrence
Tara Lazar
Susan Rocan
Nancy Tandon

I sure hope I didn’t overlook anyone. If I did, please yell at me in the comments.

Like Sarah Hale, I am so very thankful to all of you.

I’ll be back in the blogging swing of things by next week. In the meantime, take care and enjoy your leftovers!


Attention, Canadians!

Thanksgiving is Monday! Have you gotten a gift for the kiddies?

You have? Really?

Well, you should consider getting another one. Canadian children are just so friendly and polite. They deserve a second gift, really.

And I have a recommendation:

Sarah Gives Thanks cover

You can buy it here.

No need to thank me. I’m just happy I could help.

Have a great holiday, my friends!

On Blogging, On Writing

Harold’s Hat

Our hero.
Our hero.

The charming Susanna Leonard Hill is holding a blog contest, and I’m giving it a go.

The rules, in Susanna’s own words: “Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words about the Fourth of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!”

Fourth of July? Mystery? My first idea was The Mystery of the Missing Fingers.

But better judgment prevailed.


UPDATE: I am delighted to report that Harold’s Hat was the winner of the 2014 Highlights for Children Fiction Contest!

Please be aware, however, that the winning story is quite different from the one posted below.  If you want to read the winning story, you’re gonna have to get a copy of Highlights. (You should do this, by the way. That mag is awesome.)

AN UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: It’s official: Harold’s Hat will appear in the July 2015 issue of Highlights for Children. Feel free to camp out next to your newsstand now!



By Mike Allegra

The day was here! Finally!


Hot dogs!



Oh, and there was also The Hat.

Harold could hardly think of The Hat without saying, “Mwah-ha-ha!”

He’ll show that Betsy Lominzer, that’s for sure.

Last year Betsy wore a special Fourth of July hat to the town parade – a nice one that had flashing lights and a cup holder for her lemonade.

Harold asked if he could try it on and she said no. Not even for one teeny, tiny little milisecond.

“Fine,” thought Harold. “I’ll show you next year.”

And, well…Mwah-ha-ha!

The Hat took Harold six months to build. He kept it out of harm’s way in his closet.

At least he thought he did.

It must be out of harm’s way in his toy box.


Out of harm’s way in his dresser?


Under the bed? Behind the hamper? In the closet again, just to make sure?


“Whaaaat?” Mom was trying to light the barbecue.

“Have you seen My Hat? The one with the red, white and blue glitter, and the flashing lights, and the siren, and the cup holder?”

“No,” she replied. “Where on earth did you get…? ”


“Too loud!” Dad was pouring chlorine in the pool.

“Have you seen My Hat? The one with the battery powered waving flag action and the cannons that shoot sparks?”

“You have a hat that shoots sparks?” Dad asked. “That could be a fire haz­–”


“Ba!” Billy was sucking on his foot.

“Have you seen My Hat? The one with the megaphone and the solar powered jukebox that plays a medley of Sinatra songs when you push a red button on the brim?”

“Do-be-do-be-do,” Billy said.

Wait. That wasn’t Billy.

Harold followed the do-bes to Sparky’s doghouse and found him swooning to Sinatra’s crooning.

The hat was safe and sound.

“Good boy.”

Off to the parade! Off to find Betsy Lominzer! Mwah-ha-ha!

But…well…Betsy’s hat had improved a bit since last year.

It had improved quite a lot, actually.

“Wow! Can I try on your hat for just one teeny, tiny, little millisecond?” Harold asked.

“No,” Betsy Lominzer replied.

“Fine!” thought Harold. “I’ll show you next year.”

In an instant, Harold’s mind filled with new and exciting ideas. A bigger hat. A better hat. The Best Hat Ever.

His lips curled into a smile.

“Mwah-ha-ha!” he said.