Book trailer video for My Dog Is the Best

I LOVE this book trail­er for My Dog Is the Best! Not just because it’s adorable (it is), or because it’s my first book trail­er (yep), but because so many spe­cial peo­ple helped make it a reality.
First, check it out:

Isn’t that CUTE? Of course, huge thanks to Paul Schmid for pro­vid­ing the art. My sweet hus­band record­ed the audio (with my awe­some sis­ter-in-law’s help) of my dar­ling niece “read­ing” the book: She’s too young to read just yet, so she mem­o­rized the whole thing! And my tal­ent­ed friend Lelynn did the ani­ma­tions and edit­ing. Thanks so much, everyone!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂

Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Award for Emmanuel’s Dream


I’m thrilled to announce that Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Sto­ry of Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah has been select­ed to receive a 2015 Eure­ka! Hon­or Book Award from the Cal­i­for­nia Read­ing Asso­ci­a­tion.
The Cal­i­for­nia Read­ing Asso­ci­a­tion has estab­lished this award to cel­e­brate and hon­or non­fic­tion children’s books. The Eure­ka! Non­fic­tion Children’s Book Award will assist teach­ers, librar­i­ans, and par­ents in iden­ti­fy­ing out­stand­ing non­fic­tion books for their stu­dents and children.
And, it means a shiny new stick­er for the cover! 🙂
Eureka Honor AwardEmmanuel’s Dream is in some excel­lent com­pa­ny, too! Click here for the full list of win­ners. I guar­an­tee you find some great non­fic­tion for kids (which means it’s great for adults, too!).

MY DOG IS THE BEST news and #giveaways!


MY DOG IS THE BEST-coverIt’s almost release day for MY DOG IS THE BEST, avail­able Tues­day, June 9th!
Here’s what the crit­ics have had to say so far:

“… the sim­plic­i­ty of both the words and the pic­tures cre­ates a charm­ing, tod­dler-sized ode to man’s best friend.” —Book­list
“This sim­ple, qui­et sto­ry con­veys the endur­ing bond between child and dog, with the added appeal of a joke that younger chil­dren just begin­ning to under­stand humor can enjoy.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Though ‘a boy and his dog’ may not be a ground­break­ing theme, it’s often a pop­u­lar one—and this gen­tle tale of friend­ship is no excep­tion.… While this is a famil­iar sto­ry, it’s a well-exe­cut­ed and charm­ing one.” —School Library Journal
“… sim­ple word­ing helps young chil­dren who are learn­ing to read.… I real­ly enjoyed this cute chil­dren’s book and enjoyed its depic­tion of man’s best friend.…or should we say ‘boy’s’ best friend!” —Curl­ing Up With A Good Book blog
#Booka­day My Dog is the Best by @LaurieThompson & @PaulSchmidBooks. Made me think of″ … “In my opin­ion, it is a per­fect can­di­date for The Bak­er’s Dozen.”  — John Schu (@MrSchuReads) Feb­ru­ary 26, 2015

The launch par­ty is Fri­day, June 12th, at Uni­ver­si­ty Book Store in the Uni­ver­si­ty Dis­trict. More info here.
There’s a give­away hap­pen­ing on Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson

My Dog Is the Best

by Laurie Ann Thompson

Give­away ends June 16, 2015.
See the give­away details
at Goodreads. 

Enter to Win

Our adorable pup and boy pair are going out on a blog tour begin­ning Sat­ur­day, June 6th. Here’s where to find them (and me) in the next few weeks (note, many of these will have give­aways, too–more chances to win!):

6/6/2015 Book­ing Mama
6/8/2015 Jean Rei­dy
6/9/2015 Watch. Con­nect. Read.
6/10/2015 5 Min­utes for Books
6/11/2015 KidLit Fren­zy
6/12/2015 Unleash­ing Readers
6/16/2015 Anas­ta­sia Suen: Book­talk­ing #kidlit
6/19/2015 Kir­by’s Lane
7/1/2015 Library Lions

And, last but not least, if you’d like buy a copy:
You may pre-order a signed copy from Uni­ver­si­ty Book Store.
Also avail­able on:

Interview with author Susan Lynn Meyer

I recent­ly post­ed a review of a fic­tion pic­ture book called NEW SHOES. I love the book so much, and today I’m thrilled to wel­come the author, Susan Lynn Mey­er, to the blog! Susan was kind enough to answer a few of my ques­tions. I hope you’ll enjoy get­ting to know her a lit­tle bet­ter. I know I did!

Susan Lynn Meyer

LT: Wel­come, Susan! I’m so excit­ed to learn more of the sto­ry behind the sto­ry of NEW SHOES.
SLM: Hi Lau­rie! Thanks so much for your inter­est in NEW SHOES.
LT: How did you first become inter­est­ed in writ­ing about the Jim Crow time peri­od, and what in par­tic­u­lar led to think­ing about fram­ing it in the con­text of try­ing on shoes?
SLM: I was read­ing about seg­re­ga­tion from the 1940s onward both just because I was inter­est­ed and as research for a nov­el I just fin­ished writ­ing. (It is called SKATING WITH THE STATUE OF LIBERTY and it’s about Gus­tave, a twelve-year-old French Jew­ish refugee who comes to New York in 1942 because his fam­i­ly is flee­ing the Nazis.) I was star­tled to come across a piece of infor­ma­tion I hadn’t known about—that in many stores, African-Amer­i­cans were not per­mit­ted to try on clothes, hats, or shoes. I thought a lot about what that must have felt like, espe­cial­ly for a child encoun­ter­ing it for the first time. As I mulled that over, it began to shape itself into a story.
LT: I love that, how one book project sparks and informs anoth­er, and in a dif­fer­ent genre and on fair­ly dif­fer­ent sub­ject, too. How much research did you do for this book? Can you tell us about that process? Dur­ing your research, did any­thing sur­prise you, catch you off guard, or make you change your planned course for the book?
SLM: I’m lucky because I have access to a ter­rif­ic aca­d­e­m­ic library since I’m also an Eng­lish pro­fes­sor at Welles­ley Col­lege. I went to the stacks, checked out a lot of books about Jim Crow, and start­ed read­ing! Among the most intrigu­ing things I came across were accounts of the ways, large and small, that African-Amer­i­cans coped with Jim Crow, the psy­cho­log­i­cal and prac­ti­cal strate­gies they used. Par­ents would make sure to bring along water so that their kids didn’t have to face seg­re­gat­ed drink­ing foun­tains. Peo­ple would refuse to patron­ize restau­rants where pro­pri­etors refused to seat them and would only sell them food by hand­ing it out the back door. I loved the sto­ry of one black teenag­er who had a job at a gro­cery store and who was infu­ri­at­ed by the stu­pid­i­ty of the fact that brown eggs and white eggs had dif­fer­ent prices—and that white eggs were cheap­er because they were “bet­ter.” So he’d secret­ly switch the eggs around, mix­ing them up in the car­tons! (I put that inci­dent in the nov­el I just fin­ished, but I end­ed up tak­ing it out. I love it so much that I may use it again someday!)
SLM: The hard­est thing about writ­ing NEW SHOES (it went through 23 drafts over sev­er­al years) was fig­ur­ing out what Ella Mae and Char­lotte could do to resist the unfair sit­u­a­tion they found them­selves in. The solu­tion they come up with isn’t per­fect, in the sense that the shoes are still sec­ond-hand, but peo­ple can buy them with dig­ni­ty. Sales at Mr. Johnson’s shoe store, where Ella Mae hasn’t been allowed to try on shoes, are like­ly to suf­fer as a result, which is a nice addi­tion­al benefit.
LT: In EMMANUEL’S DREAM, I wrote about a dis­abled man from Ghana, despite being none of those things myself. I know peo­ple have ques­tioned if I should’ve been the one to write that sto­ry, despite the fact that I did exten­sive research and had the man­u­script vet­ted many times along the way, includ­ing by Emmanuel him­self. IT was a sto­ry I felt I had to tell, in part because no one else had, but also because I could so iden­ti­fy with the emo­tions involved, even if not the spe­cif­ic expe­ri­ences. Clear­ly you also believe that it is okay to write out­side of our own cul­ture, as long as we do so with care and respect. What do you say to peo­ple who ques­tion your author­i­ty to write this book?
SLM: All I can real­ly say is that I write the sto­ries that come to me. When I found out about this aspect of Jim Crow, it real­ly hit home for me, and I mused a lot about what that would have felt like, espe­cial­ly for a child encoun­ter­ing it for the first time. Imag­in­ing and won­der­ing led me to this sto­ry. I’m not demo­graph­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to any of the pro­tag­o­nists in the books I’ve had pub­lished so far, actually—I’m not a black Amer­i­can girl liv­ing in the 1950s and I’m not a French Jew­ish boy liv­ing in the 1940s either (as in my nov­el BLACK RADISHES or the sequel to it that I just com­plet­ed, SKATING WITH THE STATUE OF LIBERTY). Writ­ing fic­tion is about imag­in­ing your way into a char­ac­ter who is not you—and try­ing to do it so effec­tive­ly that your read­er is drawn in as well. Writ­ing for chil­dren espe­cial­ly involves this kind of leap—because all the writ­ers are adults try­ing to imag­ine their ways into the minds of chil­dren. Writ­ing across gen­der or time or nation­al­i­ty also requires this kind of leap.
SLM: But in order to be per­sua­sive to the read­er, that imag­i­na­tive leap has to be an informed one, and it was also impor­tant for me to get the reac­tion of black friends to NEW SHOES when it was in draft. One ear­ly read­er told me some­thing that real­ly res­onat­ed with me. I had ini­tial­ly had Ella Mae’s moth­er direct­ly express anger after the shoe store inci­dent. But this friend said that her old­er rel­a­tives would not have talked that way about racism to their chil­dren, that to pro­tect the child, they would have encour­aged the child to think pos­i­tive­ly. When I thought about my own old­er rel­a­tives and also about the way I am as a par­ent, that felt so intu­itive­ly right to me. So I changed Ella Mae’s mother’s answer. Now she tells Ella Mae that she should think about how nice her feet will look for school. And that feels so much more like what a par­ent in those cir­cum­stances would do. I’m real­ly grate­ful for that reader’s ear­ly response.
LT: Oh, I love that answer! So, how exact­ly were you able to “imag­ine your way into a char­ac­ter who is not you” in this case? How did you put your­self in some­one else’s shoes (no pun intend­ed), and tell a sto­ry that—on the sur­face, at least—you have no direct expe­ri­ence with? What was the per­son­al con­nec­tion for you?
SLM: In some ways, my own expe­ri­ences inevitably find their way into any­thing that I write. I was one of six chil­dren, mon­ey was lim­it­ed, and we wore a lot of hand-me-downs. I now enjoy telling stu­dents at the schools I vis­it about an absolute­ly humil­i­at­ing expe­ri­ence I once had with hand-me-down boy’s long under­wear. (Don’t ask!) My par­ents also had me and my broth­ers and sis­ters pol­ish our school shoes every week­end and we washed the shoelaces when we did it. I’ve nev­er asked to find out if any­body else did that! I wasn’t great as a kid about doing chores—who is?—but I actu­al­ly didn’t mind pol­ish­ing my shoes and I found wash­ing the dirt out of the shoelaces, the way Ella Mae does, very sat­is­fy­ing. On a deep­er lev­el, there’s the issue of injus­tice of all kinds, which I was very attuned to as a child. I often said furi­ous­ly, “It isn’t fair!”—and I hope kids will have an intense reac­tion of this kind to the sit­u­a­tion in NEW SHOES.
LT: Well, I’ve nev­er pol­ished shoes or washed shoelaces, but I’m sure almost every kid—including me—has roared, “It isn’t fair!” It’s kind of sad that we become more desen­si­tized to injus­tice as we get older.
LT: I think every book teach­es us some­thing new, about the world, about our­selves, or about the craft of writ­ing. What have you learned as a result of writ­ing this book? What sur­prised you the most dur­ing the process?
SLM: I loved hear­ing from Eric Velasquez about his method of illus­tra­tion, and it real­ly made me real­ize how much a pic­ture book is a tru­ly col­lab­o­ra­tive process. Eric has mod­els pose, takes pho­tographs, and then paints from those pho­tographs. He chose two girls who were friends to pose for Ella Mae and Char­lotte, because he want­ed their close­ness to show in their body lan­guage. It is won­der­ful to me to look at his paint­ings and to think about all the peo­ple besides me—Eric Velasquez, the mod­els, as well as all the peo­ple work­ing at Hol­i­day House—who came togeth­er to cre­ate this book. I also espe­cial­ly love the end papers Eric designed for the book, which are trac­ings of one of his girl model’s feet. They encap­su­late what the sto­ry is about so won­der­ful­ly in a sim­ple and pow­er­ful visu­al image.
LT: Yes, I loved the end papers, too! And the illus­tra­tions are so beau­ti­ful­ly real­is­tic. Kudos to Eric! 
LT: I always said that I would know I’d made it when I received one let­ter from one child say­ing that some­thing I wrote made a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in his or her life. How do you define suc­cess? Do you feel like you’ve achieved it? If not, what’s left on your to-do list?
SLM: I think I’m always going to want to write anoth­er book and get it pub­lished, so I don’t know if I’ll ever real­ly feel as if I’m at the point of suc­cess! But the oth­er day, I checked out a book from the pub­lic library, and it been read so many times that the pages were soft they were about to tear. What I want more than huge sales is to have my books find a home in libraries and stay there for many years wait­ing for a child to come along and pick them up. I think when I come upon a copy of one of my books in a library and the pages are as worn and soft as the pages of that book—that’s when I will have achieved success.
LT: That’s a won­der­ful image and a per­fect def­i­n­i­tion of success.
LT: Thanks so much for tak­ing the time to answer my ques­tions, Susan! It’s been love­ly to learn more about your process.
SLM: Thank you so much for hav­ing me on your blog!

Review: NEW SHOES by Susan Lynn Meyer

writ­ten by Susan Lynn Mey­er
illus­trat­ed by Eric Velasquez
pub­lished by Hol­i­day House (Feb­ru­ary 2015)

It’s not easy to write a pic­ture book for young kids that tack­les a tough sub­ject in an age-appro­pri­ate way. And it’s even hard­er to do so while still being enter­tain­ing. NEW SHOES by Susan Lynn Mey­er does all of that and more, and it does it so very beautifully.
Pub­lish­er’s summary:

Set in the South dur­ing the time of seg­re­ga­tion, this lush­ly illus­trat­ed pic­ture book brings the civ­il rights era to life for con­tem­po­rary read­ers as two young girls find an inven­tive way to foil Jim Crow laws.
When her cous­in’s hand-me-down shoes don’t fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecsta­t­ic, but when she and her moth­er arrive at Mr. John­son’s shoe store, her hap­pi­ness quick­ly turns to dejec­tion. Ella Mae is unable to try on the shoes because of her skin col­or. Deter­mined to fight back, Ella Mae and her cousin Char­lotte work tire­less­ly to col­lect and restore old shoes, wip­ing, wash­ing, and pol­ish­ing them to per­fec­tion. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giv­ing the oth­er African Amer­i­can mem­bers of their com­mu­ni­ty a place to buy shoes where they can be treat­ed fair­ly and “try on all the shoes they want.”

It’s hard for me to imag­ine not being allowed to try on shoes, and I must admit I nev­er even real­ized that par­tic­u­lar injus­tice was part of the Jim Crow laws. I’m glad to have been enlight­ened. Want­i­ng to try on a pair of shoes is some­thing that can be eas­i­ly under­stood by young chil­dren, and they will be able to appre­ci­ate the unfair­ness of the sit­u­a­tion in the shoe store.
What I real­ly love about this book, though, is how the girls solve the prob­lem them­selves. They work hard to earn start­up funds, they take great care and pride in launch­ing their shoe store, and they solve a prob­lem not just for them­selves, but for their whole com­mu­ni­ty! That is change­mak­ing at its finest.
This mov­ing and inspi­ra­tional pic­ture book belongs in every class­room in Amer­i­ca. To make it even eas­i­er, the pub­lish­er’s web page for the book has class­room dis­cus­sion ques­tions and an edu­ca­tor’s guide, both with Com­mon Core State Stan­dards (CCSS) connections.
I hope you’ll check out NEW SHOES… and share it with others!

EMMANUEL’S DREAM is available for pre-order!


My first pic­ture book, EMMANUEL’S DREAM, will be pub­lished in Jan­u­ary, but it’s avail­able for pre-order now!
Here’s the descrip­tion from the pub­lish­er’s web page:

Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah’s inspir­ing true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel’s Gift, nar­rat­ed by Oprah Winfrey—is noth­ing short of remarkable.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dis­missed by most people—but not by his moth­er, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soc­cer, left home at age thir­teen to pro­vide for his fam­i­ly, and even­tu­al­ly, became a cyclist. He rode an aston­ish­ing four hun­dred miles across Ghana in 2001, spread­ing his pow­er­ful mes­sage: dis­abil­i­ty is not inabil­i­ty. Today, Emmanuel con­tin­ues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Thomp­son’s lyri­cal prose and Quall­s’s bold col­lage illus­tra­tions offer a pow­er­ful cel­e­bra­tion of tri­umph­ing over adversity.

To order your copy from an inde­pen­dent book­seller, vis­it Secret Gar­den Book­shop (if you add your per­son­al­iza­tion request in the com­ments sec­tion, I’ll sign it for you!) or check out IndieBound for a local book­store near you. Of course, you can also find it on or
And, of course, you can always add it to your Goodreads shelf:

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Review: ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! by Chris Barton

Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! coverATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE!
writ­ten by Chris Bar­ton, illus­trat­ed by Joey Spi­ot­to
pub­lished by POW! Kids Books, Octo­ber 2014
32 pages

From the pub­lish­er’s web page:

An iron­ic yet infor­ma­tive alpha­bet that defines the most impor­tant gam­ing terms that every­one needs to know, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alpha­bet is the ulti­mate crossover gift for our age, a book that can actu­al­ly bring togeth­er video game-obsessed kids and their often per­plexed parents.
If you can deci­pher the fol­low­ing sen­tence, you don’t need this book: “This open beta game is in third-per­son but first-per­son is unlock­able if you know the cheat code or install your own mod, but either way, for the best attack on the boss on this lev­el, try to grab that power-up!”
— See more at:

Okay, I know I’m show­ing my geeky gamer girl side, but I love, love, love this book, and I think today’s young (and not-so-young) read­ers will, too!
It’s an alpha­bet book, of course, which means the infor­ma­tion is orga­nized by let­ter. With­in that con­straint, Bar­ton some­how man­ages to work in a whole bunch of key con­cepts nec­es­sary to under­stand­ing video games. Some are expect­ed, such as “boss.” Oth­ers are more sur­pris­ing, like “instance.” In either case, read­ers will love see­ing the terms they’re more famil­iar with from the games they love play­ing, as well as the terms they’re less famil­iar with but may have run across in con­ver­sa­tions with friends. I’ve played a fair amount of video games in my life­time, and I was still very pleas­ant­ly sur­prised to learn a few new terms myself!
The art­work is bright and fun and helps illus­trate the con­cepts well. The illus­tra­tor tips a nos­tal­gic hat to old­er games that more grownup read­ers will appre­ci­ate, while at the same time ref­er­enc­ing enough cur­rent faves to delight younger gamers.
Check this one out, and then come back on Wednes­day for my inter­view with the author, Chris Bar­ton!
Facts First! Nonfiction Monday
(Dis­claimer: The review copy was won by the blog­ger as part of a pro­mo­tion­al giveaway.)

Review: THE SCRAPS BOOK by Lois Ehlert


writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
pub­lished by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schus­ter, March 2014
72 pages

There have been sev­er­al pic­ture-book auto­bi­ogra­phies of chil­dren’s book authors and illus­tra­tors over the past few years. Sad­ly, most have left me feel­ing just a lit­tle under­whelmed. While I per­son­al­ly enjoyed them, I felt like they were aimed more at their long-time adult fans than at con­tem­po­rary child read­ers. While I, as an adult, was able to appre­ci­ate the rich con­text and inter­est­ing per­son­al his­to­ries, I won­dered if chil­dren would be able to relate to the sto­ries and find direct­ly rel­e­vant mean­ing with­in the pages. So, although I myself am a fan of Lois Ehlert, I’ll admit I was a bit skep­ti­cal when I picked up THE SCRAPS BOOK. Boy was I in for a delight­ful surprise!
Despite the high page count, there is noth­ing in this book that feels the least bit self-indul­gent. Every page seems lov­ing­ly designed to encour­age and instruct young artists. (And aren’t we all artists when we’re young? Per­haps with this book, more of us will remain so.) Through­out, Ehlert gen­er­ous­ly shares her inspi­ra­tions, her process­es, her notes and jour­nals, even her mess­es and mis­takes, giv­ing read­ers insights into her books as well as her life as an artist.THE SCRAPS BOOK excerpt
I think this is tru­ly a book peo­ple of all ages can enjoy, and the world is def­i­nite­ly a bet­ter place for hav­ing THE SCRAPS BOOK in it.
Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

(Disclaimer: Review copy was checked out from my local library.)


Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Pub­lished by Mims House
ISBN-10: 1629440019, ISBN-13: 978–1629440019

Dar­cy Pat­ti­son and Kit­ty Harvill have teamed up again, and I could­n’t be hap­pi­er with the result. You might remem­ber when I reviewed their pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, here.
Unlike Wis­dom, the main char­ac­ter in ABAYOMI,  THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, is a mam­mal, a feline, not a bird. Unlike Wis­dom, Abay­o­mi lives in South Amer­i­ca, in Brazil, not on an island in the North Pacif­ic Ocean. Unlike Wis­dom, Abay­o­mi is a baby, an orphan, not a wise, old moth­er. Yet their sto­ries have much in common.

Read more

New deal announcement: My Dog Is the Best!

There’s anoth­er excit­ing book deal to announce…
This went out in Sat­ur­day’s Pub­lish­er’s Mar­ket­place mail:

Lau­rie Thomp­son’s MY DOG IS THE BEST, in whim­si­cal praise of a boy’s best friend, with all of his fine canine attrib­ut­es, to be illus­trat­ed by Paul Schmid, to Janine O’Mal­ley at Far­rar, Straus Chil­dren’s, by Ammi-Joan Paque­tte atErin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary Agency for the author and Steven Malk at Writ­ers House for the illus­tra­tor (World).

and this went up on the Erin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary Agen­cy’s news page this morning:

Yes, she’s a busy and mul­ti-tal­ent­ed lady, that Lau­rie Thomp­son! Her first book was acquired last sum­mer by Schwartz & Wade, a pic­ture book biog­ra­phy of Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah, which is being illus­trat­ed by Sean Qualls. Then just a few months ago saw a sec­ond deal for a teen hand­book of social entre­pre­neur­ship, which is due out from Beyond Words/Simon Pulse in Fall 2014, and which Lau­rie is busi­ly writ­ing and research­ing as we speak.
But that’s not at all! This week I am thrilled to announce a brand new deal, for Lau­rie Thomp­son’s adorable pic­ture book MY DOG IS THE BEST: a lit­tle boy’s effu­sive praise of his best friend and all the amaz­ing feats that dog can do (while sleep­ing on the couch). It’s sweet and warm and guar­an­teed to make you smile. Even bet­ter, an illus­tra­tor has already been attached to the project, the tal­ent­ed Paul Schmid!
MY DOG IS THE BEST was acquired by Janine O’Mal­ley at FSG, and it’s going to make a giant pic­ture book splash for sure. Huge con­grat­u­la­tions, Laurie!