Ten Clever Ninjas by Sarah Floyd – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Today I am celebrating the launch of my friend and agency team mate’s debut picture book Ten Clever Ninjas. And as today is Friday, what better way to celebrate than by joining in the fun at Perfect Picture Book Friday over on Susanna Hill’s blog! Ki-ya!

I first got to know Sarah Floyd (bio at the end of the post) when I joined Storm Literary Agency in 2016. Her warm welcome and friendly chats sealed our destiny–we were to become great friends and critique buddies!

So, without further delay I am delighted to introduce you to…


Title: Ten Clever Ninjas

Written By: Sarah Floyd

Illustrated By: Marcin Bruchnalski

Clear Fork Publishing, April 23, 2019, fiction

Suitable for Ages: 2 – 6

Themes/Topics: friendships, outdoor play.


One clever ninja planning things to do.

His brother flips beside him. 

Now there are two. 

Brief Synopsis: (Taken from the author’s website) A very clever ninja and his nine ninja buddies spar across the countryside, build a secret hideout and follow their inner Zen to discover a sweet cupcake surprise. Ki-ya! The upbeat rhythm and fun, lively illustrations will appeal to children ages 2-6.

Why I like this book: Everyone knows that I love writing in rhyme, but I also love reading great rhyme! Ten Clever Ninjas has wonderful rhythm, fun activities and a diverse group of friends having fun. This one to ten counting book takes place outdoors, which I particularly like, as children love playing outside.

Links To Resources:

  • how about making a ninja shape craft. You can learn how to do it here.
  • As I am sure there must be a few plastic eggs laying around after easter, how about making a Wobble Egg Ninja. Here is how to make them.
  • Or if you have a space in the garden…how about taking a tip from the Eden Project and build your own den.

Author Bio:


Sarah Floyd was born in Carmel Highlands, California, where she and her friends explored, climbed trees, and built forts in the woods that surrounded their homes—much like the characters in Ten Clever Ninjas. When she was in first grade her family moved to San Francisco, and then to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She always brought her favorite books, wherever she moved, and she always found new friends who loved to read. Now she writes books for children and teens—for her, it’s the best job in the world!

Sarah is also the author of Butterfly Girl and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Florida with her husband and teenage son, a green belt in Taekwondo. To learn more, please visit sarahfloydbooks.com.

Thanks for stopping by, and please make sure you visit all the other perfect picture books today at http://www.susannahill.com!


Daddy, Can You See the Moon? – Gayle C. Krause book tour

I am delighted to welcome debut author, Gayle Krause to the Little Red Shed today with her new picture book DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

daddy cover

I met Gayle in the Picture Book Buzz group, like me she loves rhyme, so I asked her a little bit about her writing journey and inspiration for the book.

Did you always know you wanted to write for children?

Though I always entertained children, from the younger kids in my neighborhood as a child, to being a Director of a Laboratory Pre-K in a teacher-training program as an adult, I didn’t set out with writing for children as a goal. It just became a natural segue when I left teaching.

Where did this this story idea come from?

As I mentioned above, I’m a former Early Childhood Educator. I taught Children’s Literature to prospective teachers as part of their training program for over thirty years and also directed a Laboratory Pre-K, affiliated with my teaching course. It was there, as I sat on the floor of the nursery school, reading countless picture books to the preschoolers, or acting out fairytales as creative dramatic presentations that I became uniquely attuned to the young child’s mind.

These precious little guys struggle to make sense of the world around them, especially the adult world of their parents. Emotional situations like divorce and deployment affect these children in a way that most adults cannot see. I incorporated these experiences in DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

What came first story or verse?

For me, when writing picture books, the story and rhyme are intertwined. I have the story in my head and it comes across the page in rhyme as I let it out.

What was the hardest part of creating the story?

The story came relatively easy. The hardest part was taking a serious subject such as family separation and developing it in a way that would not be too emotional for a child. I think adults grow more emotional over this story than the children because they know what the backstory implies.

What other projects are you working on?

Because I taught in secondary and post-secondary teacher prep programs, I’ve spent my entire first career working with young adults and preschoolers. Therefore I write at both ends of the spectrum. Rhyming picture books and YA historical fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary.

I’m currently revising a YA historical fiction piece I wrote a few years ago about a female pirate. And I just sent two new rhyming picture book manuscripts to my agent for submission.

Thank you so much for sharing a little about how your touching and important book came to life. It was lovely to have you here in the Little Red Shed. Wishing you every success with this books and your future books!

If you wish to learn a little more about Gayle and her books, check out her website, http://www.gayleckrause.com.

Version 2


As a Master Educationalist Gayle C. Krause’s years as a creative role model for young adults and pre-school children have led to her career as a children’s author. She is a member of SCBWI, The JAGRS Writing Group, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, and a past member of the Historical Novel Society and The Poets’ Garage. She currently serves on the YA Advisory Council for Clear Fork Publishing, Stamford, Texas, and Angie Karcher’s National Rhyme Revolution Committee, choosing the best rhyming picture books from 2015-2018. She is the author of six children’s books and is currently working on book III of her new MG Fantasy/Adventure series. Book I is due out next year.


My Bologna Book Fair Diary 2019

On Tuesday afternoon when I arrived at the Fiere, I was greeted by the 2019 Bologna Ragazzi Award winners! Congratulations to all! The poster was so beautifully framed by the perfectly parked bicycles that I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Bologna 19 photos

This Bologna Book Fair was going to be a special one. I was accompanied by my Storm Literary authors/illustrators/team mates Vivian Kirkfield and Fiona Halliday, and a champion of picture books, writer and wonderful reviewer, Maria Marshall http://www.mariacmarshall.com. We were looking for book babies– our own and those of writer friends!

We bumped into writer and illustrator, Eleanor Ann Peterson http://www.eleanorannpeterson.com, who joined us for an afternoon to chat with her online buddy, Vivian, and tell us about her new book JURASSIC RAT, publishing with Clear Fork later this year. Watch this space!

As the Bologna Book Fair is teeming with illustrators, I had my Doodle Diary at hand just in case. Last year a few lovely illustrators obliged me with a doodle for my sketch book and this year, I am happy to say, they did again.

The first was the lovely Luciana Navarro Powell http://www.lucianaillustration.com. As well as posing for a selfie, she kindly signed a postcard for a friend, whose book she is illustrating, and she doodled in my diary. She is the illustrator of A Tiny Brown Monkey on the Big Blue Earth by Tory Christie, publishing in August 2019 with Amicus Ink http://www.amicuspublishing.us!

Next, we had the pleasure of meeting Tanja Stephani, http://www.lartquirit.ch, and Devon Holzwarth, http://www.devonholzwarth.com. Both of these lovely ladies have books coming out very soon. Watch this space!

While at dinner, my SCBWI Swiss chapter illustrator friend, Simona Ceccarelli, doodled too! Simona has a book launching very soon – IF YOU HAD YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY ON THE MOON, by Joyce Lapin, publishing with Sterling on April 23rd. Check out more of wonderful art on http://www.smceccarelli.com, and I can’t wait to review the book at the Little Red Story Shed very soon!

What is the best thing about the Bologna Book Fair? The books of course, but also the people and the beautiful city. I can’t wait to visit again next year!

Thanks for stopping by.


Book Babies #50 PreciousWords challenge 2019

Everyone knows how much I love Vivian’s #50PreciousWords contest. It’s fabulous!!


Here is a little background information for you all. March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to young readers as Dr Seuss, who was challenged by his publisher to write a story using only 50 words. Not so easy! Once again Vivian(www.viviankirkfield.com) is hosting her own 50 precious words challenge!

The goal is to write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total unique word count for the story is 50 or less. For more information pop over to Vivian’s website https://viviankirkfield.com/2019/03/02/the-50preciouswords-writing-contest-is-open/

My entry this year is for mama’s and their little ones. READING is SHARING is LOVE!



by Julie Abery (41 words)

Book babies


on mama’s knee.


Book babies


the colours they see.


Book babies


a nursery rhyme.


Book babies


one page at a time.


Book babies


a corner to chew.


Book babies


a flap – peek-a-boo!


Book babies

laughing –

the world is so new.


Book babies


sweet moments with you.


Thanks for popping over to read, and don’t forget there are lots more over at https://viviankirkfield.com/2019/03/02/the-50preciouswords-writing-contest-is-open/



The Holiday Show – Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest

Crackling crackers! It is time for Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest…


The contest: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero! You’re hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked load of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift of the Magi where two people give up the most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday. Your hero can be obvious or unlikely. Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but it is not to exceed 250 words. Your entry can be posted on your own blog or over on Susanna’s between this very second and Saturday December 8 at 11.59 PM EST. https://susannahill.com/2018/12/06/ho-ho-ho-the-eighth-annual-holiday-contest-is-here/#comments

So without further ado, here is my entry…

The Holiday Show

The children were ready, the show was tonight.

The curtains went up to great gasps of delight.

The bobble-hat reindeers pranced up and down,

when on danced the fairies in tutus and gowns.

The littlest fairy with bells on her wings,

wiggled and jiggled like she was on springs.

A curly-shoed elf with a big voice decreed

“The littlest fairy is busting to wee!”

A teacher rushed over and led her stage right.

Her mum, in first row, hoped that she’d be alright.

The flutter of fairies all froze in a ring…

The littlest fairy was up next to sing!

Crackling crackers!

What are we to do?

The littlest fairy has

gone to the loo!

The fluttering fairies bumped into each other.

An ice-skating polar bear fell on his brother!

Crackling crackers!

Can this get much worse?

The polar bear’s being

propped up by the nurse!

The fairies stopped dancing! The reindeer quit prancing!

The polar bears stared, and the teachers did too,

Then up popped the elf in his curly-toed shoes.

He marched to the flutter of fairies and said

“I know the words, so can I sing instead?”

The music began and Elf’s singing was bright.

The littlest fairy ran on from stage right.

The audience cheered at their Christmas duet,

Tonight, was an evening they’d never forget!

Crackling crackers!

Well, what do you know?

The curly-shoed elf

saved our Holiday show.


Thanks for popping by, and don’t forget to hop over to Susanna’s to read all the other wonderful entries.

Happy Holidays!!



It’s Susanna Hill’s 8th Halloweensie Writing Contest!


Aaahhhrrroooooo!  Yippee and tee-hee-hee! It is Susanna Hill’s Annual Halloweensie Contest and my Teensy-Weensy Witch is back for another adventure!

The challenge: Write a Halloween story suitable for children (under 12) in 100 words or less, making sure you use the words shiver, cauldron and howl. Easy right!!

Since 2015, my Teensy-Weensy Witch has been causing havoc and mayhem in The Little Red Story Shed at Halloween, and she is back for another instalment this year! So without further ado, here is…

Potion Commotion

(100 words)

A candy munching monster helped the Teensy-Weensy Witch

to mix up a concoction when his nose began to twitch.

The sticky, steamy vapours started conjuring a sneeze,

that burst through doors and windows and howled upon the breeze.

The cauldron took a wobble and the gooey gloop took flight,

splashing trick-or-treaters who were lurking in the night.

The witch looked through her fingers, gave a shiver, then a wink.

She shouted “Happy Halloween, we’ve turned the night bright pink!”

She leaned into the kettleful to try a little lick,

“We’ve spun up cotton candy, now all we need’s a stick!”


Don’t forget to rush over to Susanna’s blog (susannahill.com) to read all the wonderful entries, and there is still time to enter, deadline is Wednesday 31st October at 11.59 PM EDT.

Thanks for stopping by.




Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin finds a home with Kids Can Press, plus writing contests and why you should enter.

In March of this year, I entered Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Word Contest with Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin and I am thrilled to announce that it will be published by Kids Can Press (www.kidscanpress.com) and illustrated by the incredible Mr. Pierre Pratt (www.pierrepratt.com).  I cannot wait to see how he will bring this story to life!

Dindim announcement

What I love about writing contests is they give you an opportunity to dig through your ideas notebook, research a little or a lot, share your writing with our wonderful Kidlit community, and most importantly get your precious words onto paper!

My vignette was based on the true and remarkable story of Dindim, the Magellanic penguin, and Mr. Joao Pereira de Souza. Joao found the bird washed up on the beach covered in oil near his home in Rio de Janeiro, he saved him, their bond grew and Dindim regularly makes the long trip back to visit his best ‘penguin’ pal.

Vivian’s fifty word limit allowed me to really focus in on the bones of my story, which later grew into the story that will find its home in book form in fall 2020.

In 2016, I was lucky enough to win Vivian’s contest! The prize, a critique from the wonderful Essie White of Storm Literary Agency, gave me my biggest wish of finding an agent. I cannot thank Essie enough for believing in those first 50 words and making a dream come true.

So, to all of you aspiring children’s book authors…make sure you get that idea book out and get your stories on to paper and out into the world, because you just never know where that story may lead.

Here are a few places to check out:

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!



My Bologna Book Fair Diary 2018

Monday morning started early! As I boarded the train for Bologna, coffee in hand, I was excited to finally be heading to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a mecca for illustrators and book lovers alike. My illustrator friend, Fiona Halliday (SCBWI Austria/Germany) and I had been talking of this for months!

After joining the queues of people entering the Fiere, we headed for the Bologna Illustrators’ Exhibition. The 77 chosen finalists’ work was showcased in rows of glass cabinets for everyone to enjoy and will be published in the 2018 Bologna Illustrators Annual to be shared across the publishing world— what great exposure!

Next were the illustrator walls! WOW! Business cards, flyers, and postcards of fabulous art adorned walls and doorframes everywhere! The walls oozed creativity, and so much talent! There was even one creative attracting lots of attention by wearing a hat dangling with business cards.

There were six halls to visit so comfy shoes were a must! Dotted through the fair were workshop spaces like the Illustrators Survival Corner, Illustrators Café, Authors Café, and Translators Café as well as approximately 1,300 exhibitors and 26,000 visitors! The Guest of Honour country this year was China, so there were displays, exhibitions, and stands promoting China’s publishing houses.

Fabulous books were everywhere and in every language! Publishers raced from one meeting to another and illustrators queued patiently to share their portfolios and new projects with potential publishing houses. A great tip for illustrators and authors is to sign up for meetings in advance, wherever possible. Some publishing houses required artists interested in reviews to connect with them a few weeks prior to the fair, but they had to act quickly as time slots filled fast. Other publishers had open sessions that were advertised on the day and the queues were long. For those whose timetables clashed, many stands had business card drop-off boxes.

I was delighted to meet with my US/Canadian publishers. It was great to connect faces to the people I had been emailing for many months, and begin to build more personal relationships. I also had the opportunity to meet with Suzie Mason, the illustrator of my board books Little Tiger and Little Panda, which will be released by Amicus Ink in spring, 2019.

photo 2 (2)(Suzie Mason and Julie at the Amicus stand)

The SCBWI booth was a welcome hub, and friendly faces greeted EVERYONE! The Duelling Illustrators competition took place here, as did some portfolio reviews and of course the BIG (Bologna Illustrators Gallery), in which one of my agency sisters was a finalist. Congratulations Cheryl Pilgrim!

But I mustn’t forget my ‘fangirl’ moment . . . the Drawing Masterclass with former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell! He talked with great humour while drawing pictures on an overhead screen to a mesmerized crowd. He shared his books, his love of music, and the importance of daily sketch diaries—and he gave me an idea! I had an empty notebook with me, so I hung around afterwards and asked if he would like to be my first doodle. He willingly obliged and honoured me with his trademark mouse in a raincoat and my Doodle Diary was born . . . and what a great birthplace! There were super-friendly illustrators EVERYWHERE! I met them in queues, on crowded public transport, in restaurants, and on the stands—so watch out SCWBI illustrators . . . next time I see you I will surely have my Doodle Diary with me!

(Special Thanks to Chris Riddell, Roberto Innocenti and Elizabeth Dulemba for their doodles).

It was wonderful to see that children’s book publishing is thriving. Fiona and I spent two fabulous days at the fair. It was inspiring and exhausting, but we would definitely go again—and next time we’ll make sure we are there on the last day to take home a whole pile of books!


Mister Joao and Dindim the Penguin #50PreciousWords Challenge 2018

Everyone knows how much I love Vivian’s #50PreciousWords contest. It’s fabulous!!


Here is a little background information for you all. March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to young readers as Dr Seuss, who was challenged by his publisher to write a story using only 50 words. Not so easy! Once again Vivian(www.viviankirkfield.com) is hosting her own 50 precious words challenge!

The goal is to write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total unique word count for the story is 50 or less. For more information pop over to Vivian’s website https://viviankirkfield.com/2018/03/02/50preciouswords-2018-writing-challenge-is-open/

My entry this year is based on the true and remarkable story of Dindim the penguin and Mr Joao Pereira de Souza, who saved him from an oil slick. Every year for the last four years, Dindim has made the long journey back to spend time with his best ‘penguin’ pal. Photo credit TV Globo.

Fisherman Mr Joao Pereira de Souza and Dindim


Mr Joao and Dindim the Penguin
by Julie Abery

on submission…


Thanks everyone for stopping by. And see you all over at http://www.viviankirkfield.com


When your Llama needs a haircut by Susanna Hill


Good morning Perfect Picture Book Friday bloggers!

I am delighted to be able to participate in PPBF today with Susanna Hill’s latest board book When Your Llama Needs a Haircut…and boy does he need a haircut now! He arrived in the mail yesterday, tightly stuffed into a padded envelope! It is a long journey from Blueberry Hill to Switzerland and although he doesn’t look too bad, he does not look his best!

So, ever prepared, we have exactly what he needs!


A hairdresser’s kit! Perfect on such occasions!

And, just to make sure he doesn’t feel too self-conscious, I have found a few other friends that need a bit of a make-over too! We can turn the nursery into a hairdressing salon today! How about that kids?



Now, I have locked the scissors in their box for this activity, otherwise we may find the Barbies will have buzz-cuts too! But, what fun the children had with a baby bath, some bubbles and a few towels!

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut

Written by Susanna Hill

Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

Little Simon, January 2018

Age 2 – 4 years

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut is a laugh out loud read! The children loved the vibrant, simple illustrations. We loved poor llama’s expressions, all the different haircuts, styles and colours and the fabulous twist at the end. Such fun! Congratulations Susanna and Daniel!

This is the third book in the series that the children and I have read and used in the classroom! It was another hit!

I hope you all enjoy the book as much as we did!

Thanks for popping by!