Friday, April 28, 2023

Hugs and Hurrahs

It's time to celebrate our MichKids friends and colleagues! Welcome to the Spring 2023  edition of Hugs and Hurrahs! 

Monica Harris has sold 39 more pieces to DRC (Data Recognition Corporation) for their national educational assessment programs. They include biographies, scientific informational, advancement of health programs,  argumentative pairs, ecological topics, historical fiction, and biographies .

Way to go, Monica!

Jean Alicia Elster’s latest YA novel HOW IT HAPPENS was selected for inclusion on the SCBWI March/Women’s History Month recommended reading list.

Congratulations, Jean!

Buffy Silverman's book, ON A GOLD-BLOOMING DAY: Finding Fall Treasures was selected by the Children's Literature Assembly of NCTE as a 2023 Notable Book in the Language Arts.

What an honor, Buffy!

Pria Dee's chapter book Freddy the Frog and the Three Wishes will be released by Austin Macaulay at the end of the month.

Congratulations, Pria!

Katy Klimczuk's debut picture book, M is for Mackinac: A Nature Alphabet, will be published by Mission Point Press on April 27, 2023. Mackinac Island artist, Kate Dupre, illustrated the book.

That's wonderful, Katy!

Lauren Ranalli's book, "Let's Meet on the Moon," was the recipient of a Kids Shelf Books award for Best Book Cover. It's illustrated by fellow SCBWI of Michigan member Emily Siwek

That's awesome, Lauren and Emily!

Author A. Kidd has a new picture book out, Yasuko and the Dream Eater, which is inspired by a Japanese legend. 

Yasuko must call the dream eater to rid her of her sleep-stealing nightmare while staying with her grandmother in Japan but avoid losing her most precious good dream in the process.

Currently available in hardcover and paperback, ebook to follow.

Congratulations, Angela!

LA MARIACHI: written by Isabel Estrada and illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda, is Isabel’s debut picturebook published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Tuchi longs to join in and play with the school's mariachi band, but it's the 1970s and in her community, mariachi is only for the boys. Still, she hopes--and wishes on Seńora Luna. When Tuchi stumbles across her nana's guitarrón, Nana teaches her to play in secret. The music tumbles inside Tuchi like desert thunder. Will Tuchi be ready for the big audition? And will Seńora Luna help Tuchi make her wish come true?

LA MARIACHI will be released in late July.

We're excited for you, Isabel!

Shutta Crum (author) and Ruth Barshow (Illustrator) are ecstatic to announce not one--but two new books!  Coming June 27, 2023.  Grandma Heaven and Grandpa Heaven are playful takes on the fun that can be had in the afterlife. Written to reassure young worriers. Available for preorder now wherever books are sold. Note: plans for a book launch party are in the works! Stay tuned.

Well done, Shutta and Ruth!

Congratulations, Everyone! We are proud of, and inspired by, you all! 

Look for the next request for Hugs and Hurrahs in your email, but please feel free to submit all your KidLit publishing news to Alison Hodgson at at any time.  I can't wait to celebrate your hard work!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Book Birthday Blog with Katy Klimczuk


Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!

Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators.


Congratulations to Katy Klimczuk on the release of M is for Mackinac: A Nature Alphabet


How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I have been fascinated with Mackinac Island for quite some time. I think the seed was planted over the course of several trips while I was growing up. I got married on Mackinac 13 years ago and we have traveled back regularly. Since having children and beginning to homeschool, I have been inspired by the natural world. Seeing it through my children's eyes and learning about the incredible world right outside our door has motivated me to share this with others.
Mackinac Island has a reputation across our state for being a beautiful tourist destination. This conjures up images of fudge, Main Street, and bike rides for many. While I love all of these things, Mackinac Island has a diverse and unique natural environment that I find captivating. I wanted to share it with others and thought that the alphabet structure would be a great way to do so in an engaging and informative way.

What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?

I hope my readers will delight in learning about the natural wonders of Mackinac Island. Whether it is Mackinac or not, I also hope this book is a reminder that there is natural beauty all around us if we only stop and notice.

What inspires you to write?

Being a former teacher and a mother, children inspire me to write. Reading aloud to my kids is one of my favorite things to do. They approach the world with such wonder and awe and I love to expand their perspectives through books. Books are a safe way for children to learn about themselves, others, and the world. It is a true gift to be a part of their lives through my writing.

What are your marketing plans for the book?

Marketing the book has already been more involved than I thought, and the book isn’t even released yet! I have recently gotten word that the book will be featured in two regional magazines. I have also received fantastic advice from fellow SCBWI members about using social media, email marketing, and local events to share my book. My big event will be at the Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island in June. I plan to sign books there June 10th and 11th, including a signing with illustrator, Kate Dupre! Check here to see the schedule of events:

What's next for you?

I will continue to market M is for Mackinac: A Nature Alphabet and hope to begin school visits next fall when 3rd grade begins their Michigan study in social studies. I also continue to write and pitch my ideas - from OCD to Antarctic plant life, there’s so much to explore! Michigan and its natural beauty will always have a special place in my heart and in my writing. 

A little bit about the book . . .

Take in the abundant natural beauty of Mackinac Island through rhythmic, informative text and beautiful illustrations in M is for Mackinac: A Nature Alphabet. Written for children of all ages, this book includes rhymes for your littlest learners and informational text for curious readers.

Publisher: Mission Point Press  

A little bit about the author . . . 

Katy Klimczuk is the author of M is for Mackinac: A Nature Alphabet. She has also been published in Walloon Writers Review, Beanstack’s 1000 Books Badge Book, and a handful of blogs. Katy homeschools her children and hopes to pass along her love of learning, nature, and stories to young readers. She lives in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, with her husband, two children, and two cats.  






Friday, April 21, 2023

If you build a crit group, they will come: Emily Wade

The fearful power of the ListServ, or be careful what you wish for: Emily Wade and the crit group avalanche

by Charlie Barshaw

It started like this, a post on the SCBWI-MI ListServ on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 9:20 pm:

Hi, friends! I've been hoping to start a picture book critique group, and I'd love to invite some of you talented writers to join if you're interested. I'm pre-published and in the process of querying, but I'd love to get (and give!) solid feedback and accountability on a regular basis. Surely I'm not alone in this. :) I'm thinking of meeting virtually once a month and in person every three months to start with. 

I'm in Waterford, near Pontiac and Auburn Hills, but we could choose a place to meet based on where all critique group members hail from. Also, outliers are free to facetime in on an in-person meeting if that works better.

Once I hear back from a few of you, I'll set up a smaller email group so we can figure out the details. Thanks so much!

Emily Zaiser Wade

By Saturday, January 25, 9 days later, she had 22 responses, and had divided the 5 or 6 members into 4 groups: Online-only, North-ish, Southeast and Southwest.

Hello again, ladies! 

I’m so excited to see how many of us are interested in helpful feedback this year. I know many good things will come from these groups, and I can’t wait to hear more about it in upcoming emails, conferences, and bookstores! J

After planning and dividing, I’ve grouped everyone into groups of 5 or 6 by region(ish). We’re spread pretty far apart, so that’s a big -ish. I’ve asked the person at the top of each list to get their group’s email started, and you can discuss how to proceed from there. 

Best of luck to you all as you continue on this picture book journey together!


~Emily Zaiser Wade

What follows is a short interview with the Critique Group Summoner, Emily Wade.

Why were you searching for a new critique group anyway?

Well, the only critique I’ve received until recently was from a few literary friends who didn’t exactly sign up for the job. I pestered them as often as I dared, but I knew I needed to find a core group of likeminded writers who knew good and well what they were getting into.

Emily Wade


Had you been in a critique group previously?

I’m not new to writing, but I’m pretty new to SCBWI and the querying game. The only official critique group I’d been part of before this was a single meeting with my Metro Detroit Shoptalk group. It was super helpful, but they offer so many other events that the critique portion only happens twice a year.


What made you think to ask on the ListServ? (And why is Listserv spelled like that anyway?)

Actually, it was some friends from my Shop Talk who suggested looking for a regular critique group on ListServ. I followed their advice and hoped to hear back from a couple of takers. And funny you should ask about the name. Until recently, I actually thought it was LITserv because, you know, literature. I propose a name change.

Southwest Critique Group

It seemed like the initial reaction was robust. Were you thinking, “Wow, two hours and I’ve already got enough people for the critique group I wanted”?

Robust indeed. It was a relief to get the first few emails for two reasons: it was great to know I’d get to be part of a critique group, and it was comforting to see that there were others looking for the same thing.

Some of the On-line Critique Group

And then the replies kept coming. At what point did you think you’d unleashed a monster?

Probably around email number 10. I’d read that the most effective groups are between 4 and 6 people, but I’m nearly incapable of turning people away. I thought I might have gotten myself into a bit of a pickle.

You got, what, more than a dozen responses? Before you decided on your ultimate solution, did you consider others?

Believe it or not, I got 22 responses from LITserv (#productplacement). When we blew past single-group capacity, I figured that organizing by location made the most sense. Unfortunately, I’m geographically-challenged, so grouping by area took me quite a while.

And then, finally, the responses quit pouring in. Did it take a spreadsheet to sort out the possibilities?

While I do love me a good spreadsheet, I just used a Word document with several bulleted lists. I felt like the Hogwarts sorting hat except I decided based on location instead of character. Also, I didn’t sing.

You put yourself in a group that’s already met in person. How did the first meeting go?

North-ish Critique Group

It was lovely! Our first meeting was at my house, and it was a simple get-to-know-you hangout. I think it’s important to trust the people who’ll be helping you kill (and revitalize) your darlings, so I’m glad we got to spend that time together. Our first online critique session was so helpful that I’m already looking forward to next time.

What are you working on writing right now?

I’ve got my irons in a couple different fires, as I’m sure we all do. I’m querying a poem about playing outside and a funny STEM story about weather and climate. I’m also tweaking a silly poem about picture day and beginning a prose story based on my family’s experience making jam. There’s sure to be a gem in there somewhere, right?

Thanks so much for the questions, Charlie, and thank you, LITserv, for your interest in critique groups!

So, how are those critique groups faring? Feedback about feedback

by Emily Zaiser Wade

Charlie delegated the second half of the interview to me, and I'm glad he did. It gave me the chance to touch base with the other groups and see how they're doing. I asked two questions, and the people have spoken: they're doing great!


Question numero uno: Were most of you actively looking for a critique group, or did you see the email and think, “More critique? Sure, why not?”

Kelly Bixby from the online group said, “No, I wasn’t actively looking for a critique group, but the timing of Emily’s email was perfect for me. I had recently finished my first picture book manuscript and pushed it through tests I had gleaned from the revised and expanded edition of Ann Whitford Paul’s book, Writing Picture Books: A Hands-on Guide from Story Creation to Publication. My MS had been tweaked enough that it was ready for eyes other than mine. Emily motivated me to take the next steps of getting to know other writers and becoming a more active part of the SCBWI community. Thanks, Emily!”

Jessine Van Lopik from the southwest group said, “I was already a member of two critique groups, but as a pre-published author, I still crave as much critique as I can get for my manuscripts.  I devour feedback like a monster, starving for improvement.”


Katy Klimczuk
from the southeast group said, “Our group is planning to meet both in Royal Oak and online. I think that most of us were open to the idea of a critique group, and it came at the right time for us. We are all in a place where we would like more feedback and accountability.”

Question deux: What was the highlight of your first meeting?

Kelly Bixby said, “Our group meets on Zoom, so my highlights of the first meeting were getting to see the faces and workplaces of the other writers, experiencing their kind and considerate personalities, and recognizing that each of us is passionate for connecting with children and youth through imaginative and empathetic ways.”


Jessine Van Lopik
said, “We've only communicated through e-mail and Google Drive so far, but I'm grateful for a group of writers in my area with a focus on picture books.  Everyone in the group also takes care to cultivate their critiques with kindness, while also giving really helpful advice.”

Katy Klimczuk said, “It was wonderful to meet everyone and to see how each person shines through in their work. Two of us brought recently indie published works and it was fun to share them, ask each other questions, and get opinions as we enter uncharted territory.”

Thanks so much for your feedback, ladies! Every writer knows the value of a solid critique group, and it’s exciting to hear how the LITserv has been a meeting place for just that. Keep up the good work!

Big Request:

I'm writing an historical recap of past conferences, back to when I started in 2009 and even before.

There seems to be a dearth of official photos. Like our family, seems like SCBWI-MI forgot to take pictures, they were having so much fun.

But I know individuals have taken amazing photos over the years. (Thanks to Dave Stricklen, who showered me with excellent photos from the past decade.)

Anyone want to volunteer their private collection for a time capsule? You'll be acknowledged  for your contribution, and held in high esteem.

Email me at or DM me on FB.

Emily Zaiser Wade loves stories and dessert. She hopes to create stories that are as good as her (nearly) world-famous coconut cream pie. If kids read her books as often as she eats treats, the world will be a better place. If you want to read more by Emily, check out her blog: If you want to read fewer dessert analogies by Emily, that's understandable.

Charlie Barshaw interviews SCBWI-MI writers for The Mitten, and  meets monthly with the Lansing Area Shop Talk. He travels to school visits with his wife, author/illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw. He's got four MGs/YAs in various stages of completion.



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

On the Shelf by Tara Michener: Super Cities: Detroit! by Daralynn Walker

If you have ever had questions, wonderings, or any curiosity about Detroit...Daralynn Walker has granted you your wish. In her book, Super Cities: Detroit! she unearths so many details about the city that garner the reader's attention and cures their curiosity. My 9-year-old son actually grabbed the book before I could read it for review because it was that interesting. 

The concept of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors is how I decide if a book is good for the On The Shelf segment. This book provides all of these. A mirror (especially for those who live in Michigan), there is something truly special for a child to learn specifics about their favorite pizza, car parades, and culture. It is also a window, because even if a detail is familiar in this book, you may easily learn an unknown fact about Detroit that you never knew even if you grew up in the area. This book is a fantastic sliding glass door, allowing all who read it to enter the magic of Detroit as a Super City. 

This book is positive, educational, and fun. I think that it is perfect for all libraries, especially school media centers, and I plan on getting my media specialist her own copy as a treat. Daralynn has truly given us a gem in this book and I hope that you see it this way too. 

Tara Michener is the author of six children's books that focus on self-esteem, diversity and anti-bullying. She is a TEDx speaker, therapist and owns her own private practice in Novi, MI. Tara has been recognized in publications such as Prevention Magazine, Essence Magazine, FREEP and more! She is the Committee Chair of E&I at SCBWI-MI. Her favorite days usually include spending time with her hubistrator, Jason, her son Cannon and her favorite snack Twizzlers and Diet Coke. You can follow her on Twitter @Taramichener. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Writer (and Translator) Spotlight: Natalia Iacobelli

The art of translation, bi-lingual life, a trailblazing female artist, and the early Renaissance: translator Natalia Iacobelli

Charlie Barshaw coordinates our regular Writer Spotlight feature and interviews writers of SCBWI-MI. In this piece, meet art history translator and picture book biographer Natalia Iacobelli.

Note: I've gotten several requests for a piece on translators. I'm glad I was able to do a deeper dive with Natalia this time.

Although you were born in the United States, you grew up in a household where Italian was spoken regularly. Did you find your bi-lingual life was a help or a hindrance, or both?

My bilingual upbringing has been tremendously advantageous. It has made me more adaptable and provided me a sense of empathy towards other cultures. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized what a gift it is to grow up speaking another language. Today, it’s the reason I’m able to do what I do. Understanding the cultural nuances of both languages is essential to translation.

It is said that the young mind is more easily amenable to other languages. You’re teaching your children to be fluent in Italian. Did it seem natural growing up to be able to express yourself in more than one language?

Natalia and family
Since I was taught Italian from birth, I’ve always felt comfortable expressing myself in more than one language. I’m seeing the same phenomenon take place with my own children. I’ve always found myself in this in-between state, straddling two worlds. I think that’s why I feel so comfortable with translation, which is an inherently liminal space.

You’ve translated three volumes of art history, theory and criticism. What **drew** you to art?

I grew up spending summers in my family’s hometown in Italy. My father is an art enthusiast and would take us to countless museums and historic sites. While I may have found those excursions painfully tedious as a child, they would go on to shape my interests later in life. In college, I majored in art history and in graduate school, my master’s thesis was on Sandro Botticelli’s Divine Comedy. Today, I translate almost exclusively within the field of art.

Your interview with The Mitten was published almost two years ago. How has your life changed in the intervening years?

I’ve translated a number of art monographs and catalogues over the past two years. Last year I translated the catalogue for an exhibition held at a 16th century Cloister in Naples, Italy, which was a wonderful experience. Outside of Italy, I’ve worked with art galleries in Berlin and Lisbon. I’ve also begun writing for DailyArt Magazine, which I’m very excited about.

In the previous interview, you said you would “scrutinize” an English translation to determine how you might translate it differently. You called that a “translator’s guilty pleasure.” To a novice, it would seem at first glance that translation would be more of a mathematical formula: Italian word = English word. What does translating really entail?

Translation is so much more than a formula! Anyone who has read two translations of the same text will know that. A translator’s job is to convey subtleties and fill in lexical gaps without veering off too far from the original text. Each and every word you read in a translated book was carefully considered by its translator, whose mission it is to find the most effective way to preserve meaning and transmit it to a new audience through a different set of idioms. A bad translation can be catastrophic—hence the traduttore, traditore adage. Perhaps reaching perfect accuracy is unattainable, but we can’t ignore the fact that translation breaks cultural barriers, which is a necessity in our increasingly globalized world.

Do you do much traveling?

In Florence, Italy
We’ve traveled extensively with our kids since they were infants to visit our families abroad. We mostly split our time between Italy and Mexico. There are lots of museums involved, much to the children’s delight.


Your most recent translation, Art and Posthistory, was published August 9 of last year. How long did the translation process take? Was there a lot of back and forth between the continents?

I’ve translated Demetrio’s work for over a decade now. We’ve established a very comfortable work relationship in which he allows me as much liberty as needed to interpret his ideas while remaining faithful to the original text. Whenever I’m in doubt, I can count on him to elucidate. All in all, the translation took a few months, followed by a bit of back and forth to tie up loose ends with Demetrio and the editors at Columbia University Press.

You said you’d like to use your art history background to craft a non-fiction children’s book. Have you made any progress?

Yes! I recently sold my first manuscript—a picture book biography about a trailblazing female artist—to Reycraft Books. It’s slated to be released in 2026, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring this little-known historic figure to life.

Ideally, what would be your message to young readers about art and its place in their world?

I want young readers to know the therapeutic power of art (both practiced and studied) and its wonderous ability to transcend time. I would also love for young people to feel comfortable in museums, and for the museum space to not be approached as stuffy and elitist as it has been traditionally.

Your art background suggests a passion for the visual. Are you an artist deep down?

I absolutely have a passion for the visual. While I’m not an artist, I do have an inherent need for creative expression, and I’ve found my niche in writing about art.

What art period or movement speaks most directly to you?

The early Renaissance has my heart, particularly Piero della Francesca and Andrea Mantegna. It’s that shift in art history from the abstract to the natural that really interests me.

What is your current (or favorite) Work In Progress?

I’m currently working on a few artsy creative nonfiction picture books. I’d have to say my favorite is the story of a wildly imaginative and talented female painter, told with a magical spin.

What do you wish more people understood about the art of translation?

All books that Natalia translated

Just that—that it’s an art. A translator walks a fine line between conveying the nuances of the source language and making a text culturally relevant in the target language. Italian is a verbose and lyrical language, while English is more factual and no frills. Oftentimes, I find myself breaking down a single Italian sentence into three sentences in English. I also wish more people realized that a translated book is a work of collaboration. The translator and the author are in constant exchange. The translator’s role is frequently overlooked, when, in reality, she holds the key to the literatures of other cultures and nations.

Please include any social media contacts you wish to share

You can find me at , @Nataliaiacobel1 on twitter, and at DailyArt Magazine.


Big Request:

I'm writing an historical recap of past conferences, back to when I started in 2009 and even before.

There seems to be a dearth of official photos. Like our family, seems like SCBWI-MI forgot to take pictures, they were having so much fun.

But I know individuals have taken amazing photos over the years. (Thanks to Dave Stricklen, who showered me with excellent photos from the past decade.)

Anyone want to volunteer their private collection for a time capsule? You'll be acknowledged  for your contribution, and held in high esteem.

Email me at or DM me on FB.



Book Birthday Blog with Carol Doeringer



Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!

Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators.


Congratulations to Carol Doeringer on the release of If You Wake a Skunk


 How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I once had an unforgettable summer of skunk encounters. I learned about skunks’ warning signs firsthand when a dozen or so of the little stinkers gathered almost daily to dine on grubs in my grass. Decades later, I drew on that indelible memory to write a few rhyming stanzas, part of an assignment when I took Renée LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab. A critique partner nudged me to turn that silly poem into a picture book. That led to research and lots more laughs when I discovered that one skunk species—the spotted skunk—gives most of its warnings while doing a handstand. That skunk became the star of my book.

What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?

I hope readers will view the skunk in a new light. Skunks get a bad rap for being armed and odorous. But there’s a lot to admire in the lengths they’ll go to, giving fair warning before launching their stench defense. I’d like kids to think about the reasons wild creatures look and act as they do. And of course, one valuable takeaway from the book is this cautionary tale’s message: If you see a skunk, back away and leave it be.

What inspires you to write?  

I’m inspired by the creatures I watch and film. My home is surrounded by woods and overlooks a beautiful lake. Every day, I see critters behaving in ways that can be sad, silly, surprising, or inspiring. Wildlife often makes me wonder how or why. Book ideas spring from the search for answers. 

What are your marketing plans for the book?

My local library will host a launch party. I have recorded one live interview with an influential kidlit podcaster. I have another live interview scheduled and am looking forward to several blog interviews and bookstore signings. I’ll also be engaging with the community of skunk wildlife rehabbers and pet skunk owners, who are quite active in social media groups. Not to mention attending SkunkFest, a fundraiser for Ohio-based rehabber Skunk Haven, as well as Florida Skunk Rescue’s 2023 Skunk Show! I’m working on arranging to sell books at those events. Plus, I’ll donate books for their and other wildlife rehabbers’ auctions, which I believe will give If You Wake a Skunk lots of visibility to people who love skunks.

What's next for you?

I have several polished nature-themed picture book manuscripts, with ideas for many more. So many fun critter stories to pick from! To date, my batting average for publisher submissions is twenty-seven rejections and one wonderful yes from Sleeping Bear Press. I’m unagented and hoping to change that, for broader publisher access. So far, my handful of agent queries have all led to passes, but I remain optimistic. 

A little bit about the book . . .

Two campers spot a snoozing skunk. Tension builds as they creep closer and tempt fate, dismissing the skunk’s warnings. He waves his tail, hisses, stares, and stomps. He even does a handstand. But skunks can be fakers. Will this one launch his stink and stench the campers? 

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

A little bit about the author . . . 

Carol Doeringer lives in the treetops. Perched on a steep woodland bluff, her home is a front-row seat to nature’s daily wildlife show. The cast of characters inspires many of her picture book stories. Carol is also a wildlife videographer, sharing visual stories in her blog, Tales from a West Michigan Wood. Whether blogging or writing picture books, Carol tells stories that pique curiosity about our natural world. She also writes picture books about kid entrepreneurship—a fun nod to her master’s degree in business administration and her decades’ experience teaching and writing about commercial finance.

Twitter: @DoeringerAuthor

Facebook: Carol Doeringer




Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Book Birthday Blog with A. Kidd


Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!

Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators.


Congratulations to A. Kidd on the release of Yasuko and the Dream Eater


How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I was actually trying to find a cool mythical creature for a novel I was writing. My husband, who is Japanese and grew up in Japan, mentioned the dream eater: an animal made up of different animal parts that eats bad dreams. It sounded so unique that I thought it deserved its own book! My story idea changed a lot over time. I started out with a scary dream eater, like a monster under the bed, but decided that is not what kids needed to help them with their nightmares. Yasuko originally flew kites with her family instead of making origami. But I realized that origami had much more potential for fitting into the theme of one thing changing into another. Yasuko was also originally Japanese and grew up in Japan. But I decided that the story would be much more authentic if Yasuko was half-Japanese, like my own daughter. 

What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?

I hope young readers will feel brave enough to face their own bad dreams and discover how to turn their nightmares into something positive, with a little help from a lovable dream eater. And for anyone struggling with identity, I hope they can learn to feel proud of their background, especially if it is multicultural.  

What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

Getting the cultural aspects right. I really went to great lengths to ensure that I was expressing appreciation and respect for the Japanese culture and its folklore. I also wanted to make sure the story showed that even though Yasuko was struggling with certain aspects of the Japanese culture that were unfamiliar to her, that her grandmother was always a loving and reassuring presence in her life. They just had to learn how to connect. 

What are your marketing plans for the book?

I will be reading at my daughter’s Japanese immersion school in Livonia as well as having a book launch at Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 27th at 6:15pm. I will visit Berkley Public Library for summer reading, offering an interactive storytime program and craft on Wed. July 19  at 2pm. I will offer a storytime reading at the Belle Isle Aquarium Koi Festival on Saturday May 6 at 1pm and 3pm (event is 12-4) in honor of Japanese Children’s Day. You can check my website and Facebook page for additional events.  


What's next for you?


I’m currently revising a young adult novel, which is an environmental sci-fi in dual perspective. I also have a Valentine’s Day themed picture book about ocean life in the works. Many children have asked for a sequel to The Healing Star, especially if it features more antics from Julia’s farting dog, Pete. How can I not honor such a comical and stinky request?


A little bit about the book . . .


Yasuko loves making paper airplanes with her parents in the US. When she visits her grandmother in Japan, everything seems different, including folding the complicated origami crane. She starts having the same bad dream every night, so her grandmother suggests she call the dream eater for help. The dream eater devours Yasuko’s nightmare but is still hungry. Will Yasuko be able to stop it from gobbling up her good dream too?  

Publisher: Quiet Storm Publishing LLC


A little bit about the author . . .


A. Kidd lives in the US but has travelled to Japan many times to visit family and for sightseeing. Japan feels like her second home. Although she dreams often, she hasn’t needed to call the baku yet. A. Kidd is also the author of the middle grade fantasy, The Healing Star. Find out more about her at




Facebook author page: @a.kiddwrites

Twitter: @akiddwrites

Instagram: @a.kiddwrites

TikTok: @akiddwrites