The Picture

Here’s my last Halloween story for Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie competition.

If you didn’t get to the first post, the rules are: Create a Halloween story for kids twelve and under that is less than 100 words AND must include the words: howl, cauldron, and shiver (any form of the word will do).


By Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

Every year the pizza parlor puts on a Halloween Cup. The winning soccer team gets their picture on the wall!

I HAVE to have my picture on that wall! But, our team usually chases butterflies during the game. We’re never gonna win…

I know!

I pull out the cauldron that came with my costume.

A sharp wind howls when I sprinkle the potion onto my teammates. They shiver.

As the photographer takes the other team’s picture, I kick the grass.

I guess it takes more than a potion to win…Maybe our team should start—Hey look! A butterfly! Gotta go!



My second submission to the amazing Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie competition.

If you didn’t get to the first post, the rules are: Create a Halloween story for kids twelve and under that is less than 100 words AND must include the words: howl, cauldron, and shiver (any form of the word will do).


By Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

One Halloween night, Lonely Umbrella blew through the streets.

I hope someone picks me up, Umbrella thinks.

The twirling princess?

Nope. Spun away.

The fairy dog?

No…ran away howling.

The superhero reaching down?

Guess not…just tying his shoe.

If only it were raining, someone would need me.

“Oh dear,” Little Witch mumbled, scooping up Umbrella. “Where do you belong?”

With you…I hope… Umbrella shivered with excitement.

“My naughty cauldron is always spewing potions. Come, darling, I could use your cover.”

And from that night on, Umbrella was never lonely again.

Magic Endures

I’m so excited to share my first kidlit Halloween story, inspired by the 8th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest

A big thank you to the remarkable Susanna Hill for hosting this Halloween writing contest that really got my writer juices flowing and my creativity moving in a totally unexpected direction.

The rules: Create a Halloween story for kids twelve and under that is less than 100 words AND must include the words: howl, cauldron, and shiver (any form of the word will do).

Here’s my first (drum roll, please…)!

Magic Endures

The last orange leaf clung to the tree.

A witch sat below, crying into her cauldron, “I’ve tried everything!” Still, the last of the fire trees would soon be extinct.

That night, the witch wailed as howling winds assaulted the tree.

The shivering leaf held fast, until…snap!

It landed softly in the cauldron below.

A bolt of lightning struck the potion. Bubbling oranges, reds, and yellows erupted from the cauldron, covering the ground with liquid fire. Full-grown trees burst from the ground.

The witch lifted her gaze upon her forest reborn.

The magic of All Hallows’ Eve endured.

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Love Is Kind with a GIVEAWAY!

Such amazing books to check out!

Susanna Leonard Hill

Today is a special day!

Not only is it Perfect Picture Book Friday, it’s the day author Laura Sassi is stopping at my little blog on her blog tour!  (Thanks so much for joining us, Laura, and including us in the launch of this wonderful book!)

As a result, we have a great book to share as well as FANTASTIC activities from the author herself!

Let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂

thumbnail_loveiskindcoverTitle: Love Is Kind

WrittenBy: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Lison Chaperon

Zonderkidz, August 2018, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: love, kindness, doing the right thing

Opening: “Little Owl jingled the coins in his pocket.  It was Grammy’s birthday.  And, finally, he had enough money to buy her something special – a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
He took out the coins – so shiny and new – and ready to spend…

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The Breakfast Club Is Back – with Mission Defrostable

Josh Funk Books

Hey, friends! Last week Mission Defrostable was released!

That’s right, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast are back and bready for their next adventure! Can they save the fridge before all the food is iced?

Available wherever books are sold!


Hey, librarians & booksellers! If you want one of these Always Stay Hungry for Books Posters for your library or bookshopjust fill out THIS google form and I’ll send one your way!

While supplies last.

US only.

To celebrate the release, in the past few weeks Mission Defrostable was named to the Indie Kids’ Next List, I traveled to Texas and met my cardboard-self, encountered a giant lighted sign with my head on it at a conference in Florida, signed all the books in the Concord Bookshop, and also visited the NYPL to celebrate the…

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Happy Book Birthday to THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY plus PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children


I’m definitely singing at the top of my lungs because THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY: The Creation of Diamonds & the Life of H. Tracy Hall launches today! And this is the debut picture book of one of my critique buddies from the VERY FIRST CRITIQUE GROUP I EVER JOINED! (and we are all still going strong!) I saw this story as a rough draft and watched as it grew more and more polished…until it became a shining gem of a book.

CONGRATULATIONS, dear Hannah Holt!

book coverMake sure you come back on Friday for a Perfect Picture Book Friday review and craft ideas for kids. PLUS, on Saturday, Hannah will be stopping by to chat and share some of her writing journey with us. And don’t forget to leave a comment here and on the other THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY posts…BECAUSE…Hannah…

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Book Review: ONE FAMILY

A must buy for all children 0-6.


ONE FAMILY by George Shannon is a beautiful, exciting way for children to learn acceptance, cardinality, and logic.

The story is absolutely enthralling, each page growing from the last. And the phenomenal imagery from artist Blanca Gómez is so vivid in color and simple, yet intricate, in style that you and the listener have many things to explore on each page.

The main idea of the book, that “one” has multiple meanings, gives children a new and interesting perspective while helping their logic grow exponentially. For example, the book starts with single ones, like one clock and one book, things most children comprehend from the get go. But then, it quickly progresses to one pair of shoes and one hand of cards, igniting a new idea, a new way of thinking that children may have never contemplated before, broadening their horizons and creating new, powerful synapse connections. Moreover (yes there’s more!) each page sums up into “one family,” showing that not just groups of objects, but also our own families can be various-sized groupings, such as two people, three people, four people, etc. To further underscore the concept of many different representations, Shannon shows diverse families on each page. As a math teacher, the logic made me fall in love with the book; as a person who always tries to understand and accept others and wants her daughter to have the same values, the powerful message of acceptance pushed that love to a whole new level. I seriously get chills every time I think of the amazing power this book has.

This is the type of story I relish in sharing with my daughter, the beauty of numbers, thoughtful logic, and powerful social message. And even better, she adores it! At two-and-a-half years old, she often chooses this book first at reading time, and even during playtime, she’ll stop and choose some books to read; ONE FAMILY has been in her top 5 since we bought it. I would say her favorite part is the recap of all the numbers 1-10 and their associated pictures. As a math teacher, I know how important repetition and review are for comprehension, so that was an added bonus for both of us!

Overall, this is an amazing picture book that’s enthralling and tells a powerful story. As a math teacher and mom, I highly recommend this book. In fact, I urge you to stop whatever else you were going to do after reading this, hop on Amazon (or whenever you like to buy books) and get this book for any child you know!

What You See is What You Get

When thinking about what to write for my first blog post, I suddenly thought, what you see is what you get. The following are the musings of my mind when I contemplated that concept:

You get what you see seems like such a logical idea, and yet, in nature there are many examples that negate this. Maybe it’s directly because of its logicality that nature, as well as people, began to go against that idea of what you see is what you get.

For example:

“If a predator sees me as prey, then I will get eaten.”

“If a predator sees me as something else, I won’t.”

“Hm…I think the choice is clear!”

Does that mean that deception started innocently as a survival technique? It seems that’s where most everything we know has come from, planting food, herding animals, creating cities, even physical attraction is usually based on survival.

Sometimes though, it’s not our own survival, but the survival of our offspring (our DNA) that drives us.

I wonder if we could explain love in that way, that love was developed as a way to propel us to protect our offspring/mate/pack.

Whether love was created by a divine being or nature or something else entirely, it sure is amazing, and whatever, or whoever created it, I want to thank you/it because love, wow, love is just the best!

Well there you have it, the musings of a logical yet creative, mathematically- yet English-oriented mind began as “what you see is what you get” and spiraled into “love is awesome.”

Soon to come, reviews of math books, math in the world, and other musings that pop in my head.

Thanks for reading, for sharing, and for thinking. I can’t wait to continue broading our minds and horizons together.