January 19, 2018



June is national zoo and aquarium month, so it’s perfect timing to offer a picture book and plush toy giveaway honoring one of the most famous residents of the Santa Barbara Zoo.   GEMINA: THE CROOKED-NECK GIRAFFE is about a giraffe who was born healthy at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. She lived at… Read more

Book giveaway: ‘Twas the Late Night of Christmas

Twas the Late Night of Christmas

‘Twas the late night of Christmas when all through the house, Everyone was exhausted, even the mouse.   Instead of sugar plum fairies, parents see a giant mess and overwhelmed kids in this modern retelling of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. What happens after Santa goes back home? What’s Mrs. Claus’s role in… Read more

Giveaway: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Tiger is so tired of pretense and so sick of using his best manners he decides to “go wild” one day.   Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a funny new picture book kids 4 to 8 will enjoy, yet adults and older children will appreciate the wit and illustrations just as much.   Written and… Read more

Free “Greenbeard the Pirate Pig” gift set

Greenbeard the pirate pig gift set

By Julie Samrick My 5-year-old oohed and aahed when she saw the stuffed guinea pig that’s included with the new 32-page softcover chapter book called Greenbeard the Pirate Pig.  The story follows a fearless guinea pig that leaves his comfortable garden for adventures on the high seas.  My older children (7, 9 and 11) all… Read more

Middle school writer Jenny Lundquist taps into real teen issues

Jenny Lundquist

Bu Julie Samrick I had the pleasure of interviewing author Jenny Lundquist recently. She is a novelist with two books for middle school readers on bookshelves everywhere, but she’ll never forget her own awkward middle school years, which have proven to be her biggest inspiration to connect with young readers. One memory especially stands out…. Read more

Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell: Win a Copy Today

Truck Stop by Ann Rockwell

By Julie Samrick Like many other little boys, when my now 9 and 10 year old sons were little they were obsessed with trucks.  They could point out and identify every variety- cement mixers, big rigs, tow trucks, and their favorite— car transporters.   The newly released picture book Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell is perfect… Read more

Finding Mommy Bliss

finding mommy bliss

By Julie Samrick Genny Heikka is a friend from my writing group who just wrote an uplifting book called Finding Mommy Bliss. Each section has stories from Genny’s own life and experiences that drive each message home, which all add up to 20 practical ways we can find more happiness in our role as mothers…. Read more

Giveaway- Newly Released Children’s Book ‘Forest Has a Song’

Forest Has a Song

By Julie Samrick We know kids devour Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, so why aren’t there more books of poetry aimed toward children on the market? I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about a new book of poems for children just in time for spring and Earth Day. Author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has… Read more

What Today’s Girls Need


By Julie Samrick “Why are those girls so nice to their mom?” my first grader innocently asked as we watched the 1949 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women over the holidays. She then asked to watch it over and over again, reminding me how much I also loved the story as a child.  … Read more

“Wonder” Is a Must-Read for Kids 9 and Up

wonder by RJ Palacio

By Ann Van De Water Every once in a while, I read a book that I feel compelled to recommend to all my friends. Wonder by RJ Palacio is one of these books.  I can’t imagine anyone NOT loving this book.  It has been on many Best Books of 2012 lists, including NPR’s Best Books of 2012… Read more